By Waylon Bailey
The Apostle James prepared the people of his day and all those believers who have followed after to resist the devil and to live for God in a culture that opposes God. He gave amazing advice which fits any people at any time (James 4:7-10).
“So humble yourselves before God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, you hypocrites. . . .When you bow down before the Lord and admit your dependence on him, he will lift you up and give you honor.”
Today I want us to look at the relationship between drawing near to God and resisting the Devil. James’ epistle makes that plain. To be close to God is to resist the devil and not to fall under his schemes. On the contrary, when we think ourselves sufficient apart from God we place ourselves in a very dangerous and precarious position.
John Kincaid notices this association as well: “Resist the devil by drawing near to God; Satan doesn’t like to be close to God.” That makes so much sense. Of course, Satan does not like being close to God. To be in the presence of God is to be far from the devil and his desire to destroy us. When Jesus resisted the devil in the wilderness (by quoting and living by Scripture), the devil left Him for a season. That is what happens when we draw close to God.
J. Vernon McGee said it so well: “The Devil will not get to you unless you get too far away from God . . . . A wolf never attacks a sheep as long as it is with the rest of the sheep, and with the shepherd. . . . The closer the sheep is to the shepherd, the safer it is. Our problem is that we get too far from God.”
What joy there is to be close to our Shepherd who cares for His Sheep. To be close to the Shepherd is to be far from the world, the flesh, and the devil.
Waylon Bailey is senior pastor of the First Baptist Church in Covington. This editorial first appeared on his blog.