But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:6-7)
God gives grace to the humble. This is something that in mere surface understanding we may feel like we’ll of course receive – because we’re all humble, right? But when met with such strong language revealing that “God resists the proud”, it should stir us to take a moment to think on the posture of our heart openly and honestly before God. We may appear humble to others, but that is easier than true humility since no one can know our thoughts and the intentions of our heart. Yet with God, who indeed does know our thoughts and intentions, knows whether we are truly humble or proud.
THEREFORE: WHAT’S IT THERE FOR?
Now, whenever I see “therefore” it makes me stop to see just what it is actually there for. Verse 5 before this says, Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? (James 4:5). God yearns jealously over our spirits because if we make ourselves friends of the world, we are making ourselves enemies of God, and it’s in our pride that we would ever seek to make a friend of the world instead of humbly bowing ourselves before our God and King. And if we choose the prideful route of friendship with the world, we make ourselves enemies of God and will be resisted by Him.
RESIST OR BE RESISTED
In this last sentence, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” speaks to our tendency to be prideful and an encouragement to resist the devil. Take the way of escape that God brings when you’re tempted to act in pride (1 Corinthians 10:13), and the devil will flee from you. And you’re not alone in this experience because Jesus resisted the devil after His time of fasting for 40 days, when the devil tempted His pride as he said, “If you’re the Son of God…” (Luke 4). Jesus may now be sitting at the right hand of the Father in heaven, but He didn’t leave you as an orphan, He has given you His Spirit who empowers you to resist the devil in these temptations.
If you don’t resist the devil’s temptation of pride, God will resist you.
The devil’s goal is to steal, kill, and destroy you – and not just you, your family, your spouse, your children, your testimony. One of the sure ways he has done this in the past and that he continues to do presently, is poke your pride to stir it up. He knows that if you embrace being prideful, which can happen slowly over time, it will not only damage relationships with those around you, but God will resist you.
A HEART OF HUMILITY
Being humble is easier said than done, but the answer is given to us within these verses: “Submit yourselves therefore to God.” You don’t have to work on being a humble person, you simply need to submit yourself to God and humility will follow. When you seek to obey God’s word and grow in your relationship with Him, you will see Him magnified in your eyes, and be humbled before your great and mighty God.
God made all things in this world of which you are a small fraction of, yet loved so much by your Father that Jesus paid the ultimate cost just so that you could be reconciled to Him. The only thing that we can offer as acceptable to God is what He has first given us. That is humbling! And that is a perspective that we can continue to walk in humbly with our God, full of love for Him, as we receive the grace He gives to us in our humility.
Safeguard yourself from being in a place where God resists you. Resist the devil, submit to God, and receive the grace God gives you.