Only those who submit to God will be lifted up

Only those who submit to God will be lifted up – a sermon on James 4:7-10 by Rev. Colin Pretorius.

The theme of our verses in James is submission to God, or humility before God. When you read through the book of James, you cannot help but to be struck by its intensely practical nature. It is a book about the Christian journey on the highway of life. The first couple of verses we read earlier tell us about how our desires and passions create all sorts of issues in our lives. In verses 3-6 James spells out in detail how a follower of Jesus cannot serve God and also live in the way the world wants. Sure, we can have non-Christian friends, for how else are we going to minister to them. Yes, we can live amongst non-Christians, but friends, we cannot follow the non-Christian lifestyle of the world. Our lifestyle has to be the lifestyle that God wants. James wants to make sure that his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ understand this and that’s why in verses 7-10, he in a sense provides the antidote or the remedy against friendship with the world. In these four short verses he gives a list of ten very practical commands. Surrounding these commands are two almost identical commands – to submit to God and to humble ourselves before Him. And in-between these commands we find the eight others set out in three groups:[1]

  • Verses 7-8a tell us about commitment to God
  • Verse 8b tells us about commitment to holiness
  • Verse 9 tells us about commitment to repentance

These are the three aspects of submission that we’ll be looking at this morning, but before we look at them in more detail, we need to ask what we mean by submission and why it is important.


[1] I-Jin Loh and Howard Hatton, A Handbook on the Letter from James (UBS Handbook Series; New York: United Bible Societies, 1997), 148.