7Surrender to God! Resist the devil, and he will run from you. 8Come near to God, and he will come near to you. Clean up your lives, you sinners. Purify your hearts, you people who can't make up your mind. 9Be sad and sorry and weep. Stop laughing and start crying. Be gloomy instead of glad. 10Be humble in the Lord's presence, and he will honor you.
Saying Cruel Things
11My friends, don't say cruel things about others! If you do, or if you condemn others, you are condemning God's Law. And if you condemn the Law, you put yourself above the Law and refuse to obey either it 12or God who gave it. God is our judge, and he can save or destroy us. What right do you have to condemn anyone?
When reading this section of James we are often captured by the instruction to ‘resist the devil’ yet the verse begins by reminding us first to submit ourselves to God.
The only way that you and I have a chance of resisting the temptations and attacks of the Evil One is through the strength that comes from God. He is the one who tells us “My kindness is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Yet we often ignore his strength that he makes available to us.
David, the one who faced off against Goliath without Saul’s armour and nothing but a slingshot, declared “You, Lord, are the light that keeps me safe. I am not afraid of anyone. You protect me, and I have no fears” (Psalm 27:1).
In order for us to live out our days we need strength to stay on course. There are evil forces preventing us from following the perfect path God has for us.
If the words we speak are to be centered in the will of Christ – even when we are speaking to other believers – we need his strength. When we are weak, we stumble and often begin judging others. David also prayed to God about this. “Let my words and my thoughts be pleasing to you, Lord, because you are my mighty rock and my protector” (Psalm 19:14).
If we pray and ask Jesus for the strength to endure whatever we are facing, remember we HAVE the strength. The wisdom here is to ask for the strength as soon as the temptation comes to us rather than letting it get away on us.
If we humble ourselves in the Lord’s presence, he promises to help see us through the challenge.
O Lord, my strength, I need your strength for daily responsibilities: Strength for staying on track with you; Strength for periodic battles; Strength for the weaknesses within me; Strength to control what I say; Strength to please you. You are my strength; I trust you!