Today we are continuing the “Resurrect Me” series by delving into what it means to surrender and replace our addictions and habitual sins. I’ve been using a passage in James as our roadmap throughout this series. So let’s look at what’s next . . .
“Submit yourselves, then to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” ~James 4:7-8
Ugh! Did you catch the S-word that we ALL—not just women—hate?
For most of us, submitting our “idols” or “illicit desires” to God does not seem easy or simple.
It takes understanding to whom we are handing off our addictions and bad habits.
“. . . Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” ~Heb. 11:6
Remember, without the truth that “God is good” tucked firmly into our hearts and minds, we will waver and give-in.
Then there is a second and very important part of submitting to God—resisting the devil.
I bet you’re familiar with it . . . You’ve come to God with Your sinful addiction or habit—surrendering them to Him and walking away. Yay!
But then you will walk out the door and feel “tempted” (pardon the pun) to expect that things will get easier—to feel less of a pull toward that temptation because You’ve surrendered it to God. Right?! 😉
Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth!
At that point, you must stand firm in your faith because Satan is going to pull out all the stops to wreck your resolve (Jn. 10:10, 1 Peter 5:8).
What does resisting Satan look like?
- It is being smart about where you allow your “eyes” and “heart” to go—taking measures to avoid (if possible) or lessen those visual, sensual or emotional temptations.
- It is asking God to examine your heart continually, since you will still tend to be deceived by your desires going forward.
- It is staying in constant communion with God and His truth.
- It is recognizing that Satan is already defeated, so he holds no real power over you!
In verse 8 we see the next step . . .
“Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
In other words, we need to not only resist our idolatrous desires, but replace them with a renewed focus on God and His good purposes.
What does replacing the desire and coming near to God look like?
- It is meditating on and praying God’s word in key moments of temptation.
- It is examining your heart for other sins that might be present in your life, then confessing and surrendering them to God.
- It is finding godly accountability partners to hold your “feet to the fire” in this tempting area of your life.
- It is living out your new life with boldness and honesty for all to see—working on being consistent in all of your life choices.
Remember it this way: it is the “Push and Pull” Principle.
We push away from any all-consuming temptations in our lives and pull our hearts toward God by letting Him cleanse and empower us to live differently—in His strength instead of our own!
Next week I will be talking about one final step in keeping those addictions and idols at bay. I hope you’ll come back!
What unhealthy and ungodly pursuits do you need to push away from in your life?
What healthy and godly pursuits do you need to pull toward you?
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