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.James 4:7–10, (ESV)
The Devil has had his day! He has got the best of you. He has got the best of me. He has convinced us the best life is found by accomplishing more, being able to afford nice things, and gaining the admiration of others.
He promised to make us happy. He promised us fulfillment. And we fell for it! We worked harder to achieve more. We stretched our income to its limit and even took on debt to buy happiness. We sought the “Likes” of hundreds and thousands of acquaintances.
We got more! But somehow we became less. The quest left us depleted. We conquered and plundered only to find that we had nothing left to enjoy the spoils of our conquest.
The consequence of our pursuit has been broken families, broken bodies, broken hearts, and broken spirits. We could talk about the divorce rate. A commonly cited statistic is that almost 50% of marriages will end in divorce. We could talk about depression. The United States prescribes more drugs than any other nation and the #1 category of prescription drugs is anti-depressants. We could talk about our health. We have created whole new categories of illnesses, cancers, and diseases you would never find in under-developed nations.
If the Devil’s promise were true, America would be the happiest place on earth. But there is so much despair and anguish. Yet, we could not imagine letting go of all the things we have. We keep scratching, striving, and straining. We push God aside to get where we are going. Although, we will let him in for a moment if he can serve our pursuit.
And what happened to kindness? We are rushed. We are angry. In Jersey, the only wave you ever get is the one with the middle finger. People become objects. We look at them as impediments that get in the way of where we are going. Or we see them as tools to be used to accomplish our agenda.
Our church buildings grow empty. The Devil has convinced us we don’t need God. The one that we worship is ourselves and God will only get in the way of that idolatry.
There is great despair that is caused by affluenza. We may have gained the world, but discovered that we forfeited our souls. Our spirits are crushed because there seems no way out. But we are given a lifeline…
Draw near to God and he will draw near to you! It is not that God has moved. He is our rock and our fortress. He has not gone anywhere. He is where he has always been. It is just that we stepped out from underneath his shelter. We chose to expose ourselves to the elements when he promised to protect us from them.
The invitation is for us to come back. Accepting that invitation takes humility. We admit we were duped. We are not as wise as we thought we were. We made a fool’s bargain.
Don’t blame the Devil. You were the one who accepted his bargain. Don’t blame other people. Accept responsibility for your own choices. Pointing the finger is not a humble choice and the invitation is to humble ourselves.
We realize that we have much to learn. Letting go of the things we thought were good for us is not an easy task. It takes the empowering and equipping of the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, we will only be fooled again. No one will outwit the Devil while clothed with humanity alone. It is only in the Spirit that we can resist his schemes.
Repent! It means to change direction. It is to go a different way. James says to flee. When you flee, it is not just turning our back on something. It is running away as fast as we can. We already know how to run. We have run to everything. That is everything, but God. Yet, God is always there, waiting for us to run to him. What if we pursued God in the same way we pursued the promises of the Devil? This world would look much different.
- Where have you bought into the Devils promises? In achievement? In possessions? In popularity?
- How do you repent and flee from too-good-to-be-true bargains you have bought into?
Father, forgive me for doubting your promises. Forgive me for exchanging the truth of your Word for the lies of the Devil. I humble myself this day. I mourn my choices. Receive me back into your arms. Give me the wisdom and the ability to flee from the wolves in sheep’s clothes. In Jesus Name. Amen!