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Lifted by God

Lifted by God

Words of Faith 5-19-2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2020

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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James 4:7-10

       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.

 

       The last word from James was rather harsh: "You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God" (James 4:1-2).   So how do we respond to such a strong word?     James has an answer.  Submit to God and resist the devil. 

       What could be simpler than that?  But it seems that everything within us, our broken human nature, wants instead to do just the opposite.  We get it turned around and resist God and submit to the devil.  

       Oh, we may not actually surrender the war to the devil, but we surrender a lot of battles without a fight!  Even as we claim Christ as Savior it seems that the easy path, the path of least resistance, is this one.  And what a miserable life that is!  With Christ living inside us, we resist God and then submit to the tempter and find ourselves at war within.  So, what is the answer?  James cannot outline it more clearly. 

        Submitting to God works this way.  First, resist the devil, and HE WILL FLEE.  He MUST.  He WILL.  It is a promise. Is this based upon the power of your will?  Absolutely not.  It is based upon the shed blood of the Lord Jesus, which marks your doorway.  He must flee.  The sovereign God of the universe has decreed it.  It is so.

        Then, draw near to God, and He WILL draw near to you.  It does not say God might draw near.  He WILL draw near.  That is a promise.  We may not "feel it" in our emotions.  We may not "see it" with our eyes.  But He will draw near.  

        And when God is near, we are aware of our need to be cleansed (Isaiah 6:5).  That is why the very next thing we do is to ask God to purify our hands (the things we DO) and our hearts (our thoughts and motives). Both are vital. 

       Of course, there is grief attached to this.  True repentance grieves how we have hurt our relationship with God how we have hurt ourselves and others.  The Prophet Ezekiel brought the Word of the Lord: "You will look back at all your sins and hate yourselves because of the evil you have done.  You will know that I am the Lord, O people of Israel, when I have honored my name by treating you mercifully in spite of your wickedness, says the Sovereign Lord" (20:43-44 NLT).  When we face our sin, we hate ourselves for what we have done, but then we receive His mercy lifting us from that place of grief.

       Finally, we humble ourselves before the Lord.  Here is the great part: He WILL lift us up.  That is real joy when we are lifted by the Lord.  But there is only one road that gets us there.  We cannot detour or take a quick course.  True repentance that draws near to God seeks to be clean in actions and motives, grieves, humbles and is set free. 

 

      Lord God, as an act of my will, I am drawing near to You right now.  Reveal to me the areas of life that I have too easily surrendered to the enemy.  Cleanse me, O God.  Cleanse my actions and my thoughts.  I am humbled before You.  Lift me up, O God.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2009, 2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)       

2820 Business Center Blvd.

Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.