Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7 NIV).
Resist! Learning to resist the devil is the key to victory in spiritual warfare. God’s Word is fundamental in our fight, and it’s crucial that we pray. But James won’t let us forget us that we can’t beat the devil unless we resist.
According to Webster, to resist is defined as “to exert force in opposition.” Spiritual victory requires spiritual muscle. James coaches us to take a forceful stand against temptation, while asserting our wills to obey. Nowhere is this twin admonition more clear than in today’s “watchword” for meditation, James 4:7:
So place yourselves under God’s authority. Resist the devil, and he will run away from you. (GOD’S WORD Translation)
The Bible carefully outlines the spiritual nature of our battle. We’re told to be alert to the devil’s schemes and take up our weapons of war. James points out that we can’t resist the devil without first submitting our wills to God.
I especially like the GOD’S WORD Translation wording: “Place yourselves under God’s authority…” Authority. Not popular in some circles. But you can’t expect to experience the power of God’s Word in battle unless you’re under its authority.
Victory in the fray is directly related to submission to God’s authority. This, in turn, builds spiritual strength against the devil, or “resistance.” Much like strengthening the body to build resistance to disease.
Spiritual battles are won before the moment of temptation. If I spend time in God’s Word, am faithful in prayer, and attentive to “temple upkeep,” I am strengthening my “resistance.”
Physical resistance training involves pushing against a source of resistance, such as a weight, to increase one’s strength. Spiritual resistance is the same. Spend time today meditating on the simple but powerful truth in James 4:7.
Are you willing to place yourself under God’s authority? What steps can you take to build your spiritual “resistance?” And when the daily temptations come, remember to “exert force in opposition.” God’s promise is clear. If you do this, the devil will eventually flee from you. You may discover that the very attack that was designed to bring you down has actually made you stronger.
Lord, I am challenged by Your Word to be alert to the devil’s schemes. I am reminded that victory is won before the moment of trial. I submit to Your Word and commit to build my resistance on a daily basis. I trust You for the victory. -Amen.