"Submit therefore to God. But resist the devil, and he will flee from you." James 4:7
When it comes to temptations in life, we know that there will be many and that there will also be varying types and degrees. The temptations that we face as individuals are uniquely and specifically appealing to us.
What is considered a temptation to us may not be a temptation to someone else; however, when temptations do come, we do not have to feel as though others do not face temptations or that we are powerless and that we cannot overcome them. God, in His great mercy, has provided a way of escape and He does not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). Knowing this, there are steps that we can take to overcome the temptations that sometimes feel as though they are insurmountable.
When looking at James 4:1-8, we see the source of quarrels, conflicts, and the source of pleasures, which cause quarrels and we also see how God gives a greater grace. In verse 7, we see the command, “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” When you submit, you place yourself under the control of another as an act of humility and obedience. Verse 6 tells us that God’s gives grace to the humble. So in temptation, we need to first put ourselves under the control of God by obeying and yielding to the will of God. We know sin is not the will of God. If we do not submit to God, we are in essence submitting, obeying, and placing ourselves under the control of the devil by following his directives and giving in to temptation.
To avoid giving in to temptation, we must submit to God and resist the devil, not resist God and submit to the devil. To resist is to be against or to oppose. So as we resist the devil, we are demonstrating our complete opposition to him and all that he represents. We will not follow his likeness but we resist because we seek Christlikeness. In addition to resisting temptation, we must also flee temptation, which is to quickly escape. When we quickly escape, this does not allow us to second-guess or rationalize why we should give in to the temptation that is before us. When it comes to temptation, both resisting and fleeing are not only strongly encouraged but commanded. Resisting and fleeing can take many forms. You can resist and flee by physically doing so and you can also resist and flee as it relates to your thought life and what you choose to meditate upon. If you constantly think thoughts that are against the Scriptures, you will venture towards whatever dominates your thought life and subsequently, your actions will follow.
When we think about the words: submit, resist, and flee, it requires intentional action on our part. We have to intentionally choose to submit to the will of God, which is to love what He loves and to hate what He hates. Choose to humbly agree that God’s will and God’s way is the best way and anything contrary to that is sin and is out of His will, purpose, and plan for your life. You must also take action by resisting, which is to give no place to the devil in your thoughts or your actions (Ephesians 4:27). This will require you to flee, which is to quickly move away from tempting thoughts and actions (2 Corinthians 10:5). Fleeing can take the form of quickly replacing ungodly thoughts with the Word of God and removing yourself from tempting situations or not placing yourself in ungodly situations that you know are a temptation for you specifically (Romans, 12:2; Proverbs 4:14-15). We must always pray and ask God for His help as we put on the whole armor of God. Then, we are able to stand against the schemes of the devil by submitting to God, resisting the devil, and fleeing temptation (Ephesians 6:10-17). Choose to submit to God by drawing near to Him and He will draw near to you. The Scripture promises that when we do this, the devil will flee (James 4:7).
"Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,