Passage of the Day: James 4: 7a [highlight verse underlined/bold] … 6 But He gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." [quoted from Prov. 3: 34] 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
My Journal for Today: Okay, moving on to study/discuss the quality of humility, Jesus’ brother, James, has laid it on his readers (i.e., believers in Christ) that the selfless trait of humility is the key to God’s grace. And he almost becomes like a drill sergeant in the military with the strong exhortation in James 4: 7a, “Submit yourselves, then, to God.” I use the military word picture because that’s the contextual Greek that James uses in today’s highlight verse. The term “submit” in this passage is the Greek term “hupotasso,” which was military imagery as to the way soldiers must submit to their commanders. Besides James, the Apostle Paul also used this military imagery, comparing Christians to soldiers in God’s army (two examples …see Phil. 2: 25 and 2nd Tim. 2: 3); and here God, like Paul, James is saying that our humility must be like a soldier who surrenders his allegiance to Christ, as our Commander in Chief, in the “army of God.”
Christ, Himself, took a commander’s tone when He spoke to His disciples in Luke 9: 23, where He spoke clearly the orders we have from Him if we are to follow His leadership; and I really hope you have this command memorized and internalized.
SCRIPTURE: Luke 9: 23 … Then He [Jesus] said to them all [His followers]: "If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”
You may remember that this command became impossible for the rich young ruler (see Mark 10: 17 – 23), who was confronted by Christ’s order to submit and humbly surrender all to God. He could not do so; and because of that, he walked away from Christ [and we assume] never to enter into God’s kingdom. He never received God’s saving grace because he was unwilling to submit (i.e., “hupotasso”) to Christ in humility.
And it all begins with humility; doesn’t it? For many, many years I was unwilling to surrender my ego and self to Christ as my Lord. It was only when I recognized my weaknesses and surrendered my will, humbly in repentance to the Lord as my commander, that I was able to receive His saving grace. Now, as a surrendered soldier in God’s army, as I noted in yesterday’s journal entry, the formula is the same to receive God’s enabling grace to carry the crosses of daily life as well (also besides today’s verse, see Prov. 3: 34, 1st Peter 5: 6, and 2nd Cor. 12: 9).
When I’m in SURRENDER MODE, humbly following Christ as my Commander, God can pour His grace into my life and give me the power to do those things which I’m incapable of doing in my flesh … things like discerning evil … resisting sin … or overcoming my own deceitful heart [see Jer. 17: 9]. I hope you know, as cited above, 2nd Cor. 12: 9 or have it memorized …
SCRIPTURE: 2nd Cor. 12: 9 … But He [Jesus] said to me [Paul], "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
Like it was for the rich young ruler, it’s our choice. We can CHOOSE to deny self, take up His cross daily, and follow Christ ……or NOT! Choosing to surrender self to the Savior is about the wisest choice we can make on a daily, if not momentary, basis. Really, when we choose to do things on our own, in the flesh, we are choosing to march with Satan’s army – his worldly troops. When we choose to obey Christ (again Luke 9: 23), we march behind Him, with Him, and for Him; and we can do all things through Him, Who gives us His strength (you know it! … Phil. 4: 13).
My Prayer Today: You are my Commander in Chief, Lord! Amen