James 4:7 - Path of Grace.

Jam.4:7; Path of Grace.

James 4:7 (KJV)  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the 
devil, and he will flee from you. 

James 4:7 (NCV)  So give yourselves completely to God. Stand 
against the devil, and the devil will run from you. 

James 4:7 (CEV)  Surrender to God!  Resist the devil, and he 
will run from you. 

James 4:7 (CWB)  You need to submit your will to God.  Resist 
the devil, and he'll flee from you. 

James 4:7 (TLB)  So give yourselves humbly to God. Resist the 
devil and he will flee from you. 

James issues a series of ten commands in vv. 7-10 ("submit," 
"resist" [v. 7]; "come near," "wash," "purify" [v. 8]; "grieve," "mourn," 
"wail," "change" [v. 9]; "humble" [v. 10]). [Expositors Bible 

Here we find a series of practical exhortations, using ten 
imperatives in the next four verses. It begins with a call to submit to God, 
serving as the theme of the exhortation, and ends with a command to 
humble themselves before the Lord..... The structure is as follows: 
Submit yourselves to God ... (verse 7)
Resist the devil... (verse 8)
Draw near to God...
Cleanse your hands...
Purify your hearts...
Be wretched and mourn... (verse 9)
Let your laughter be turned to mourning...
Humble yourselves before the Lord... (verse 10) (UBS Translator 
Handbook Series) 

4:7-10 These verses contain ten commands that call for immediate 
action in rooting out the sinful attitude of pride. [NIV SB] 

4:7-10 There are 10 verbs, all commands, in these verses, in a 
tense that indicates the need for a decisive and urgent break with the 
old life. [Ryrie SB] 

Ten imperatives (4:7-10). These four verses contain 10 sharp 
commands calling for immediate action. In essence they tell us how to 
humble ourselves before God, so that we can experience His grace. The 
10 commands are: submit, resist (v. 7), come near, wash, purify (v. 
8), grieve, mourn, wail, change (v. 9), humble (v. 10). Together 
they picture a complete reversal of the attitudes that shape the 
spiritually immature and unfaithful. [Victor Bible Reader's Companion] 

4:7-10 These verses contain 10 of the 54 imperatives in James. 
Combining straightforward and picturesque terms, James beautifully 
describes the characteristics of genuine repentance. They are these: (1) 
submission to God, (2) resistance of the devil, (3) drawing near to God, 
(4) cleansing of hands, (5) purifying the heart, (6) lamentation, 
(7) mourning, (8) weeping, (9) turning, (10) humbling oneself in the 
sight of the Lord. The beautiful conclusion to this repentance is the 
divine raising up that comes from God and not ourselves. [Believer's 

Few passages of Scripture have as many active verbs strung 
together in such a few brief verses as 7-10, the "how to" section that 
caps James' discussion of conflict, unanswered prayers, and the need 
of grace to overcome our innate tendency to envy. 
The first two verbs suggest general principles. We are to submit 
to God. And we are to resist the devil. Just HOW we do this is 
explained by the other verbs in these verses. 
(1) We "come near" to God. Consciously fix your thoughts on the 
LORD, and approach Him in prayer. James promises us that when we do, 
God will bend down close to listen to us. This is always the first 
step in submission. 
(2) We "wash... hands" and "purify... hearts." Approaching God as 
sinners, we confess our faults. And though we have been "double-minded" 
(cf. 1:8), we make a firm commitment to respond, whatever God may ask 
us to do. 
(3) We change our "laughter to mourning." We reject the world 
system, with its false values. We realize that most of the things the 
world laughs about actually call for mourning, and most of the things 
the world finds joy in cast a pall of gloom over God's universe. 
Changing our laughter to mourning is exchanging lost man's perspective on 
life for God's, and evaluating all things by His standards. 
(4) "And He will lift you up." When we humble ourselves in these 
ways before God, we sense His loving hands grip us, and lift us up. 
In humbling ourselves before God, more than our outlook on life is 
changed. We ourselves are changed! We are raised to newness of life. [The 
365-Day Devotional Commentary] 

How can you come near to God? James gives five ways: (1) 'Submit 
to God' (4:7). Yield to his authority and will, commit your life to 
him and his control, and be willing to follow him. (2) 'Resist the 
devil' (4:7). Don't allow Satan to entice and tempt you. (3) 'Wash your 
hands. . . and purify your hearts' (that is, lead a pure life) (4:8). 
Be cleansed from sin, replacing your desire to sin with your desire 
to experience God's purity. (4) 'Grieve and mourn and wail' in 
sincere sorrow for your sins (4:9). Don't be afraid to express deep 
heartfelt sorrow for what you have done. (5) 'Humble yourself before the 
Lord,' and he will lift you up (4:10; 1 Peter 5:6). [Life Application 

Every sin is preceded by temptation. Therefore, if we can figure 
out how to overcome temptation, we can wipe sin off the face of the 
earth.... The answer to conquering sin is to conquer the temptation.... How 
can we overcome and conquer temptation? This is the discussion of 
this passage. We must do four things. 
1. Step 1: submit to God--resist the devil (v.7).
2. Step 2: draw near to God and repent (v.8).
3. Step 3: be disciplined and deeply, mournfully concerned (v.9).
4. Step 4: humble yourself (v.10). [Preacher's  Outline & Sermon 

Biblical thought demands a fourfold cleansing. It demands a 
cleansing of the lips (Isa 6:5-6). It demands a cleansing of the hands (Ps 
24:4). It demands a cleansing of the heart (Ps 73:13). It demands a 
cleansing of the mind (Jas 4:8).  That is to say, the ethical demand of 
the Bible is that a man's words and deeds and emotions and thoughts 
should all be purified. Inwardly and outwardly a man must be clean, for 
only the pure in heart shall see God (Matt 5:8). [Barclay 

 "Submit" is the first of 10 imperative commands in vv. 7-10. 
Each command is forceful, calling for immediate response. There is no 
room for delay in one who seeks to live by faith. Faith must express 
itself, not in words, but in such actions as: submit, resist, come near, 
wash, purify, grieve, mourn, wail, change, and humble. [Victor Bible 
Background Commentary] 

"Submit" is a military term "to be subordinated" or "to render 
obedience." [Bible Knowledge Commentary] 

Submission is not obedience, but rather the decision to place 
oneself under the authority of another. This attitude leads to 
obedience. [Victor Bible Background Commentary] 

Submission is not the same as obedience. Instead, it is the 
surrender of one's will, which leads to obedience. [Expositors Bible 

The word "submit" (hupotagete) means to put yourself under God, 
under His care and power and strength; to yield to God, to His will, 
command, instructions, laws, behavior, and Word; to surrender yourself to 
God for Him to strengthen you so that you can do exactly what He 
What this means is to focus your mind upon God and His Word 
immediately when temptation strikes. Turn away from the temptation, push it 
out of your mind and begin to think about God and go over and over 
His Word in your mind. Just begin to resist the devil by focusing 
your mind upon God and His Word. Persevere in following God's command 
and in resisting the devil. When you do, the most wonderful thing 
will happen. The devil will flee and the temptation will be gone.  
We cannot even listen to the enemy's tempting offer--not even for 
a moment. Picturing the temptation moves us a long way down the 
road to defecting and sinning against God. The only way to conquer 
temptation is to immediately submit ourselves to God and to immediately 
resist the devil and his temptation. We may have to struggle. The 
images of the temptation may attack and attack us, but if we will 
attack back by rolling God's Word over and over in our minds, the 
temptation will flee. 
Even if one has been enslaved by some sin for years, submitting 
to God and resisting the devil will cause the devil and temptation 
to flee. But note this: if a person has been enslaved by the 
sin--drugs, alcohol, illicit sex, smoking, pornography, overeating, 
whatever--the temptation will continue to attack him for days and perhaps 
weeks and months. But the believer must remember something: he is now 
in the army of God. He is now a soldier under the command of God. 
Therefore, every time the enemy attacks, the believer is to submit himself 
to God and His Word, and he is to resist the devil. He is to 
persevere and keep on persevering--to submit to God and resist the devil 
and to keep on submitting to God and resisting the devil--and he will 
discover a most wonderful thing. As time passes--days, weeks, or 
months--the devil and temptation will flee farther and farther away and 
attack fewer and fewer times. The believer will walk in more and more 
victory over the devil and his evil. The believer will never be 
completely without temptation, but he will walk through life more and more 
victoriously, triumphing more and more over all evil. [Preacher's  Outline & 
Sermon Bible] 

Submission is more than obedience; it involves humility." 
[Wycliffe Bible Commentary] 

God cannot help the Christian who is proud, who refuses to 
repent of sin and humble himself. Grace is for the lowly, not the 
lofty. We must first submit to God; then we can effectively resist the 
devil. [Wiersbe Expository Outlines] 

The proud resist God: in their understanding they resist the 
truths of God; in their will they resist the laws of God; in their 
passions they resist the providence of God; therefore, no wonder that God 
resists the proud... God will give more grace to the humble, because they 
see their need of it, pray for it, are thankful for it, and such 
shall have it. Submit to God, vs. 7. Submit your understanding to the 
truth of God; submit your wills to the will of his precept, the will 
of his providence. Submit yourselves to God, for he is ready to do 
you good. [Matthew Henry Commentary] 

In Christ, divinity and humanity were combined. Divinity was not 
degraded to humanity; divinity held its place, but humanity, by being 
united to divinity, withstood the fiercest test of temptation in the 
wilderness. The prince of this world came to Christ after His long fast, 
when He was an hungered, and suggested to Him to command the stones 
to become bread. But the plan of God, devised for the salvation of 
man, provided that Christ should know hunger, and poverty, and every 
phase of man's experience. He withstood the temptation, through the 
power that man may command. He laid hold on the throne of God, and 
there is not a man or woman who may not have access to the same help 
through faith in God. Man may become a partaker of the divine nature; 
not a soul lives who may not summon the aid of Heaven in temptation 
and trial. Christ came to reveal the source of His power, that man 
might never rely on his unaided human capabilities. 5BC1082 

David's prayer should be the petition of every soul: "Create in 
me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me." Psalm 
51:10. And having become partakers of the heavenly gift, we are to go 
on unto perfection, being "kept by the power of God through faith." 
1 Peter 1:5.  
Yet we have a work to do to resist temptation. Those who would 
not fall a prey to Satan's devices must guard well the avenues of 
the soul; they must avoid reading, seeing, or hearing that which 
will suggest impure thoughts. The mind should not be left to wander 
at random upon every subject that the adversary of souls may 
suggest.... This will require earnest prayer and unceasing watchfulness. We 
must be aided by the abiding influence of the Holy Spirit, which will 
attract the mind upward, and habituate it to dwell on pure and holy 
things. PP460 

If we sink down, and give way to the temptations of Satan, we 
get no reward for the trial, and shall not be so well prepared for 
the next. In this way we shall grow weaker, and weaker, until we are 
led captive by Satan at his will. When temptations and trials rush 
in upon us, let us go to God, and agonize with him in prayer. He 
will give us grace and strength to overcome, and break the power of 
the enemy.  
God gives his people a bitter cup to drink to purify and cleanse 
them. They can make it still more bitter by murmuring, complaining, 
and repining. But those who receive it thus, must have another 
draught, for the first does not have its designed effect upon the heart. 
And if the second does not effect the work, then they must have 
another, and another, until it does have its designed effect, or they 
will be left impure in heart - this bitter cup can be sweetened by 
patience, endurance and prayer,  2SG290 

Could the curtain be rolled back, you would see the heavenly 
universe looking with intense interest upon the one who is tempted. If 
you do not yield to the enemy, there is joy in heaven. When the 
first suggestion of wrong is heard, dart a prayer to heaven, and then 
firmly resist the temptation to tamper with the principles condemned in 
God's Word. 3BC1155 

Worldly and fleshly lusts are distempers, which will not allow 
content or satisfaction. Sinful desires and affections stop prayer, and 
the working of our desires toward God. (Matthew Henry's Commentary) 

The picture of Israel as the bride of God and of God as the 
husband of Israel has something very precious in it. It means that to 
disobey God is like breaking the marriage vow.  It means that all sin is 
sin against love. It means that our relationship to God is not like 
the distant relationship of king and subject or master and slave, 
but like the intimate relationship of husband and wife. It means 
that when we sin we break God's heart, as the heart of one partner in 
a marriage may be broken by the desertion of the other. [Barclay 

A very deep and remarkable verse! The apostle is contending 
against the worldiness which was so rife among the believers he was 
addressing. They were set on pleasure; they sought the friendship of the 
world, and became unfaithful to their divine Lover; they were proud and 
high-minded. He went so far as to speak of them as adulterers and 
adulteresses; and then adopting a gentler, pleading tone, he says, "You are 
grieving the gentle Holy Spirit who has come to dwell within you, who 
yearns with a jealous envy to possess your entire nature for Himself." 
The Spirit of God dwells within thee, O believer in Jesus 
Christ.... Thou hast most certainly the Holy Spirit. But the mistake of thy 
life consists in this, that He hath not thee. Some part of thy heart 
is given, but not all; and this causes Him the most intense pain, 
resembling that which we suffer from jealousy. 
No keener pain is possible to the heart of man than to have good 
reason for the belief that a loved one is not wholly true, that there 
has been an alienation of affection which was once whole and 
entire.... This is what the Spirit of God suffers when we share between Him 
and the world that love which should be all his own. F. B. Meyer 
[Spirit Filled Life Devotional SB re 4:5] 

The best commentary on this saying is that of Jesus: "No one can 
serve two masters" (Matt 6:24).... We may be so dominated by them that 
the world becomes our master. Or we may so use them as to serve our 
fellow-men and prepare ourselves for eternity, in which case the world is 
not our master but our servant. A man may either use the world or be 
used by it. To use the world as the servant of God and men is to be 
the friend of God, for that is what God meant the world to be. To 
use the world as the controller and dictator of life is to be at 
enmity with God, for that is what God never meant the world to be. 
[Barclay Commentary] 

We usually picture a pack of wolves attacking a defenseless 
beast that has no hope of survival. What you may not know is that 
there are important behaviors that come before the attack--behaviors on 
the part of the wolves and behaviors on the part of the prey. 
To begin with, wolves tend to go after the weak, the sick, and 
the old animals in a herd. This practice is to the wolves' credit, 
of course, because it serves to keep the herd strong and healthy by 
weeding out the culls. But there are subtle behaviors on the part of the 
prey that aid the wolves in the kill--behaviors that if changed, often 
cause the wolves to ignore the prey and look elsewhere. 
Once, a pack of wolves was observed stalking three buffaloes in 
Alberta, Canada. Two of the buffaloes were healthy; the third was sick. 
All three were lying peacefully on the grass, chewing their cuds. 
When the wolves' presence was sensed by the buffaloes, the two 
healthy ones stayed where they were and ignored the pack, but the sickly 
one became nervous, stood up, and met his doom. The healthy two were 
not bothered. 
Another signal that the prey animal gives is to run. For 
example, if a wolf pack approaches a moose, the moose's best chance for 
survival is to hold its ground, refuse to run, and perhaps even walk 
toward the wolves. This is apparently a sign that the intended prey is 
too healthy to kill. Also, it seems that the wolves prefer to attack 
when their prey is on the run. If the moose runs, it will almost 
certainly be chased and killed. 
Satan likes nothing better than to scare us into thinking that 
we haven't got a chance. And if our relationship with Jesus isn't 
as healthy as it could be, then we become perfect targets for him. 
But when we depend on Jesus and keep our relationship with Him 
secure, we can look the devil in the eye and watch him flee in fear. 
[Glimpses Of God's Love by J & P Tucker] 

"A meek man is not a human mouse with a sense of his own 
inferiority. Rather he may be in his mortal life as bold as a lion and as 
strong as Samson; but he has stopped being fooled about himself. He has 
accepted God's estimate of his own life. He knows he is as weak and 
helpless as God declared him to be, but paradoxically, he knows at the 
same time that he is in the sight of God of more importance than 
angels. In himself, nothing; in God, everything. That is his motto." 
A.W. Tozer [The 365-Day Devotional Commentary] 

While you yield to God in all things, you are to yield to the 
devil in none. (Barnes' Notes) 

Resistance to the devil (4:7) is done by coming near to God 
(4:8). Submission to God and his will results in a heart purged from 
worldliness. [New Bible Companion] 

The weakest man who finds refuge in the power of Christ will 
cause Satan to tremble and to flee. DA 131 

When you can have the best, why would you want anything less?  
[Pastor Trevor Thompson] 

Jenny was a bright-eyed, pretty five-year-old girl.  One day 
when she and her mother were checking out at the grocery store, Jenny 
saw a plastic pearl necklace priced at $2.50.  How she wanted that 
necklace, and when she asked her mother if she would buy it for her, her 
mother said,  
"Well, it is a pretty necklace, but it costs an awful lot of 
money.  I'll tell you what. I'll buy you the necklace, and when we get 
home we can make up a list of chores that you can do to pay for the 
necklace.  And don't forget that for your birthday Grandma just might give 
you a whole dollar bill, too. Okay?"   
Jenny agreed, and her mother bought the pearl necklace for her. 
Jenny worked on her chores very hard every day, and sure enough, her 
grandma gave her a brand new dollar bill for her birthday.  Soon Jenny 
had paid off the pearls.  How Jenny loved those pearls.  She wore 
them everywhere - to kindergarten, bed and when she went out with her 
mother to run errands. The only time she didn't wear them was in the 
shower - her mother had told her that they would turn her neck green!  
Now Jenny had a very loving daddy. When Jenny went to bed, he 
would get up from his favorite chair every night and read Jenny her 
favorite story.  One night when he finished the story, he said,  
"Jenny, do you love me?" 
"Oh yes, Daddy, you know I love you," the little girl said.
"Well, then, give me your pearls." 
"Oh! Daddy, not my pearls!"  Jenny said.  "But you can have 
Rosie, my favorite doll.  Remember her?  You gave her to me last year 
for my birthday.  And you can have her tea party outfit, too.  
"Oh no, darling, that's okay."  Her father brushed her cheek 
with a kiss. "Good night, little one."  
A week later, her father once again asked Jenny after her story, 
"Do you love me?"  
"Oh yes, Daddy, you know I love you." 
"Well, then, give me your pearls." 
"Oh, Daddy, not my pearls!  But you can have Ribbons, my toy 
horse. Do you remember her?  She's my favorite.  Her hair is so soft, 
and you can play with it and braid it and everything.  You can have 
Ribbons if you want her, "Daddy," the little girl said to her father.  
"No, that's okay," her father said and brushed her cheek again 
with a kiss. "God bless you, little one.  Sweet dreams."  
Several days later, when Jenny's father came in to read her a 
story, Jenny was sitting on her bed and her lip was trembling.   
"Here, Daddy," she said, and held out her hand.  She opened it 
and her beloved pearl necklace was inside.  She let it slip into her 
father's hand. With one hand her father held the plastic pearls and with 
the other he pulled out of his pocket a blue velvet box.  Inside of 
the box were real, genuine, beautiful pearls.  He had had them all 
along.  He was waiting for Jenny to give up the cheap stuff so he could 
give her the real thing.  So it is with our Heavenly Father.  He is 
waiting for us to give up the cheap things in our lives so he can give 
us beautiful treasure.