James 4:7 -10 So give or submit yourselves humbly to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. And when you draw close to God, God will draw close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and let your hearts be filled to him. Let there be tears for the wrong thing you have done. Let there be sorrow instead of laughter and gloom instead of joy. Then when you realize your worthlessness before the Lord, he will lift you up and encourage and help you.
Submit means to yield or surrender. I have seen many people who say they submit yet they continue to run right back into the devils entrapment. A person can resist the devil all he wants but if he hasn’t submitted to God, the he will find himself being tempted and falling right back into the same sin. Not only do unbelievers fail to understand submission, even among the saints the concept of submission is poorly understood. Just because a person calls themselves a Christian or a believer in Christ doesn’t mean he is fully giving himself to God. Many people quote this Scripture, “Just resist the devil and he will flee!” However, that Scripture with all trueness it holds works to the fulness as you combine the sentence before it. It is submission. In our society, submission seems to be a dirty word, used in feminist actions and slave like mentality. However, that is not what submission means. The subject of submission is more one of attitude than of actions. Submission is the key to unity and harmony in any relationships. Either you will love one and hate the other. That is why many people fall into the temptation of the devil, even though they resisted somewhat, they truly are not one in unity or harmony in attitude with Christ. This is a vicious cycle of pride, emotional roller coaster, victory one moment and defeated and in the pig pen the next. Satan’s fall and his on-going rebellion is a manifestation of his refusal to submit to God; he likewise tempts men to follow in his footsteps. You can’t resist the devil if you haven’t fully submitted to God.
Secular submission is as limited as men can make it; biblical submission is as broad as mankind. The natural man tends to measure his worth by his status. His status is determined by the ratio of those who are over him compared to those under him. The goal is therefore to reduce those in authority above you and to increase the number under you. We see this in the disciples who continually argued with one another as to who was the greatest. In the eyes of the world, the greatest is the one who has no one over him. But in the kingdom of God, the greatest is the one who has everyone over him. Christian submission comes from the heart. Whether we are supervised, our obedience should be from the heart, seeking to please Him who saved us and knowing that He will reward us. The world’s submission is motivated by self-interest; biblical submission is motivated by faith, hope, and love, resulting in self-sacrifice. Biblical submission requires that we place the interests of others above our own personal interests, that we serve others sacrificially. Pressing further, biblical submission gives others priority by seeking to enhance their glory rather than our own. Worldly submission seeks to minimize dependence on others and to maximize our own independence; biblical submission recognizes our dependence on others and surrenders independence.
Christ brought about our submission through His own sacrifice on the cross; we should seek to bring others to submission by faithfully serving them, by God’s power and grace. Submission is the attitude with which men and women turn to God in faith for eternal salvation. It is also the attitude which underlies servanthood and thus the ministry of believers to outsiders and to one another in the church. We hear much more about servanthood than submission, but submission is the basis for servanthood. Submission is the basis for servant leadership. I submit to you that a man cannot truly be a spiritual leader until he has come to submit himself to those whom he leads. He does not follow those whom he leads, but he does subordinate his interests to the interests of those whom he leads. When he seeks to further his own interests, he will do so at the expense of others. When he subordinates his interests to those of the ones he leads, he sacrifices his own selfish interests for the interests of others. And here the paradox of Christianity becomes evident. When we die to self, we live; when we give up our lives, we find them; when we abandon our pursuit of fulfillment, we are fulfilled.
Submit yourself to God and you will find the fullness of living the victory in overcoming the devil. Otherwise you may continue to fall.