Come a Little Closer
Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
James wants us to know that when we are battling against the devil, we are battling against a person, not just some power.
The name devil literally means accuser, which reveals one of Satan’s chief weapons against believers. Read the Book of Job and you’ll discover just how far Satan will go in his attempt to both accuse us before God and accuse God before us.
And don’t forget that Satan and his demons are rather careful students of your life. He has game film on you, so to speak, and he studies it like football teams study the game film of their opponents. He knows what he’s up against. He knows your weaknesses and strengths. He knows what you like to do and what you like to talk about. He knows what makes you tick and what ticks you off.
Do you know your own weaknesses? Do you know where you are prone to sin? Do you know what kind of places to stay away from and what kind of people to be careful around? Do you know when to turn off the computer or TV?
Resisting the devil involves knowing where he’s going to show up . . . and when.
But James goes further in reminding us that resisting the devil isn’t our main focus as Christians
. Our main objective is to turn away from sin and run to Christ. In fact, when we draw near to God, Satan will naturally want to avoid us.
While serving as a missionary in Paraguay, Stuart Sacks wrote of an Indian named Rafael who came one day to join him on his porch. Stuart wrote:
I was eating at the time and went out to see what he wanted. He responded, “Ham heneck met.” Again I asked what I could do for him, but his answer was the same. A missionary later explained to me that this was Rafael’s way of honoring me. His words “Ham heneck met” meant, “I don’t want anything from you—I have just come to be near.”
The Indian was telling Stuart that he found satisfaction just being near him.
How convicting. How many times do we go to God because we want something . . . or need something? How often do we line up in front of God’s throne to petition Him for a miracle or an answer to a request?
Where’s the line of saints who just want to draw near to God?
That was the passion of King David when he prayed: When You said to me, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, O LORD, I shall seek” (Psalm 27:8).
Try standing in that line today. Even if God doesn’t give you the answer you desire, find joy in His presence.
James gives a wonderful promise in the next phrase of this text: Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
You never have to get out of bed and wonder if it’s too early for God. You never have to muddle through your prayer and wonder if He’s still listening. You never have to experience a crisis and wonder if God hears . . . or cares.
Draw near to Him as you discover your greatest satisfaction in His presence alone. And remember, draw closer to Christ . . . you’ll be farther away from the devil.
Prayer Point: Be silent before God and clear your mind of all other distractions. Then just talk to Him. Put your watch away and don’t worry about the time. No agenda. Just pull up a chair near the Heavenly Father and find joy in His presence.
Read the wonderful words of David in Psalms 25
as he finds refuge in God’s presence.
I Pledge Allegiance
As citizens of two kingdoms, Christians face the unique challenge of determining where their allegiance should lie. Do believers pledge allegiance to one nation or to one God above all nations? The Church finds itself in a similar crisis: Is its mission to reform politics or to redeem people?
In this exposition of Romans 13:1-7, Stephen clarifies the believer’s responsibility as a dual citizen of heaven and earth. He also examines the difficult relationship between Church and State, encouraging the Church to focus more on saving Americans than saving America.
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