7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. 9 Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.
James 4:7-10 NLT
When I reflected on this passage recently, I questioned what humbling myself before God really means in my life. I know it is not just a physical posture before God. If I kneel in a reverent pose yet have a prideful, rebellious heart, why would God lift me up in honor for that? It occurred to me that getting to that place of humility before God involves getting honest with God and walking in obedience.
If I do not choose to confess the truth, that does not mean I am successfully hiding from God; it only means that I am successfully keeping myself imprisoned! God says the truth sets us free. Humbling myself through confessing the truth leads to freedom because I step into a place of honesty with God and others.
Humbling myself before God also means submitting to His instruction and will for my life. Obedience to God is what puts me naturally in the position of resisting the enemy. The Bible says we cannot loyally serve two masters; therefore, by obeying God, I stand in resistance to the enemy.
We have all tried to fight the enemy on our own strength and failed. For example, we try to overcome the condemnation of past sins but are yanked back down by the heavy shackles of guilt and shame; or we try to fill the emptiness in our souls by chasing the enemy’s carrot of selfish ambition or material pursuits only to end up sacrificing our sanity and most important relationships; or maybe we fall for the enemy’s sly rationalization, luring us to a place of escape and end up battling unhealthy habits and hang ups. God knows that in our human strength we cannot overcome or resist the enemy. That is why God, who loves and cares for us, will never ask us to fight the enemy alone. Instead, He invites us to do something much simpler – obey Him. Obeying God puts us under His armor and in the simple act of submission to Him, an incomprehensible, unstoppable, uncontainable power is unleashed in our lives that enables us to do what is impossible with our own strength – resist the enemy. The enemy has no choice but to flee.
Lord, You favor the humble; so, as we humble ourselves before You, we thank You for accomplishing the impossible in our lives and giving us victory over our hurts, habits and hang ups as you lift us up in honor.