Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
- James 4:7-8
Submit means to "be subject to." God desires that we subject ourselves to Him. He tells us to resist the one who thinks he is God.
He says to resist the devil, and he will flee.
This procedure sounds easy, but we all know we have fallen back into old ways occasionally. It is because we did not resist him strongly enough or smartly.
When we draw nigh (near) to God — when we fill ourselves up with reading, prayer and a belief of victory — God draws near to us. Satan cannot be near the living God, so he flees.
We fall because we still have some thoughts of sin and faults in our hearts. We still have two masters.
There is a little bit of us that likes saying those words, that likes those actions. When the time comes, we give over to them, and that little bit seems to grow powerful. Then out come those familiar words or actions in times of anger or frustration that 97% of the time we don't like saying or doing. Yet, 3% of the time they seem to come out before we have put our conscious mind into gear to stop them.
Until we sever the head of the 3%, our words and actions will keep coming out.
This mix makes us double-minded at particular times, but those times are enough for James to say we are double-minded, which can transfer to other areas of our life.
Cleansing our hands and purifying our hearts, takes us back to the book of Leviticus when numerous purifications went on. There is one purification for the Levites — the tribe set aside for the ministry. They worked within the tabernacle behind the white curtains of righteousness.
At a particular time, Moses ensured they were cleansed and purified, and then, following that, Aaron, the High Priest, offered them up to the Lord. The Lord was their portion in Israel.
We get confused with the life of the royal priesthood to which God calls us. When we come to Christ, we begin our cleansing and purification, and we give ourselves to Christ. From there, we must be satisfied with that life. There is only a wasted life outside Christ.
As a budding royal priest, we submit ourselves to God. The priestly life would be more comfortable if God did the purifying and cleansing; if we went to sleep one night and woke up cleansed and purified of all sin and faults forever. Wouldn't we love that?
But the Word says we cleanse and purify. In this human life that is one of our chores. James, surprisingly, wrote this epistle to the Church, not a worldly community, as they didn’t get it either.
Much responsibility comes with royal priestly living. It is not a club we attend one day of a weekend, then return to our real jobs or real life.
We are called to maintain a clean and useful tabernacle (body) by living consistently and maturely. It is our life's work, not a hobby.
If we want to persevere through trials and temptations patiently, then we must see the royal priesthood as our life's first work, and cleansing, purifying and offering ourselves as sacrifices to God as daily duties.
Today’s prayer: Dear Lord, thank you again for the simple fact that I can resist he devil through you. Please help me to continually look at my actions and thoughts so I can cleanse my hands and purity my heart, the root of all my issues.