Daily Devotionals

The Relationship Playbook: Week 4 - Monday

So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7

When followers of Christ give their lives to Him, our lives are no longer ours. Everything that we are, everything we hope to be, and everything that we have belong to Christ. The decisions we make are made for Him. The things we do are done for Him. We no longer think about ourselves anymore; we are living for Him. In the same way, Scripture teaches that in marriage, two lives are merged into one new life, but that purpose is not for each person's personal gain. It is still for the purpose of serving and honoring God. Because of this, for any marriage to be successful, each spouse must first submit to God and live out of reverence to Him.

In Ephesians 5, the apostle Paul begins a section of verses about marriage. Paul writes, "submit to one another out of reverence for Christ" (verse 21). By saying this, Paul tells readers that the way they treat each other should be built out of their own respect and reverence for Christ. In other words, Paul is telling readers that Christ is the center of every healthy relationship.

The apostle Paul is not the only one who talked about the importance of centering your lives around Christ. James wrote about this, too. In chapter four of James, he writes, "so humble [or submit] yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (verse 7). This is a call for every follower of Jesus. This means that He becomes the center of our lives rather than us. We live for Him, not ourselves. When this happens, our relationships, including our marriages, will be transformed because our priorities will have shifted from our own agendas to His.

When you consider your life, what is your focus? Are you living for yourself, or are you living in submission to God? Are you focused on what God wants or what you want? My friend, live for God. Submit to Him by allowing for His will and His plan for your life. After all, He knows what you need, and His plan is best.

Moving Toward Action

Spend some time journaling in your journal or notebook. Answer this question honestly: Is my life lived for God, or am I living for myself? If you find that you are still living for your own personal gain, ask the Lord to shift your mindset and perspective so that you are living for Him and Him alone.

Going Deeper

Read James 4:1-10 (NLT)

What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.

You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit he has placed within us should be faithful to him. And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say,

“God opposes the proud
    but gives grace to the humble.”

So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.