Studying the Bible takes many forms; almost as many forms as there are people studying. When I study the Word of God, I want to see as many translations as possible, knowing that many of those “translations” are actually paraphrases, but I still like to see them. I use lexicons like Strong’s and Young’s to get as accurate as possible regarding each word. I followed this process as I looked at James 4:7 this week. This scripture in the King James Version says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” The majority of the translations I found use the same words: submit, resist and flee. The Young’s Literal translation says, “be subject, then, to God; stand up against the devil, and he will flee from you;”. The interesting difference in this translation is the “stand up against” part.
In my mind, “stand up against” is much more active than “resist”. This could just be my word bias, but I picture a person in a defensive posture, arms outstretched holding off an attacker face strained with effort and eyes closed when I hear “resist”. “Stand up against” is a more aggressive posture. I see a person with feet planted, leaning forward, head up, chin out, gaze forward and fists clenched. This person sees the challenge and is ready to meet and defeat it. Everything about them screams confidence.
From the devil’s perspective, it seems more logical that he would “flee” (run away as from danger – Dictionary.com) from someone in the more aggressive posture, standing up to him and his lies rather than someone just trying to hold him off. I realize that this word study is totally subjective, but doing these types of exercises helps me to correct my spiritual posture. It also helps my attitude to match the instructions in the Word. I hear and receive and believe and accept the Word of God. And I must DO what it says for there to be any results. In order for me to DO James 4:7, I have to be firm in my understanding of my authority and be quick to enforce it. I do that by correcting any adverse circumstance with the Word. If I feel a tickle in my throat, I don’t ignore it and just medicate it. I speak to it, like I would if I had to “stand up to” a bully. I speak the scriptures that guarantee my position and I tell the tickle (in this example) that it cannot stay.
James 1:22 tells us that knowing the Word of God is a vital thing when successfully living a Godly life, but it is not the only thing. Acting on the Word that we know completes the circuit for Godly results and a life that points to Jesus.