Submit And Resist

Sunday, June 01, 2014, 5:47 a.m. – the Lord Jesus put the song in mind, “WAIT!” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read James 4:1-10 (NIV84).

Ask God

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

This morning the Lord Jesus put the song in mind, “WAIT!” (The lyrics quoted below). As I thought about these words in relation to this passage of scripture, I came to an understanding of this passage of scripture, perhaps with a little broader meaning.

In other words, sometimes we get impatient with God, we don’t wait on his perfect timing, and thus we get anxious and try to make things work ourselves, which then can lead to fights and quarrels. What this means is that we lack trust in God and in his sovereignty and in his perfect plan and purposes for our lives, so we run ahead of God, thinking that if we don’t make it work ourselves that something bad will happen, when usually just the opposite is true. We end up listening to Satan’s lies which tell us if we don’t do it, it is not going to happen, and then we will be left without resources, and then this or that might happen to us. Yet, for those of us who are truly the Lord’s, he will not leave us, he is completely faithful in all he does, and if we just rest in him, he will show us the way.

Yet, when we listen to lies, instead of truth, and we begin to get anxious about our circumstances, we get tense, and sometimes irritable, which can then lead to fights and quarrels. The antidote for all of this is to wait on the Lord, to be of courage, to sing praises to his name, and to thank him for his many blessings to us. We need to believe he is completely sovereign over our lives and that he knows what he is doing. He has a plan and a purpose for everything that comes into our lives. So, we need to just trust him to show us what to do, and then we need to follow his plan instead of jumping ahead with our own plans. We need to believe that God is not far removed from what we are going through, but he is always watching over us. So we just need to trust him and obey what he says.

Yet, in context here, there is a much more serious situation than just losing patience with God and thus taking matters into our own hands, or perhaps I should say the situation here describes another possible way in which we might respond in lack of faith and trust in God. In this case, these believers in Christ wanted their own way, i.e. they wanted what they wanted. In other words, they were behaving selfishly. In fact, their selfishness and covetousness was so grave that it led them to murdering (or hating, misusing and stepping on or over) others just to get what they wanted. Wow! Not only did they not ask God for what they wanted, but even if they did ask, they had the wrong motivation, because they were just looking to satisfy their own selfish desires for worldly pleasures.

Adulterous People

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:

“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

When we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives, he becomes our husband, and we become his bride. Our faith in him is a promise to love, honor and obey him, as well as it is a commitment to be faithful to him as our only husband, spiritually speaking. So, when we choose to follow after “other lovers,” i.e. after the trappings, things and sinful pleasures this world has to offer us, we, in essence, are committing adultery against our Lord and husband. His grace teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and desires, and to live upright and godly lives in this present age (See Tit. 2:11-14). It does not free us to do whatever we want, as some have come to believe. Faith in Jesus Christ means death to sin and self, transformation of heart and mind away from sin and to God, and it means to have and live a new life in Christ, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (See Eph. 4:17-4; cf. 2 Co. 5:15; Ro. 6-8; 1 Jn. 1-5; Ac. 26:16-18; and Gal. 2:20).

Submit to God

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

So, instead of fighting for what we want, and getting angry or afraid when we don’t get it, and thus taking matters into our own hands; and/or instead of asking God to meet our selfish desires, and for him to put his blessings upon our worldly associations and fellowships, we are to submit (surrender; yield) to God and to what he wants, and to what he desires for our lives. We can only know what he wants, though, through submission to him, and through spending much time with him in listening to what he has to say to us through his word, and then by doing what he shows us. We must also resist the devil. We do this through throwing off all hindrances to our walks of faith and any sins that so easily entangle us so we can run with perseverance the race marked out for us (See Heb. 12:1).

In other words, it is impossible for us to draw near to God and to submit ourselves to him in surrender to his will for our lives if we are toying with sin and we have one foot in the world and one in heaven. We can’t even begin to hear God and to know his will for our lives if we are entrenched in the pleasures, thinking, values and philosophies of this sinful world. The one cancels out the other. We can’t expect to live holy lives pleasing to God if we are willfully taking into our eyes, minds and hearts what is sinful and of the devil, and for our own selfish pleasure. We cannot allow ourselves to be entertained by what is sinful and ungodly and expect to walk in fellowship with God. We have to resist the devil by refusing to be entertained by or to participate in what is sinful and worldly and is in direct contradiction to the word of truth so that we can hear our Lord’s voice, and so we can follow him.

Wait! / An Original Work / February 8, 2014

Wait for your Lord. Be of courage.
Be strong, and take heart today.
God is always watching o’er you.
Trust Him with your life always.

Sing of your Lord. Praise His blessings.
Believe in His sovereignty.
He delivered you from your sin;
Gave you life eternally.

Rest in your Lord. Know His promise.
Beneath His wings rest secure.
Your God has a plan and purpose.
Let your faith in Him endure.

Trust in your Lord. He’ll not leave you,
Because He is faithfulness.
He will lead and guide; protect you.
In His love you can find rest.