Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7 NRSV
You've likely heard of Robert Craig (Evel) Knievel, the famed stuntman who jumped everything from crates of rattlesnakes and Greyhound buses to the Snake River Canyon on a motorcycle. He constantly pushed the boundaries of the possible, accepting the dangers that came with the feat. Unfortunately, not all of the more than 300 jumps were successful. After one jump at Caesars Palace, he spent over a month in a coma. He also suffered more than 433 bone fractures during his lifetime.
While few, if any, of us would mount a motorcycle and attempt jumping 16 cars, we may be less cautious with our souls. In James 4:1-10, the author warns us of the dangers of getting too comfortable with the world. Though we know the risks, we maintain a flirtatious relationship with the world that can lead to sin. Like Knievel, the thrill of that first small jump leads to the desire for bigger jumps and more considerable risks. But the problem is we are gambling with more than our physical bodies, but threats to our souls.
The solution is to distance ourselves from the world and submit fully and humbly to God. In this act, we are given the strength to resist evil and maintain the health of our souls. This caution does not mean we are to lead a monastic existence. On the contrary, as Christ's followers, we are sent into the world to spread the gospel and make new disciples. The caution lies in maintaining the safety of our souls and being the influencers instead of the influenced.
God, thank you for all your goodness to us. Forgive us our sins, those we have committed willingly and unwillingly. We ask for your protection of our souls. Grant us the courage and strength to resist evil, and give us the boldness to share the good news with others today. In Christ Jesus, we pray. Amen.