We submit ourselves to God, deferring to His rule and provision. We resist the devil, standing against his temptations, deceptions, accusations, and ambitions. We draw near to God, with the promise that He will be with us and for us as our fortress, shield, and strength (Ps. 18:1-3). We cleanse our hands and purify our hearts from double-mindedness, repentant of our waywardness and confident of victory in Christ, through which Satan is disarmed, defeated, and repelled.
God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6, ESV)
Underlying James counsel to us is awareness of the kingdom of God. True faith, saving faith is a hallmark of those who by God’s grace have bowed the knee to Jesus Christ. Paul describes the work of God through His Son: “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:13–14).
Our allegiance, behavior, outlook, and goals are all to be defined by our participation in this redemptive kingdom. One of the challenges we encounter, however, is that while we are no longer of this world, we continue in it. It is with this in mind that our Lord Jesus prayed: “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one” (John 17:15).
James and every other New Testament writer operate with this worldview in mind, that while we are in this world, we experience opposition from the evil one and his demonic minions. When James contrasted demonic, earthly wisdom with that which is from above (3:15-17), he envisioned not simply different ways of doing things but contending with Satan as an active agent seeking to pit us against Christ and His kingdom.