What does it look like to say we have faith? How does it play out in reality? It’s like owning a classic hot rod. It’s nice to own it and look at it. But what good is it if we keep it garaged all the time and never take it out?
Our faith cannot be garaged—it has to be taken out and revved up. Our faith ought to make an impact on our real life.
There’s a battle going on for your allegiance—for your soul. Who’s going to come out on top? We all desire to belong. But in our search for belonging we’ve dropped our distinction. We’ve lost our “other-ness” compared to the world and we’ve put on worldly camouflage. Our hearts are in the wrong place. In James 4:4-10 he writes:
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
It’s like those cartoons that show someone wrestling with his conscience. He has an angel talking in one ear and a devil talking in the other.
We’re torn between what we know is right and what we know is wrong. We are friendly with the world and have lost our Christian distinctive.
So what’s the solution? There’s a simple solution for living the life God created us to live – submit to him.
Submission is a funny thing because it isn’t something that comes easily to us. In the natural world, we usually come to the point of submission when we’re out of options and can’t fight any longer. Think of an MMA fighter. While knockouts make for spectacular fights, most of the fighters try to get their opponent to submit to them—to TAP OUT. The tap out means that a fighter gives up—submits—and wants to be done with the struggle. In our own lives we struggle. We struggle against God when we should be submitting to him. I find it fascinating that James continues the fight motif. The real question is: Who will we fight against? James continues…
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
We are supposed to be fighters, but we’re not supposed to be fighting against God. We’re supposed to be fighting against the devil. We tap out, we submit, to Jesus. Submitting to Jesus means handing over our likes, wants, and desires.
Imagine for a moment: What would happen if you had to submit everything for God’s approval before you acted?
Before you watch that TV show
Before you say those angry words
Before you break the law
Before you cheat on your spouse
Before you __________________
Have you really tapped out to God? Would God stamp his approval on your submission? Or would he say, “Nope, you’re still struggling against me?”
– Where do I still struggle against God?
– Where do I need to submit to God?