"Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you." James 4:7-8a
These verses jumped out at me today, and though I have tried to put them away, they seem to fit in with a theme I have been noticing lately.
I have talked about it here.
No matter what I do, God keeps telling me to surrender to Him. I keep asking, "What? What is it you want me to surrender." He just keeps saying "Surrender."
You think by now I would have gotten it. I have been flailing around trying to figure out what I haven't surrendered to him. What in the world have I left out? How could I still be holding back from God? What would I possibly still be holding back from God, and why? Because I know all the incredible things he has done to heal me. There is no reason to hold back.
Then this verse popped up several times today.
"Submit yourselves, then, to God."
I didn't get it really, still don't totally. Now that I have looked back at former verses and gotten the context, it has helped.
The previous verses talked about friendship with the world. Friendship with the world is hatred toward God. God has asked me to give up some things that aren't inherently "bad" but they have caused me to love the world more, idolize some things, and therefore, that makes me an enemy of God. Can that be possible? But the verses refer to how God is a jealous God - the Spirit He placed in us envies intensely.
Because of our (my) tendency to love the world and the things in it, then I must submit myself to God. It's a surrender..... but when I think of a surrender, I think of Him asking me to surrender something specific.
Submitting myself to God is different. It means that I am opening up myself to Him. Submitting. Trusting. Purposely placing myself under His Hand. Allowing Him to work, even when I know its probably going to hurt.
When I am finally ready to do that - you know what happens?
I'm sure you do.
Think about it. You're ready to submit to God's will. You're ready to let go..... and along comes the enemy, with every good and reasonable sounding excuse to wait. To hold on. To take the time to "figure it out" before you actually do what God is telling you to do.
What does the next sentence say?
"Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
Resist him - even when you are tired. That is the hardest for me. I just told God this morning that I was tired. So many times I have cried out to God that I am too tired to fight anymore. That's it. That's all I've got, God.
But if I resist. If I allow God to strengthen me in resisting (which He will, especially when I am submitted to Him) the devil will flee from me. FLEE!!!
And when I am feeling so dry and alone and worn, I "come near to God and He will come near to [me]." What a blessing that when I have nothing, if I come near to Him, He doesn't pull away.... He draws closer.
I think of when I am with my kids on the couch. When they push away and won't come closer when I ask, it makes me further from them, and they feel further from me too. But when they submit to my arm around them, when they draw close and snuggle in, it is so natural for me to rub their back, comfort them, love on them.
Isn't that what God does for us too? When I come closer to Him, intentionally positioning myself in His presence, focusing on Him, I feel Him there with me. I can feel Him loving on me and wrapping His arms around me.
Then I am sitting in His lap. I am safe in my Daddy's arms.
Ok, God - here I am. I want it and yet I fight it at the same time, though I know You are trustworthy and true. I am placing myself under Your hands. Under those healing hands of Yours that have done nothing but love, heal and help me. I see my past. I see how You have been so faithful to showing me Your love in spite of it all. I see how You have been so loving and gentle with this fragile heart of mine. I see how You have tenderly taken me and showed me a bit at a time the truth of Your Word. You have shown me the lies and slowly rebuilt my mind to recognize and lean towards the truth, rather than the old worn tapes full of lies from the past.
God, my Daddy, I choose to trust You because I know, even when it is hard for me to believe, that You have my best at heart. Oh come close to me, as I come close to you, because this little girl inside needs some cuddle time in her Daddy's lap!