Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4:7-8)
Archimandrite Aimilianos commenting on Psalm 38 notes that to submit to God or to serve God, one has to learn to focus not on one’s self but to focus on God. We resist the devil not by focusing on him nor by looking out for one’s self, but only by focusing on God. Draw near to God, He will draw near to you and He will heal your soul.
“David’s heart is open to God, and thus he is not focused on himself. Someone who doesn’t understand this psalm might read it and shed tears for himself, for his problems, for his frustrated desires, his difficulties, his miseries. But that’s what happens when you concentrate too much on your self. David, however, is a spiritual man, and self-pity is not the same thing as spirituality.
The soul, in its agonizing search for God, passes through many stages, looking for God in places of darkness and light, places in which God is hidden and revealed. These stages are evident in Psalm 38, which is the story of every soul that knows itself to be God’s creation, something that God has fashioned with his own hands, for we are indeed his offspring (Acts 17:28). . . . To find the cure, you have to understand the sickness in your soul, and so turn to God, Who is life, and health, and holiness.” (PSALMS AND THE LIFE OF FAITH, p 217)