Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7 KJV)
The Lord’s instruction to resist the devil is surprising and perplexing. This devotional will teach you the nitty-gritty of this simple instruction. We will discuss what it means to resist the devil, how to do it, and what happens if we do not resist.
Resisting the devil means actively opposing him. But to actively oppose someone, you must identify them. How many of you have ever seen the devil? I have never seen him, and probably 99.9% of you reading this devotional have not and will never see him in person. Just as God is spirit, the devil is a spirit being—a disembodied, invisible being with intelligence. Therefore, we must begin by discarding any thought of direct physical conflict with the devil.
If direct combat with the devil is not in view here, how then do we resist this invisible yet intelligent spirit being? Besides the cases of overt demonic oppression or possession, Satan comes to human beings through ordinary life circumstances. Job’s story is a classic example of the devil’s attack. How did Satan come to Job after God permitted him to do so? Did he walk into Job’s house to pick a spiritual fight with him? No! Instead, Job suddenly heard that his sheep and cattle were stolen and his servants were killed. Later, he heard that a strange wind blasted upon his children’s house, and all of them were killed. I am sure the Meteorologists in Job’s day would have explained the wind and given it a name. Later, Job developed boils all over his body. But in all these, it was Satan coming to Job in the disasters.
To successfully resist the devil, we must be able to identify him when he comes in the ways he comes. Besides, things become more complicated because not every natural calamity or disaster is Satanic. Since Satan typically comes under cover of natural events, it will take discernment to see through. For example, when Peter rebuked Jesus for thinking about dying on the cross, Jesus saw through and knew Peter’s words were not from a caring disciple but an evil enemy, Satan himself. Had Jesus become upset with Peter for being so unspiritual, He would have fought the wrong enemy—innocent Peter!
Furthermore, imagine Job seeking medical care from the best doctors of his time, like graduates from Harvard Medical school. Do you think they would have cured his boils? So, knowing when things are natural and when they are not is critical; unfortunately, it cannot be taught in class as many would prefer. We must be sensitive and yielding to the Spirit to know.
Besides the dilemma of discerning the devil, there is the problem of passive compliance. Resisting implies that it will stay if we do not actively oppose it. In some respects, our failure to resist is a green traffic light to the enemy and passive complicity. But to actively resist, we must know God’s will and discern the enemy in our lives. I want you to imagine the catastrophe if Satan attacks us and we mistakenly accept it as God’s will for us. Sadly, this occurs to us as believers more often than we realize. No true child of God will actively oppose God’s will intentionally. So if Satan can come as God, he will smash us to pieces because all our defenses will be down. Can you now see why Satan disguises himself as an angel of light?
Resisting the devil means that whatever we do not actively oppose will make itself comfortable in our lives and families. Such resistance requires the mentality of a soldier defending their territory. And the Lord calls us soldiers in Christ. Do not pray once for a challenge and conclude that it is God’s will because nothing happened when you prayed. Devote yourself to do all it takes, and continue doing it until Satan leaves you. Satan hates Christians that stand their ground and do not easily give in to his gimmicks.
How do we resist the devil? By submitting to God and then using all the weapons of our warfare, especially the shield of faith, to defend ourselves and attack him with the sword of the Spirit.
Have you ever resisted the devil? Please review your life in light of what has been discussed above.
Apply the Word
If it is not God’s will, reject it and do so actively. Let the soldier in you come forth. Fight the good fight of faith.
Ask the Father to help you know His will, discern the devil, and resist his works until he flees from us.