Establishing Your Freedom in Christ
James reveals the ongoing battle that we have with the flesh (James 4:1-3), the world (vss. 4-6), and the devil (vs. 7). To resolve these personal and spiritual conflicts we need to draw near to God and repent of our old ways. If we try to resist the devil without first submitting to God we will be attempting to set ourselves free by our own strength and resources. In the flesh, we are no match for Satan. On the other hand we can submit to God and not resist the devil and stay in bondage. The critical issue is our relationship with God and the following seven issues need to be resolved in order to live a free and productive life in Christ.
1. God said in Leviticus 20:6 that He would cut off from His people any who consulted mediums and spiritists. Those who have been falsely guided by and/or made some commitment to any cult or occult teaching must specifically renounce that teaching and any pledges or vows they have made. We cannot draw near to God and stay attached to spiritual counterfeits.
2. We must recognize the ways that we have been deceived and choose the truth that will set us free. False prophets and teachers can deceive us, we can pay attention to deceiving spirits, and we can deceive ourselves. To get out of denial, we must face the truth about our own sinful condition, and learn how to overcome old flesh patterns, mental strongholds, and defense mechanisms. The finished work of Christ is our defense.
3. We must forgive others from our hearts. Nothing will keep us more bound to the past than an unwillingness to forgive, and Satan will take advantage of it (2 Corinthians 2:10-11). God, himself, will turn us over to the tormentors if we refuse to forgive as we have been forgiven (Matthew 18:21-35).
4. We must humble ourselves before God, because He is opposed to the proud (vs.6). Humility is confidence properly placed in God. The truly humble believer worships God and puts no confidence in the flesh (Philippians 3:3). The proud cannot draw near to God.
5. We must be submissive to governing authorities (Romans 13:1-5). We cannot submit to God and rebel against the authority that He has established.
6. We must confess all known sins and renounce any use of our bodies as instruments of unrighteousness. The latter allows sin to reign in our mortal bodies (Romans 6:11-13). Then we must submit our bodies to God as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1).
7. We must renounce the sins and iniquities of our ancestors that have been passed on from one generation to the next and take our place in Christ (Exodus 20:5).
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