As believers we want the evil one as far away as possible… or do we. On the one hand we say, “Get thee behind me Satan.” But on the other hand we do nothing to create distance between us and him. This Scripture gives us 2 words that help us steer clear of the devil’s influence.
Submit – Submission is a word that has a very negative connotation in our culture. And yet it is a great word for believers to rightly understand because we are called upon by God to be a submissive people. It is a word that is used in Ephesians 5:22 where Scripture says, “Wives submit to your husbands.” When I counsel couples prior to marriage and explain the passage, the definition that I use for submit goes like this: submission is a wife’s willing response to her husband’s sacrificial love. Now let’s transfer that definition to James and it becomes: submission is a believer’s willing response to his/her Savior’s sacrificial love.
Submission is the grateful response to God for sending His Son to rescue us from our sin. When we thoroughly understand what Christ accomplished on our behalf on the cross then submission becomes a joyful act of obedience. It is not something believers grudgingly do but rather something that we gratefully do. Submission is an attitude toward God and His Word that says something like this: “Lord, today I want my life to be a reflection of Christ and I am willing to do WHATEVER your Word says and available to go WHEREVER you want me to go.”
Resist – Resisting the devil takes intentionality. If we do nothing he will weasel his way into our life. It will be a very subtle infiltration and before we know it we will succumb to his craftiness. So what are some practical ways that we can resist the devil?
1) Read and ponder and obey God’s Word – the Word of the Lord is the sword of the Spirit and the enemy cannot withstand the awesomeness of God’s Word.
2) Pray in the name of Jesus – you might want to think about what I mean by this. Too often we pray in our own name and for our own sake and then append the name of Jesus to our prayers – as if this magically makes what we have prayed an aromatic offering to God. Not so. Praying in Jesus name takes into account what God wants and not what we want. It is focused on His glory more than on our greediness. It results in an evidence of God’s power instead of an anemic display of our neediness.
3) Stay away from people and places that invite temptation – I have often wondered why Adam and Eve were anywhere close to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. I mean they had the whole humongous Garden of Eden – why hang out around the one place that God told them to stay away from. And yet we do the same thing. We put ourselves in positions where we are very likely to be tempted. And then we wonder why we fall into sin. Resisting means not only saying “NO” to the temptations that find us but also avoiding the situations that are alluring to our sinful nature.
God’s promise is that when we submit and when we resist that the devil will have no choice but to flee from from us. So today is a good day to live intentionally for the glory of God – and a good place to begin is by submitting yourself to Him and by resisting the devil.