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Push…Pull

James 4:7-8 Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.

I have never been a good student with some subjects. Math that includes names like Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Calculus, etc –I find them to be mysteries and until they are applicable to my life I am willing to let them be the expertise of someone else.… Science, though interesting, makes me have to remember too many foreign sounding words, and now that I’m approaching my retiring years I find I’m less than interested in speaking in Latin just to understand and describe the natural world around me.

Yet, any of these subjects can be pulled into understanding when you them bring down to everyday language and practical applications that any modern person can understand… Consider Einstein’s Theory of Relativity (E=MC2), or even Isaac Newton Three Laws of Motion. How long did it take these men in study and experimentation to come up with these formulas and statements? A life time of deep thought, analysis, experimentation and statement! Yet they are summarized all over the place for us to understand in somewhat simple English.

For example, Newton’s laws describe the relationship between the forces acting on a body and its motion in direct relationship to those forces.

  1. First Law: Every body remains in a state of rest or uniform motion unless it is acted upon by an external unbalanced force.  This means that a body either remains at rest, or moves at a constant speed in a straight line.
  2. Second Law: A body of mass subjected to a force undergoes an acceleration that has the same direction as the force and a magnitude that is directly proportional to the force and inversely proportional to the mass.
  3. Third Law: The mutual forces of action and reaction between two bodies are equal, opposite and collinear. This means that whenever a first body exerts a force on a second body, the second body exerts a force on the first body. These forces are equal in magnitude and opposite in direction. This law is sometimes referred to as the action-reaction law.

These laws of motion were first compiled by Sir Isaac Newton in his work Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, first published on July 5, 1687! Newton used them to explain and investigate the motion of many physical objects and systems.

If these “laws” that have been discovered and documented by mankind are true, then they come from God’s ordered universe and He Knows All About Them!

Within in God’s realm, He gives us scriptures to use to learn how these laws apply, long before Newton and they apply even today!

James 4:7 – Resist the Devil – And he will flee from you.

Consider how Newton’s Third Law applies. When you “resist” or push away the Devil, there is an opposite and equal reaction to force applied. Resist him slightly and he will only slightly be moved. Resist him greatly and he moves greatly and his resistance to your force is futile. 1 John 4:4 says “Greater is He that is in You, than he that is in the world.” You have a strength on your side that helps you to resist even more greatly. Greater than the force that can be applied against you!

But what about this “opposite” reaction that occurs when you resist? When you “push” there is an equal and opposite reaction to your force that moves you in the opposite direction. If the Devil is fleeing from you, and if you are moving in that opposite direction, then where are you going? Perhaps it’s answered in the next verse of James.

James 4:8 – Draw to God – And He will draw to you.

If my resistance to the Devil causes me to also move in the opposite reaction of the push, the opposite of Evil is Good, the opposite of the Devil is God.  (Notice that from Evil we add a letter and get Devil…) When I push, my opposite momentum has me moving into the direction of God. Turn your attention to God and begin to “draw” Him into your  life and the reaction of your “draw” is that He will “draw” (or be drawn) to you…

Each Resistant Act in our lives propels us into another direction. So, if you Resist God, there’s really only one way you can go! Look at the life of Jonah to see this in operation. He resisted the plan of God, ran as far away as he could, and ended up in an situation that he would not be able to get out on his own. He then turned (began to drawn) to God, and God was drawn to Him – with the only solution that would work!

Let me give you some scriptures from Jesus and see if you can apply some of the same logic from above and determine if they apply.

  • Luke 6:37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
  • Luke 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
  • Luke 6:41-42 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?  Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.
  • Luke 6:45 –   A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

Take it to who we are today in comparison to the Apostles of old … Could we not be like the apostles of old and let that Spirit within us work to produce results that are immeasurable?

  • When men of faith respond to the Gospel, they turned the world upside down in their zeal. (Act_17:6-8)
  • Jesus strides into our life and commands:  “Follow me!”  You may be a tax collector.  You may be a fisherman.  It matters not –  what happens? You become fishers of Men!
  • His is a trumpet call, a battle cry.  “If any man come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me (Mat_16:24).”

This is no rocking chair religion, no come-in-and-take-it-easy religion.  This is not an escape from life. That Spirit within us is a Revolutionary experience!

Take some time and read some of James’ writing from the translation “The Message”.

The Message – James 4:1-12

1–2 Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves. You lust for what you don’t have and are willing to kill to get it. You want what isn’t yours and will risk violence to get your hands on it.

2–3 You wouldn’t think of just asking God for it, would you? And why not? Because you know you’d be asking for what you have no right to. You’re spoiled children, each wanting your own way.

4–6 You’re cheating on God. If all you want is your own way, flirting with the world every chance you get, you end up enemies of God and his way. And do you suppose God doesn’t care? The proverb has it that “he’s a fiercely jealous lover.” And what he gives in love is far better than anything else you’ll find. It’s common knowledge that “God goes against the willful proud; God gives grace to the willing humble.”

7–10 So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.

11–12 Don’t bad-mouth each other, friends. It’s God’s Word, his Message, his Royal Rule, that takes a beating in that kind of talk. You’re supposed to be honoring the Message, not writing graffiti all over it. God is in charge of deciding human destiny. Who do you think you are to meddle in the destiny of others?

Be blessed in this life you are living and live it for God and not self. (Thanks Lyn!)


Peterson, E. H. (2002). The Message : The Bible in contemporary language (Jas 4:1–12). Colorado Springs, Colo.: NavPress.