12/20/16 Resistance

READING: James 1-5

How do we overcome the devil who constantly seeks to ensnare us in his trap? James answers that question for us in his short book: “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). This process is so simple that we often lose spiritual battles because we make it far too complicated.

First and foremost, we must submit to God. Submission is much more than just belief, however, as “even the demons believe that [that there is one God] – and shudder” (James 2:19). Instead, it’s believing that results in changed lives, just as we learned in yesterday’s devotion; faith alone, “if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:17). Submission is also trusting God during times of great trial, believing that He is working the trial for our good and for His glory (James 1:2). We must run to Him for wisdom in trial rather than trusting our own wisdom, which can sometimes find its origin in the demonic (James 3:15). Frankly, we too often lose to the devil not because he’s so powerful, but because we’re not fully submitted to God in the first place.

Second, we resist the devil by recognizing the process of temptation. It’s easy to blame the devil for our failures, but James reminds us that we’re our biggest enemy. Yes, the devil tempts us, but we give in because of our evil desires (James 1:14). The enemy finds willing targets when he aims at us, and our desires result in sin. Resisting the enemy, then, means rejecting our own desires and asking God to change them in sanctification.

Resist the devil, James says, and he will flee from us. He will indeed depart, though not for a long time. Just as he tempted Jesus and then left him only until a more opportune time (Luke 4:13), the enemy has no intent to stay away. That truth means that today’s victory is no guarantee of tomorrow’s ease. More likely, the sly one will look for other open doors, always waiting for the opportunity to devour us.

Submitting to God and resisting the devil are not one-time events. We submit and resist moment-by-moment, hour-by-hour, and day-by-day.  Then, many days of submitting to God and resisting the devil result in a life of victory. Start this process in your life right now. 

ACTION STEPS: 

  • Decide how submitted you are to God. If you don’t truly follow Him as the Lord of your life, don’t be surprised if the devil often wins.  
  • Think about the sins that create the greatest struggles for you, and evaluate the process that leads you to give in to temptation. Where are you when temptation occurs? When does it happen? Are others involved? What are your evil desires? Evaluate, and then repent.   

PRAYER: “God, I want my faith to be clear in my actions. I submit my life to you right now, and I choose to resist the devil.” 

TOMORROW’S READING: 1 Peter 1-5