Silence, Stillness, and Centering before God (2 minutes)
Prayer for Presence
Lord Jesus, in this moment of prayer, free me from the distractions of the day so that I may be deeply present to you and myself, for the sake of the world around me.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8 (NKJV)
There are so many times when I’ve heard people say, “God seems so far away from me.”Feelings are a powerful motive for our every action, and if left unchecked by the truth of God’s Word, they will lead us straight into the arms of the enemy.
With this said, I’ve decided to expose this great lie from Satan that suggests God has somehow left or abandoned His relationship with us. God has told us, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5). And James tells us to “Draw near to God and he will draw ear to you” (James 4:8). So, with this said, I would like to outline and look at five ways for us to draw near to God. So let’s look at our first way.
1. Submit To God (James 4:7a)
Therefore submit to God… James 4:7 (NKJV)
All too often we receive encouragement to be a “Committed Christian,” but commitment is still speaking of our being in control. Commitment speaks of our having power over, or being in charge of something, and is dependent upon our own abilities and desires within us to choose to keep to the commitment we have made before God. Our commitment to be Christ-like will always lead to failure unless we are fully “submitted” to God.
So what exactly does it mean to submit? The word submit used here in this verse is from the Greek word, hupotasso, hoop-ot-as´-so; It means to obey. It was a military term meaning literally, “To rank under.” This is the only way we can make Jesus our Lord—we must choose to submit to Him. We must understand, without submission to Jesus as Lord, no one comes to the Father. We see Jesus saying this as recorded in the Book of John.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6 (NKJV)
Submitting to God also entails our submitting to His Word—it is accepting all Scripture contained within the Bible as divine including the Gospel of Christ (Rom. 1:1; 12:1-2; Matt 10:39; Luke 14:27). When we truly submit to Jesus, we will submit to His Lordship over our life, which means submitting to His will as outlined in His written word.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV)
We were once spiritually dead and under the lordship of Satan, but as Christians we are now spiritually alive and under the Lordship of Christ. We were once under the bondage of slavery to sin, but we are now free from this bondage (Rom. 6). We were once enemies of God, but we are now His friends and His Children (Rom. 8:7; John 15:15; John 1:12).
We must understand, Satan has chosen to go to war against God for every person’s soul (1 Pet. 5:8). So Satan is pulling out all the stops with hopes of keeping us distracted, and keeping our eyes off of Christ. Satan’s number one weapon against us is the lie—for he is the father of lies (John 8:44). He entices us through the temptation of the lie, leading us to believe we can somehow find fulfillment in this world—tempting us to believe we can find a lasting contentment, joy, and happiness by saying “No” to God, and following the desires we have within our flesh.
I want to encourage you today, if you’re not feeling the joy of the Lord, then choose to draw nearer to Him by submitting whole-heartedly to Him, His Word, and His will for your life.
- Devotional By Scott Wright
STUDY QUESTION: What are we exhorted to do in James 4:7?
PERSONAL INVENTORY: Have you fully submitted to God by allowing Jesus to be the Lord of your life? Are you submitted to the entirety of God’s Word within the Bible?
PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Submit to God in every area of your life today. If there is something you know to be against the will of God, confess it, repent of it, and submit to God’s Word to clean up your life.
MAKE THIS YOUR PRAYER TODAY: Father, thank You for sending Your Son to be our Savior. Father, I confess Jesus to be my Lord and I choose to submit to His authority in my life. Help me to see things the way You do, and empower me to make wise choices. In Jesus’ precious name, amen…
Space for Reflection (take 2-3 minutes to be silent or write out your thoughts or prayers from the scripture passage or devotional)
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation,[a] but deliver us from the evil one.
Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)