Today’s Reading: James 4
I was reading the story of a young man who had a call on his life to go on the mission field. The problem was that he still had an edge to him. He still had an independent spirit, which came out by what he did and the way he spoke to others. When he went to his leader to ask him about his call to be a missionary, the leadership wisely said to him, “Before you can be a missionary you have to be submissionary.”
I grew up in a church where binding Satan was a big deal and done often. We’d pray, and it was called spiritual warfare. Those words were supposed to distance us from the devil. In today’s chapter, James gives us a way to put the devil on the run. James teaches us that binding is not done with the mouth but with the life, a life of submission: “Submit yourselves to God. Resist the Devil, and he will run away from you” (James 4:7, GNT).
Submission. It is a hard word but a powerful one. It is powerful enough to put the devil on the run, yet hard to make it part of our daily lives. Submission is a fighting word to the devil, and its power is so easily missed by the Christian. Submission starts with recognizing authority, and then being willing to yield to that authority.
When you recognize God as the authority in your life, you are saying not only is God more powerful than you are, but He is wiser than you, and you yield to Him, believing God knows better than you do. I heard someone once say: “I can take more ground and advance with submission rather than ambition.” Submission is powerful.
The unsubmissive person says “I choose what is good, best, and right for my life.” The submissive person says, “I choose what God says is good, best, and right for my life.”
The best way to “bind the devil”? Submit to God. We have so many Christians binding Satan over themselves, people, churches, and cities without a submissive spirit. Satan doesn’t flee without a submissive spirit to God. It’s impossible to resist the devil in any area if there is not a submission to God in every area. The greatest binding you can do is to always say yes to God. Submission to God is the believers’ way of binding Satan—keeping him out of their lives.
The truth of the matter is, speaking is always easier than lifestyle. But always remember that lifestyle gives authority to your speaking. They cannot be divorced from each other. Christian writer Edwin Cole says it like this, “Ability to resist temptation is directly proportionate to your submission to God.” For example, if we know the Word of God tells us not to marry a non-Christian, and we decide our love for the person trumps the Word of God and we go ahead and marry that person, then we are not submissive to what God says.
Submission is not just obeying. Submission is not just doing what someone said. Submission is obeying with the right attitude. That’s what makes submission difficult.
A mother ordered her disobedient son to sit in a corner. After a couple of minutes sitting, he told his mother, “I’m sitting down on the outside, but I’m standing up on the inside!” He obeyed, but he didn’t submit.
I want to live a life that says yes to God with a smile on my face, knowing that He knows better.
Three-time World Series champion New York Yankee second baseman Bobby Richardson is an outspoken Christian. Before Mickey Mantle passed away, Bobby led him to the Lord. Bobby’s prayer is a great prayer for all of us who want to bind the devil without saying, “I bind you, Satan!” It’s the ultimate prayer of submission and the ultimate spiritual warfare prayer: “Dear God, Your will: nothing more, nothing less, nothing else!”
Now that will put the devil on the run.