Resist the Devil and Other Such Sayings

So, over the past almost year of being married, my husband and I have had many discussions.  Not the least of these have been the ones centered around the somewhat cliched church sayings that most, if not all, Christians know but don’t really understand.  Here are just a few.  Over time of adding more, I will be creating an archive page as well.

Jas 4:7  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

If I may be so bold as to put my two cents in on this small, little verse.  I’ve had many a discussion with many a person about “resisting temptation” and the many, many failed attempts we’ve each encountered.  In the church experiences I have had (and I’ve been in and out of church settings since birth), we are really good at saying ‘resist the devil and he will flee from you.’  The only problem is, resisting is only a part of the picture.  If you were to actually go into the rest of James 4, it talks about drawing near to God and Him drawing near to you.  It also says to humble yourself and He will lift you up.  It’s not just, resist the devil – that’s only a small part.  The focal point is in submitting oneself to God in love and adoration, humility and desire to know Him.  It’s fairly easy to pin point when the devil comes with temptations when our desire is to be with God…because temptation is anything that says, “focus on me, not God.”  Hmmm, maybe resisting the devil is more about focusing on God.  Just saying

Joh 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Oh, how we have damaged this verse’s intent in our attempt to make Christianity a one-time choice.  If I may: the context here is Nicodemus asking how one can be born again and not really getting the point that Christ was using examples of the seen world to try and explain the unseen.  Directly before this verse, he referenced Moses and the serpent on the stick.  If you’re unaware, when the Israelites were in the wilderness being bitten by snakes and dying from it, God directed Moses to take a serpent, wrap it around a stick and raise it up; if any person was bitten and they looked up at the serpent on the stick, they would be healed.  Ok, so Christ referenced this as though to say He would be raised up on a stick – of sorts – and that all who looked up to Him would be healed, saved, made whole.  The only stipulation: you have to believe it.  And this time, it would be eternal life, and living in the light.  This portion of scripture continues on to say that he that does evil hates the light and runs from it for fear of discipline, and he that loves truth lives in the light so his deeds can be seen!  So, this whole area of scripture was dealing not only with unbelief, but also deeds.  Maybe we shouldn’t just use one short portion of scripture to explain the journey of walking with Christ.  Believing in Christ means walking into the light and not doing evil things…just saying.

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