“Blessed [spiritually prosperous, happy, to be admired] are the poor in spirit [those devoid of spiritual arrogance, those who regard themselves as insignificant], for theirs is the kingdom of heaven [both now and forever].” Matthew 5:3 Amp.
2002 is marked with the birth of my daughter, Demi. This probably explains why the Danielle van Dam kidnapping and murder was so consuming for me. This type of crime had gone on before, but the steal-children-right-out-of-their-beds-in-the-dead-of-night concept was new for my little mind. As if parents didn’t have enough to worry about when our children are out in the world, now they aren’t even safe tucked in their beds 10 feet across the hall from us. The agony Danielle’s parent’s suffered grieved me, but like a train wreck, I couldn’t look away; I spent hours watching the news coverage.
So when Demi was old enough to comprehend the idea, I waffled with the decision to educate her on what to do should she ever wake to find someone in her room. Considering it could scare her made me hesitate, but knowing the instructions and warning could potentially save her life eventually resolved my mind to err on the side of a sit down.
I explained that if she woke up to someone in her room at night she needed to scream and kick and make as much ruckus as possible. Even if they had a gun. Even if they had a knife. No matter what, shriek and yell. Whatever you do, do not get any Home Alone fantasies!
It’s important to note, she was a throwing knife connoisseur and Deadliest Warrior enthusiast and I felt her self-assuredness may be problematic for this talk. She had told me once before that in a time of danger she could point a knife at someone and say, “I know all the vital organs.”
I continued, “None of this commotion is to fight him off yourself, but to wake your dad. If Dad was startled awake in the middle of the night to the sound of his only daughter screaming and came into your room to find someone trying to take you, do you think the kidnapper would want to deal with him at that point?” “No!” she replied. “Exactly. That is the last thing any intruder is going to want, so you see, it all comes down to getting your dad in the room. An abductor knows that and will do everything he can to keep you quiet. Demi, seriously, he won’t be afraid of you. Dad will be your only hope. Do you understand?” “Yes. I understand.”
She slept in our room that night.
James has that same sit-down with you and me.
“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…” James 4:6b-8a
As Demi needed to learn how to resist a physical threat by crying out for Mat to come near, we too have to learn how to deal with a spiritual foe with far more evil plans for us. So what do we do? How do we resist Satan and what do we practically do to draw God near?
According to James, we first acknowledge our place in the hierarchy. In humility, we have to say, “You are God and I am not. I am not even capable of thinking right without Your intervention, so please guide me, because You are the Expert in and on life.” Humble is a key word because it settles the issue of who is in charge.
Once we have done that, we act accordingly by giving control to the Authority we just admitted we recognized (obedience is the logical next step). We do not passively consider if we think God has good enough reasons to obey or if we like the mandate. We willingly line up under His leadership-ready to be instructed.
In our submission, we will experience God drawing near as He is attracted to our humility and compliance; they compel Him to come close to us in our proverbial room. And as His presence casts an ominous shadow over us, Satan “flees”.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, God recoils from the proud and self-willed like a Celiac does gluten. This in turn motivates Satan to move in for the kill since we have never been a formidable foe, but always the prey.
So the breakdown reads like this:
Meekness and submission = God is lured close and Satan bolts.
Haughtiness and independence = God turns a cold shoulder and Satan starts circling.
So you can imagine my surprise and confusion when I recently read a “Christian” blog that said it is “dumb” to say “because the Bible says” when our children ask why they should abstain from sex before marriage.
Since when did that become a bad answer? It begs the question, who do you think you are, and Who do you think God is? Maybe this “Christian” blogger missed the ten million times God declared, “Thus sayeth the LORD, do it.” (my paraphrase) Repeatedly, His title is all the explanation He ever gives in expectation for the Israelites full conformity. He is God, and you are not. That’s it. That’s all the cause you need. Correct me if I’m wrong, but He seems secure in this.
Pride is self-ruling and thinks it can figure out life on its own and it certainly doesn’t want God telling it what to do. Such a shame. Like an overzealous little girl in her bed at night, our bloated self-confidence will cost us much. Because as the saying goes, “You can’t keep dancing with the devil and wonder why you’re still in hell.”
“He (Satan) doesn’t flee from us, Beloved. He runs from God who is standing right there over us every time we submit. Take off your shoes. That’s holy ground.” Beth Moore