The apostle James warned persecuted and dispersed believers to take sin seriously (James 4:1-12).
James knew that we have two natures. Like Paul, James described the war going on within us. Paul described how the flesh wars against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh (Galatians 5:16-17).
How do we solve the issue of that constant battle of our old nature leading us to disobedience and rebellion?
James gave six exhortations for believers to be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might (James 4:7-9; Ephesians 6:10–11).
What should we do? What is the remedy?
First, submit to the Lord. The word “submit“ is a military term that means to be under the rank of another. In other words, we are the private and the Lord Jesus is the commanding officer. We must follow Him in all things.
This is the heart of what we do to deal with our old nature. We submit our whole selves in obedience to Christ.
Second, resist the devil. James assured us that if we would stand up and push back, the devil will flee from us. When Jesus confronted Satan‘s temptations with Scripture, Satan left Him for a season.
Third, draw near to God. James promised that when we come near to God, God will come near to us. Nothing will help us more in the power over sin than being in the presence of God.
Fourth, turn from evil. James references the words of Psalm 24 where the Psalmist said that the person with clean hands (right actions) and pure hearts (right thoughts and attitudes) shall stand before God.
Repentance is a necessity to be right with God. We must turn from our evil way and seek to please God.
Fifth, take sin seriously. James did not intend for us to live a life of sadness and sorrow, but he did intend us to grieve over our rebellion. When we take sin seriously we will grieve at sin and rejoice in forgiveness.
Finally, humble yourself before the Lord. When we submit and humble ourselves before the Lord, He will lift us.
We have what we need to live righteously before God. Let us follow His plan that He might direct our paths.
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