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Thursday: Submission to God — 19 Comments

  1. When James said, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” did he really mean the arch enemy will decline to bother us if we just say no? Does scripture not also say the dragon fiercely pursues the remnant, who clearly resist his counterfeit commands and institutions (Revelation 12:17)?

    Before the serpent had its wings clipped in the Garden of Eden mankind was in submission to God. This did not stop Satan from approaching Eve near the forbidden tree. Apparently though his territory was limited. He worked around the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Had Eve not separated from Adam and wandered very close to the prohibited tree as to gaze on it Satan would not have had the kind of access he did.

    God marks out boundaries for His people and cautions them about overstepping. This first tests our submission (loyalty) to Him. It also determines the level of protection we might expect in our encounter with the devil. We cannot live as we please and expect maximum protection.

    One way to resist the devil is to shun those things the saints are counseled to avoid, particularly in lifestyle (1 Thessalonians 5:22). By this Satan is kept at a distance as far as temptation is concerned. Though he does not flee on his own volition he is forced away as he is disarmed of his weapon of deception. He is then only left with force which he uses against the faithful remnant for a season.

    Another way the devil flees is when the faithful allow the Holy Spirit to work in them to resist his charms. As they gain strength in one area of temptation the deceiver has one less point on which he may hope to overcome the saints. His influence declines and therefore in a sense he flees.

    As you might have heard, “each victory will help you some other to win.”

    • But I have a question: Where it says here, "Before the seprent had its wings clipped..." Is this a symbolic statement here about the serpent and its wings? I know that EGW is supposed to have indicated somewhere that in the Garden of Eden the serpent had wings. Yet there is nothing in scripture that indicates this as being a fact.

      I heard a Bible Teacher once try to prove this as being a fact by indicating that because the serpent spoke to Eve from on top of the forbidden tree that it had to have flown there because it had wings. Yet, I have seen snakes in nature videos, slither up a tree trunk to get to the top of a tree.

      • Hi I think the message here is the restriction placed on the devil. God loves us so much that he cannot stand the sight of the evil one destroying us with his lies. When you read about Job and his encounter with temptations from the devil, you will realize that, the devil first went to God to ask for permission to do what he did to Job, but yet again there was the restriction; he (satan) could not take the life of Job. I hope this help better explain things.

      • Pete,
        Thanks for your query. To your specific question EGW made the following statement in Patriarchs and Prophets p. 53.4,

        "In order to accomplish his work unperceived, Satan chose to employ as his medium the serpent—a disguise well adapted for his purpose of deception. The serpent was then one of the wisest and most beautiful creatures on the earth. It had wings, and while flying through the air presented an appearance of dazzling brightness, having the color and brilliancy of burnished gold. Resting in the rich-laden branches of the forbidden tree and regaling itself with the delicious fruit, it was an object to arrest the attention and delight the eye of the beholder. Thus in the garden of peace lurked the destroyer, watching for his prey."

        While scripture does not give all these details there are some clues. Genesis 3:1 indicate the serpent had advantages over other creatures, and that Satan used it suggests it possessed characteristics which made it a good cover for deception, including being attractive.

        Genesis 3:14 further tells us the serpent was cursed above other beasts of the field and reduced to moving on its belly. All of God's earthly creation suffered loss as a result of sin. However the serpent lost more than others. Clearly previously it had a better means of mobility, at least limbs, but likely wings (based on the aforementioned).

        The Creator's actions were deliberate, literal and held symbolic value. By what He said and did God made statements that would draw attention to Eden throughout Earth's history. Both mankind and angels would take note, and not easily forget. Especially resounding would be Genesis 3:15; for it told of a Savior who would reverse the course of the human race.

        Hopefully this helps even a little.

        • Hugh, thanks for your explanation "On your belly you shall go" that's a curse to the serpent, that really somehow clarifies the story of a flying serpent, the common assumption is that the serpent was originally moving on its feet, which is not mentioned in the verse either hence the winged serpent might have been legged and winged as well, therefore explaining how severe was the punishment to the serpent, symbolic as well, as the devil has been reduced to act in a crawling manner towards those who are in Christ.

        • Hugh, thanks for this info. about Patriarchs and Prophets having the statement about wings on the serpent at the Garden of Eden.

          I used to be one of those that accepted anything written by EGW as being equal or even greater than scripture until I found a quote from her that we are to guide ourselves by Bible and Bible only.

          Since then I have encountered many things written by her that I have since chosen to set aside as being her own opinion and not necessarily something that is Biblically supported. I see now this idea of the sepent having wings as being one of those items.

          I have also encountered items of hers where she will say one thing and a few sentences before or after says something that totally contradicts it, for example: In 1T p. 367 she indicates that the peacocks form and call were "anything but attractive," and yet a sentence before that she refers to its "gorgeous feathers."

          This does not make me reject all of her writings of course. Her writings have been a blessing to me. I have just chosen to be more of a Bible and Bible only Christian including things that come from her writings. I do not try anymore to explain scripture to prove her writings as being correct but rather make the Bible alone to speak for itself via God's Holy Spirit.

          Again, thank you for giving me the books name where EGW's statement of the serpent having wings is found.

          • Pete, is it possible that you have gone from one extreme to another - from elevating the writings of Ellen White above the Scriptures to damning her for a word?

            Since you don't give any other examples, I will just use your "peacock" example which you say is found in 1 Testimonies to the Church, p. 367, but I couldn't find a mention of a peacock there. However, I found this on the previous page:

            Some have been so unfortunate as to come into possession of gold chains or pins, or both, and have shown bad taste in exhibiting them, making them conspicuous to attract attention. I can but associate these characters with the vain peacock, that displays his gorgeous feathers for admiration. It is all this poor bird has to attract attention, for his voice and form are anything but attractive. (1 Testimonies to the Church, p. 366 )

            Let the reader judge whether or not there is a contradiction in the passage.

            It seems to me that you may be still attempting to interpret the Bible and the writings of Ellen White on the basis of individual words and phrases. Such an approach has led to the rejection of not just the writings of Ellen White but also to the writings of the Bible, because it is not difficult to find passages of contradiction in the Bible. (I will not mention them here lest they constitute stumbling blocks to some.)

            The understanding that God inspired the thoughts of the prophets and not their words is extremely important, in my view. These thoughts are found in their overall message, not in individual words and phrases. Prophets were human like the rest of us. And their writings are a blending of the human and the divine. Thus the Bible itself is a blending of the human and divine, just as the Man Christ Jesus was both human and divine. The difference is that Christ had no flaw even in His humanity.

            As for Ellen White, she wrote a great many things for which she claimed no inspiration, and those who wish to fault her seem to make no difference between her inspired messages and her ordinary human writing, as in letters and diaries. The Bible tells us that God gave prophets as a "gift" to His church, and I thank God for His gift in the person of Ellen White.

            Here is the quotation to which Hugh referred:

            In order to accomplish his work unperceived, Satan chose to employ as his medium the serpent—a disguise well adapted for his purpose of deception. The serpent was then one of the wisest and most beautiful creatures on the earth. It had wings, and while flying through the air presented an appearance of dazzling brightness, having the color and brilliancy of burnished gold. Resting in the rich-laden branches of the forbidden tree and regaling itself with the delicious fruit, it was an object to arrest the attention and delight the eye of the beholder. Thus in the garden of peace lurked the destroyer, watching for his prey. (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 53)

            You don't have to believe that the serpent originally had the appearance of "burnished gold" with beautiful wings, but do you have a better explanation of how the curse affected the serpent? How did the serpent get around before this time? Would an explanation of having 6 legs make more sense than the explanation that it used to have wings? (I'm suggesting that before rejecting one explanation, it would be wise to have a better one. 😉 )

        • Pete,
          To expand a little on the symbolism of the cursing of the serpent: One might wonder why God would curse an innocent creature which was possessed by a more powerful being?

          To begin it is the Creator's prerogative to give and to take as Job noted (Job 1:20, 21), and although he sometimes offers one God does not owe us an explanation for everything He does. This is sometimes hard for us, but we are called to implicit trust in the Almighty.

          Then there is the lesson that we cannot place ourselves wherever we like (do as one pleases), fall to temptation and simply blame the devil, expecting to escape punishment.

          Lastly the fall of the Serpent from a glorious position (flying through the air in brightness and possessing superior abilities to other beasts) to a crawling position is representative of the great fall of Lucifer from his lofty position in God's presence to a place of confinement on the Earth. The fall was physical, intellectual, social and spiritual. Further from its position on the ground the serpent could easily bruise the heel of mankind (a small wound). The seed of mankind (Jesus) would be represented in a position over the serpent as to crush its head (a fatal blow) (Genesis 3:15).

          Here we have a picture of hope rising out of despair.

          The details are not to be ignored for they teach us valuable lessons and communicate truth.

  2. By submitting to God, we must draw closer to Him daily in our lives. Here are five suggestions that can allow us draw nearer to God;
    1. Give yourself humbly to God (James4:7)
    -Realize that you need His forgiveness, and willing to follow Him
    2.Resist the devil. Don't allow satan to entice and attempt you.
    3.Wash your hands, lead a pure life and let your heart be filled with God
    4.Let there be tears, sorrow and sincere grief for your sins. Don't be afraid to express deep heartfelt sorrow for them.
    5.Realize your worthlessness (James 4:10).Humble yourself before God and He will lift you up.

  3. God has always wanted humanity to be transformed to the similitude of character. Humility has been His attribute and that's why the book of James constantly reminds us to humbly submit to Him. From eternity past, since the onset of great controversy in heaven, we see Satan wanting to ascend the throne of God due to pride, remember (Isaiah 14:12-15;Eze 28:12-19)these books give a true copy of Satan's attributes that are diametrically opposite to God's character.

    We're living in a postmodern time where Satan has made a total onslaught on the Creator's character and If you can make a cryptic analysis of the books mentioned above, you'll notice that most of the Christians have fallen short of submission to God by the following:
    1.Earthly wisdom
    2.Beauty and fashion
    3.Business /trade
    The book of James is more of practical than theological, and, for the mentioned above items, we are miles away from humility of God. God hates the proud but delights in the humble

  4. In so doing I am in obedience of His will. Christ complied to His Father's will "I must be about my Father's business" "And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" Luke 2:49.
    I don't like being subordinate. However in being submissive to God I bow down to worship Him, and knell at His feet. For He is my God, I am His son, the lamb of his hand. Psalms 95:6,7.

  5. James 4:8 "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse [your] hands, [ye] sinners; and purify [your] hearts, [ye] double minded.".......Example; Pursue an intimate love relationship with God (Phil. 3:10).....Salvation involves more than submitting to God and resisting the devil; the redeemed heart longs for communion with God (Psalms 27:8; 42:1-2; 63:1-2; 84:2; 143:6; Matt. 22:37).....Cleansing of the hands means the work you put your hands to must be clean, as well as your heart being pure, stayed upon God. When we make a step toward God, we will find that He has been there to help us all along. He just wanted us to reach out to Him....

    James 4:9 "Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and [your] joy to heaviness."

    Example; To be a sinner and to be truly sorry for the sin means a grieving, a mourning, and even crying for forgiveness. The new life that true repentance brings is not a life of worldly pleasures, but of Godly joy.

    James 4:10 "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up."

    Example; When we are down, as far as we can go, we look up and see Jesus who gave His body on the cross that we might be lifted up. He will lift us up from the depths of despair.

  6. Submit yourself to God, humble yourself before God.

    I think that these two statements are the biggest stumbling blocks for us humans.

    Submit: this means we submit our will to His will, as in the Lord's prayer, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven.
    It means the LORD determines the standards, the rules, the laws by which we live.

    This is the most difficult part of the Salvation Plan for us humans, we are happy to be loved and provided for and protected by the LORD but the sticking point is when He tells us how to live.

    Then we are also told to be humble, that is even harder, we all like to receive praise.

    So what is the solution? The solution is why do we follow Jesus?

    This is why I follow Jesus:
    I follow Jesus not from fear of punishment nor from hope of reward but because of who He is, because of His character, because He loves me, because of His worldview, because of His wisdom, because of His divine power I am drawn to Him and want to be with Him and to be like Him.

    So because these are the reasons why I follow Jesus I want Him to guide and lead me in every aspect of my life because I believe He wants me to be happy and I trust that He knows what is best for me.

  7. Since Satan is not omnipresent, he may be on the other side of the world, far from the ability to tempt me. My temptation rather comes from "getting too close" to those things that would tempt the carnal man in me.
    Joseph fled temptation from Potiphar's wife. It was not Satan, necessarily tempting him, but his own carnal man. He resisted by fleeing. Maybe we should flee the devil. I believe that most of my temptation comes when I put myself in places and situations where things are given opportunity to appeal to my carnal nature.

    • Yes, Satan can't be tempting everyone at the same time. But how about his angels (little devils) that can follow us around 24 hours? And watch out because it can be legions of them!

    • Eddie, I would say this to you. Do you know how many demons are in the control of Satan? I've heard the number is bigger than the population of the world. I've heard numbers as large as 14 billion and that's from works inspired, I believe, by Satan himself. That's from things "channeled" by a man who writes under the pseudonym Cryon. He is a well respected writer of the New Age movement.

      the truth of the matter is though I have enough temptation in my own head that I don't need him to tempt me sometimes.

  8. Inge Anderson;

    I guess that you somehow were able to make sure that I could not directly respond to your comment to me about not being able to find a mention of the "peackock," on page 367 of Volume 1 of the Testimonies to the Church. Yet when I clicked that link which was on your comment to me, it took me right to it and the "peackock," is mentioned there. So you just somehow missed it. But anyway, where you quote the one on page 366 is very clear her mention of the peackocks', "georgeous feathers," and her contradicting words are there too about the peacocks', "voice and form," being "anything but attractive."

    As to your inferrence of the possibility of me going to the opposite extreme and being in danger of rejecting her writings and also the writings of the Bible: Jesus' promise of His Holy Spirit guiding us into ALL TRUTH I beleive will keep me in the path of this blessing always. Thank you for your concern anyway, Inge Anderson.

  9. Remember on the sanctuary the priest will then take a tray with spices in it to the altar of incense to burn them,now not even a single spice will be allowed to fall down,what that means is GOD listens to every prayer brothers this is why I love him


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