Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
Rooted in Christ

Power in Weakness

FAITH AT WORK: Devotions through the book of James

“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. 

James lays out tenets for our spiritual warfare. First, he has us to look to the God who is for us, who “gives more grace” (4:6; Greek “mega”). God is our sufficiency in the fray and He is lavish in dispensing the ability we need to stand up to the devil. Through a messenger of Satan God impressed upon Paul his weakness: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). 

It is on that reasoning that James says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (4:6). With that principle and promise in mind, James calls upon us to position ourselves firmly in reliance on our God. 

Notice the tactics James would have us take to humble ourselves before God in the face of spiritual opposition (4:7-8). 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. 

James leads us to spiritual warfare not by foolhardy bravado but by humble submission and reliance on our God, standing firm in Christ and the power of His might. James lays out what we can expect. “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you” (James 4:10). 

1. How is spiritual warfare conducted in weakness?

2. To what tactics does God call us for a strategy of humility? 

“Father, grant me grace to be strong in Christ, who alone binds the strongman.”

Stan Gale

Stanley D. Gale (MDiv Westminster, DMin Covenant) has pastored churches in Maryland and Pennsylvania for over 30 years. He is the author of several books, including A Vine-Ripened Life: Spiritual Fruitfulness through Abiding in Christ and The Christian’s Creed: Embracing the Apostolic Faith. He has been married to his wife, Linda, since 1975. They have four children and nine grandchildren. He lives in West Chester, Pa.
Books by Stan Gale

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