So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
Read: Ezekiel 40:28-41:26, James 4:1-17, Psalm 118:19-29, Proverbs 28:3-5
Relate: Eli Sunday is a great preacher, but not a good pastor. He can stir up the crowd. He is very charismatic. He is good with people, but he also is proud. His primary concern is for his own aggrandizement and to have a bigger and better church. Humility is something that does not appear on his radar.
Daniel Plainview is a cutthroat businessman. He is an oilman whose desire is to get richer. He will step on whoever he needs to in his climb up the ladder of success. Daniel wants some of Eli’s land. Eli wants to sell it to help finance his growing church. The problem is that these two men, both alpha dogs, have been squaring off for as long as anyone can remember. The town isn’t big enough for both their egos. Eli finally approaches Daniel with an offer to sell. Daniel agrees on one condition. He want’s to hear nine words first. Temptation is staring Eli straight in the face.
React: When faced with temptation, Eli failed. The fact is, he never had a chance. Ultimately he was forced to submit, because he was not submitted to God. Ultimately he was brought to his knees, because he was not living on them. The worst part about it, it was all for nothing. He sacrificed what little integrity he had left for an empty promise. He sold his soul only to find out it had already been stolen from him.
When we are not submitted to God, we find ourselves in the same boat. We might think we have integrity, or holiness, but we have neither. Both are gifts from God and if we are not submitted, humbled before Him, then all we have are empty promises. Legalism. We may think we are resisting the devil but he ain’t runnin. The devil is stronger than us and will always win in a one-on-one fight, but we have a big brother who has been lifting the weights of the world. We have a daddy who owns this town (and then some). We have a Spirit that cannot be quenched. The devil sees them in us and guess what… he’s gonna run.
Dear God, keep me humble. Help me not to strive for myself but to always live for You. Help me to resist, but first help me to surrender.