Submit yourselves to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7 NIV).

Learning how to resist the devil is the key to victory in spiritual warfare. God’s Word is fundamental in our fight.  It’s also crucial to pray.  But James reminds us that we can’t beat the devil unless we resist.

According to Webster, to resist is “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 clearer than in today’s verses:

So place yourselves under God’s authority. Resist the devil, and he will run away from you.  (James 4:7 GW).

The Bible describes 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 we can’t resist the devil without first submitting our wills to God.

I especially like the God’s Word Translation (GW) of this verse: “Place yourselves under God’s authority.”  Authority.  Not a popular word today.  But you can’t experience the power of God’s Word unless you’re under its authority.

Victory in our spiritual battles is directly related to our submission to God’s authority. This, in turn, builds resistance and spiritual strength against the devil.  Much like strengthening the body’s resistance to disease.

Spiritual battles are won before the moment of temptation.  When I spend time in God’s Word and remain faithful in prayer,  I strengthen my resistance.

Physical resistance training involves pushing against a weight to increase one’s strength. Spiritual resistance is the same.  Spend time today meditating on the simple but powerful truth.

What steps can you take to build your spiritual resistance? Are you willing to place yourself under God’s authority? When 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.

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