. . . All of you, clothe yourselves with humility towards one another, because “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. (1 Peter 5:5-9)
. . . anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes and enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell within us? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
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. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (James 4:4-10)
During the Second World War, much of Europe was occupied by the Nazis. While most of the civilian population focused on surviving the occupation, two small groups emerged with different agendas. One was made up of individuals who decided to collaborate with the enemy for their own personal gain.
The other group came together with the purpose of actively resisting the enemy in every way possible. Although Nazi agents were prowling everywhere, the resistance fighters refused to be intimidated and continued their efforts to thwart the invaders. At the risk of their lives, they worked to overthrow the enemy who was out to destroy them. They knew whose side they were on and why, and theirs was a fight to the finish. They were committed to “fight the good fight.”
Today, it’s much less evident that we’re at war, that we’re living in occupied territory. There are outbreaks of terrorism, but for most of us, thoughts of war are remote from our daily existence. That makes it so much easier for us to be lulled into a false sense of security, to let down our guard. In subtle ways we can drift into collaborating with the enemy of our souls — without even noticing. We can let the world’s thinking seep into our minds, gradually eroding God’s unchanging standards.
Scripture warns us to realize we’re continually at war, and on two fronts. On the inside, our natural urges are always battling for the upper hand over our spiritual well-being. On the outside, Satan never gives up the fight to lure, deceive or discourage us into giving in or giving up. “Be alert and of sober mind,” Peter says; take Satan seriously, because he’s deadly serious about taking you. Be alert, but don’t be afraid. He’s the enemy, but he’s on the losing side. So, let’s join the Resistance under God’s leadership and keep foiling Satan’s plans. Let’s not be lured into becoming “frenemies” (friendly enemies) with the world.
Humble submission to God is key to resisting Satan. Part of that submission is not presupposing what God’s will and purpose in a given situation will look like. Humble submission accepts that God is all wise, all loving, and He alone knows how and when to bring about His overarching purpose of salvation for all who will come to Him.
Humble submission accepts apparent setbacks, hardships and griefs, trusting in God who “works all things together for good to those who love him and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). Humble submission doesn’t expect earthly rewards or ease; it knows that suffering is the reality sin produces in a world in rebellion against God. It is confident that God can and does use the worst the world can do, and uses it to produce perseverance, character, and hope that will not disappoint us. (Romans 5:3-5)
Humble Submission waits for God’s timing, knowing that He will lift us up. Humble submission doesn’t ask why; it doesn’t try to fix everything. Humble submission seeks God’s presence, His comfort, and waits for His leading. Through constant use, humble submission develops experts at casting as we sail on the waters of life– casting all cares on the Lord, confident of God’s love, care and wisdom. It’s so much easier to cast when we know God is at the helm, enabling us to do what needs to be done.
Humble submission recognizes that we’re not in this boat by ourselves. We’re not the sole target of Satan. It accepts the burden shared by every member of God’s family, reaching out to support and for support. We need helping hands to defeat the enemy, and God has provided us with fellow resistance members to fight alongside us. Our success isn’t measured in our numbers, but in the strength of our commitment and our trust in the One who has called us.
Father, help me to be alert to the tactics of the enemy, equipped by Your Spirit, and committed to stand firm in Your truth. I ask it in the name of Jesus, who has won the ultimate battle for my sake. Amen.