Yesterday we talked about God’s jealousy, but He is also gracious. He is willing to help those humble themselves and seek His help.
Jam. 4:6-7 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. (7) Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
He Giveth More Grace
God is jealous, but there’s more to His character than that. He cares about you and wants help you. He understands what you’re going through.
Heb. 4:15-16 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (16) Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Hezekiah is provides a great example of both aspects of this principle James was teaching.
2Ch. 32:24-26 In those days Hezekiah was sick to the death, and prayed unto the LORD: and he spake unto him, and he gave him a sign. (25) But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up: therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem. (26) Notwithstanding Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah.
God Resisteth the Proud
God helps the humble, but He resists the proud. That’s a scary thought. It’s not just that God withholds His help from the proud – He resists them. How hard could your life get if God, who knows everything, is everywhere, and can do anything, decided to oppose you? Adam Clark strengthens the idea:
“Sets himself in battle array against him.” (Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible)
God hates pride. God is a god of truth and pride is a lie. Pride is idolatry because pride exalts self above God. It was the sin the caused Lucifer to fall from his exalted position.
James speaks of humility and submission interchangeably. We show humility when we obey God. In addition to positively obeying God, God also commands us to resist the devil. As he so often does, James mentions something without providing much background or explanation. When did the devil enter this conversation?
Well, it’s not a stretch to think that Satan was at work behind the scenes trying to stir up trouble in the church. It’s also true that pride is what caused Lucifer to fall from his lofty position. Satan appeals to human pride, too, so there are a number of tie-ins.
The good news is that you can defeat the devil if you’ll resist him and submit yourself to God.
Eph. 4:26-27 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: (27) Neither give place to the devil.
Eph. 6:10-17 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. (11) Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (12) For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (13) Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (14) Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; (15) And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; (16) Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. (17) And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
1Pe. 5:5-9 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. (6) Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: (7) Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (8) Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (9) Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
How Are You Doing?
- Can you identify any areas of pride in your life that might be causing God to resist you?
- Are you showing humility by being obedient to God?
- Are you actively resisting the devil’s pride and approach to life?
Read James 4:8-10. Is there anything in you life that you need to sincerely repent of?