(May 31st) True humility and learning to say “no but…”

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

James 4:7

What is true humility but obeying God no matter what? It requires the self-realization that “I” am not the most important thing; God is. As long as I think my opinion, my wants, and my feelings are equal to God’s desires for me, I will never fully submit to Him. In such cases, people who put God second (or put him in a tie-for-first with their own wants) tend to walk away when His desires conflict then their own.

Total submission is the way to Heaven. There are no half-measures. We must submit ourselves to God; that is true humility. We have to resist the devil, not give him a little time here and there. We are promised that if we turn away from Satan, he will turn away from us. If we resist the devil the way God resists the proud (v6), then he will “flee” (to turn and run away) from us.

The word “resist” means more than simply disapproving; it means to “stand opposed to.” It’s not enough to say “no” to Satan, we must say “no, but instead…” We must say no to his temptation and replace his temptation with a holy act. We say “no to your sin, but instead I will do something holy.” If we only say no, we leave an idle mind for the devil to linger in, waiting to tempt us again when we are weaker. This is why so many struggle with letting go of their sinful addictions; they never replace the time they spend with their sins with something positive and righteous.

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