Thursday, 7 July 2022
Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. -James 4:7
Apostle James teaches us the practical outworking of our faith in every area of a believer’s life. Many of us may have you experienced temptations or worldly desires too overwhelming or too compelling to resist. Temptation is common to all men and Satan schemes it to target people at the lowest human frailty. While temptation in itself is not a sin, temptation lures fallen man into sin and the result of sin is death or eternal separation from God (James 1:14-15).
The first humans in the Garden of Eden fell into Satan’s deception aimed at three areas of life (Genesis 3:6):
Lust of the Flesh: Eve saw ‘that the tree was good for food’
Lust of the Eyes: ‘…that it was pleasant to the eyes…’
Pride of Life: ‘a tree desirable to make one wise…’
Jesus was tested by the devil in the very same aspects (Matthew 4:1-11) but where Adam and Eve failed, Jesus Christ withstood the enemy’s tactics and remained sinless. While tempted to give up the suffering and death on our behalf and receive a “cross-less” kingdom and glory, how did Jesus overcome Satan’s temptation? James 4:7 gives us the key to overcoming temptations: ‘Resist or stand firm against the devil and he will flee from you.’ How can you resist the devil? – By submitting to the authority of God.
The term ‘Resist the devil’ depicts a spiritual battle and James shows us the weapons of resistance that we need to use in this warfare. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.” (2 Corinthians 10:3)
Faith: Faith is absolute trust in God and being confident that He who has promised is faithful and able to accomplish His word. Faith in God and His Word is a vital weapon of resistance to Satan. True faith enables us to shun/reject worldliness and passing pleasures to pursue godliness.
Humility: As opposed to pride that rejects God, humility opens the way for God’s grace to flow into our broken lives. It is only in humility that we can receive God’s grace and His divine power to face and overcome every temptation. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, so that in due time He may exalt you. (1 Peter 5:6)
Prayer: Draw near to God and He will draw near to you (Vs 8). Prayer is a powerful weapon available to all believers. How should we approach the Lord in prayer? – With clean hands, confessing and forsaking all sin and unrighteousness and with a purity of heart and motives. “Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood and has not sworn deceitfully.” (Psalm 24:3-4) In purity of heart as we approach God, He leads us victoriously against the enemy’s schemes.
Sensitivity to the Holy Spirit: It is the Holy Spirit Who gives us godly wisdom to withstand and counter every deception of Satan. The Holy Spirit is our teacher, bringing to remembrance every promise of God (John 14:26) and revealing the truth of God’s words to us (John 16:13). We need to be constantly submissive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit to bring to light the lies of the enemy.
Bear in mind, if we do not resist the devil, we will be taken captive by him! Through His suffering, death and resurrection, Jesus Christ – our Lord and Savior has overcome and is victorious over Satan. In Him, every weapon for resistance is available to us to live a victorious Christian life.
To Act on: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. (Ephesians 6:10-11)