Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
March 4, 2018
Submit to God and resist the devil
Want some good advice? Read the Bible. The Good Book is full of sage advice. James, for example, offers some of the best advice you can find anywhere. Complicated? No. Easy to understand? Yes. Here is a sample of how James frames his wise counsel: “Submit to God and resist the devil.”
James says if you resist the devil, he will flee from you. But first you have to submit to God. Then you can get the devil off your back.
How do you submit to God? James calls it drawing near to God. When you do that, James says, God will draw near to you.
One of the best ways to draw near to God is to worship, pray and meditate on helpful passages in the Bible. Some passages are more helpful than others. The eighth chapter of Romans, for example, is far more helpful than the eighth chapter of Leviticus.
The more you worship God, the more convinced you become that God desires intimate fellowship with you. C. S. Lewis, once an atheist, discovered that for himself. Lewis observed that if you wish to get wet, you must get in the water, and if you wish to get warm, you must get near the fire. God, Lewis said, is like a fountain of living water to the submissive believer. But God patiently waits for each of us to choose to plunge into the water instead of merely standing near it.
These days we “browse” options as we make decisions. Browsing ideas about God may be interesting but it is not submission. To submit to God is to jump into the water and get wet with a delightful sense of His presence. Our stubborn pride says, “Submission to God is not necessary; that’s for fanatics like monks and nuns and missionaries. So stay in control. You can handle life on your own just fine.” Such pride will keep you out of the water.
The wisest decision I made as a young man was to surrender to God and ask Jesus to be Lord of my life. I will admit that at age 16 I hardly knew what I was doing. But I kept on surrendering to God until I learned how to do it. I have been surrendering all my life, again and again, and I hope that my last thought in this world will be to surrender myself to God.
Surrender is the key. It is only through submission to God that you find the strength to resist the devil. Submit to God and he will give you the inner power to overcome the devil’s temptations.
Want your life to have meaning? Get busy surrendering to God. You can start anytime. At age 35 John Ruskin realized he had lived his all his life with but one goal: to satisfy his own pleasures. He admitted he had never denied himself anything for the sake of someone else. He concluded that “always doing what I want to do is not the way to heaven.” But that changed for Ruskin when he surrendered to God.
“My next birthday is the keystone of my life,” Ruskin said. He decided to begin serving rather than being served. Over the next 40 years he became a man who was living and caring for others. With God’s help, he became a blessing.
From what I have seen and heard, God is still able to change the life of anyone willing to submit to him and resist the devil. If you have not done that yet, try it. The devil won’t like it but you will enjoy seeing him get out of your way. You will feel good about the strength God gives you to do the right thing. And God will bless you in ways you never dreamed possible. + + +