Lots to talk about in these 4 verses in James. Let’s see what they say, then we’ll dissect them.
7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands you sinners and purify your hearts, you double minded. 9 Grieve, mourn, and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.James 4:7-10
- Submit to God – that seems pretty straight forward. Give it all to him; heart, soul, and mind.
- Resist the devil and he will flee – This may not be so easy if we’re not familiar with the way he can work sometimes. He’s sneaky and likes to trick us into doing his bidding, so don’t let your guard down. It may be money that he entices you with so that it becomes the center of your life and you forget about the people in it. If you can stand up to him (with God’s help of course) he will run away from you.
- In verse 8, James encourages his readers to “Come near to God and he will come near to you.” If we draw near to God it would make sense that learning more about his will would bring ours in line with his. “Washing our hands and purifying our hearts” are signs of our submission to God, repentance that leads to forgiveness and mercy. ”You double-minded,” seems to show that James is urgent about getting people to take their relationship with God seriously.
- Verse 9 explains the sorrow we should feel when we have truly submitted to God and then proceed to break his law by doing wrong, “Grieve, mourn and wail.”
- But in verse 10, he tells of God’s promise to lift us up if we humble ourselves before him.
Where are you in your relationship with the Father? Are you communicating with him on a regular basis, continually praying and seeking His guidance? What demands your time? Are you a workaholic that is consumed with increasing your income at the cost of relationships with family and friends? James pleas that people will turn back to God and receive the mercy and grace he affords us when we humble ourselves before him.
You don’t have to be perfect to receive God’s grace, but you do have to submit to Him and accept the gift he offers. Just as James was concerned for the people of his time, there is concern for those who are not returning to the church during the present scare of COVID. I believe it is just important that we submit and stay in a relationship with God now as it was in the first century A.D. when James was writing his letter to the twelve tribes of Israel.