It was the day before the celebration of greatest importance in a pastor’s family and church. While Randy was at church putting final touches on his sermons and on other preparations, I was home preparing for the grand meal I wanted to serve our family. Everything was going wrong. “The devil is in the details” is a saying that is true at times. When we are anxious, overthinking, and overwhelmed by the details we created; that is when we are most venerable to the attacks of evil who is jealous of what we are doing in Jesus Name.
Even the mixer stopped that Saturday morning while stirring up batter for a cake! So, what do I do? Without thinking it through, or unplugging the failing mixer, I hurriedly stuck my fingers into the top of the beaters to see if I could “fix it”. Well, I did—fingers and all. Fortunately, I pulled back before much damage. Anger at myself and the situation caused me to stop all preparation, walk around the kitchen and call out to God while defying the evil one who was trying to frustrate me more. My battle cry of prayer went something like this, “NOT TODAY, SATAN! You will not rob me of the joy of this occasion, the joy of preparing for my family or the joy of presenting your truth to those who will come tomorrow. So, Lord, in your name, the Name of Jesus, rid my mind, heart and soul of this distraction and meddling, rid my home of this spirit, defeat the foe and deliver us from evil and evil’s schemes to bring us down! In Jesus Name, Amen!
I will never forget what happened next. Extreme calm overwhelmed my anxiousness and anxieties with the peace of Jesus Christ. I felt evil immediately clear the room. It was as if Satan said, “I’m not messing with her, she’s a freak for Him.” Truthfully, it was the power of Jesus who cleared the room and cleared my mind with His peace.
Friends, this is serious stuff that James clarifies for us. We are either for Christ or for Satan. When under pressure, who do we choose? Who do you choose when things are going well? Who drives our behaviors? Who are we thinking about most and who do we follow? Whose voice do we hear above all other voices with hearts ready and willing to obey? We only have two choices.
Choose wisely. Seriously choose Jesus. You will not regret this choice.
This is a matter of life or death.
“Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.”
James 4, The Message
1-2 Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves. You lust for what you don’t have and are willing to kill to get it. You want what isn’t yours and will risk violence to get your hands on it.
2-3 You wouldn’t think of just asking God for it, would you? And why not? Because you know you’d be asking for what you have no right to. You’re spoiled children, each wanting your own way.
4-6 You’re cheating on God. If all you want is your own way, flirting with the world every chance you get, you end up enemies of God and his way. And do you suppose God doesn’t care? The proverb has it that “he’s a fiercely jealous lover.” And what he gives in love is far better than anything else you’ll find. It’s common knowledge that “God goes against the willful proud; God gives grace to the willing humble.”
7-10 So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him make himself scarce. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.
11-12 Don’t bad-mouth each other, friends. It’s God’s Word, his Message, his Royal Rule, that takes a beating in that kind of talk. You’re supposed to be honoring the Message, not writing graffiti all over it. God is in charge of deciding human destiny. Who do you think you are to meddle in the destiny of others?
Nothing but a Wisp of Fog
13-15 And now I have a word for you who brashly announce, “Today—at the latest, tomorrow—we’re off to such and such a city for the year. We’re going to start a business and make a lot of money.” You don’t know the first thing about tomorrow. You’re nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing. Instead, make it a habit to say, “If the Master wills it and we’re still alive, we’ll do this or that.”
16-17 As it is, you are full of your grandiose selves. All such vaunting self-importance is evil. In fact, if you know the right thing to do and don’t do it, that, for you, is evil.
I seriously pray all these words of James over me, my family and friends who love you. Continue to transform my mind, fill my soul and tenderize my heart for you.
In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen