Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
A few verses before this verse, James highlights that most of the causes of conflicts and quarrels amongst Christian brethren begins on the inside. When self-worth is seen as more important than service, when having our own way is more important than knowing whether it’s God’s way, when fulfilling our own yearnings drives us than seeking His Kingdom. We believe the Lord but are wary of trusting His ways and His time. When He withholds our deepest desires, we throw spiritual tantrums and begin to doubt His undebatable goodness and faithfulness.
However, before we can obey, we need to submit. Submission requires that we lay down, empty ourselves, just like our Christ did. No longer our will, but His will be done. This is a conscious decision, since the Lord would never violate the free choice He has provided us with. We may not understand His ways, but trust His character.
Warren Wiersbe says, ‘before we can stand before Satan, we must bow before God.’ You can submit to either the Lord or to Satan and in doing so, you are either resisting one or the other. Your strength to resist the adversary comes directly from the degree of submission you have towards your Lord. Satan demanded to have Peter sifted like wheat, but our faithful Christ, had already prayed for Peter that his faith would not fail. Such is His love for us, He is continually interceding for us, insinuating us and covering us. When the devil had finished every temptation of Jesus, he departed from Him. We need to stand firm and resist the greed of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. Through Christ, we are more than overcomers!