“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
God is not a myth, he exists. He is not dead, he is eternal without beginning and an end. The Devil is real, he is not an evil thought as some people think, he rather brings evil thoughts. The Devil is not that person who does bad things neither that person who has wronged you, he is the one behind the evil that you see people do. As believers, we must believe in what the written word tells us about the Devil and God Himself if we are to live our faith victoriously. From day to day; moment to moment, we are faced with times when two forces want to influence us; God and the Devil. You who believe in Christ is meant to be an overcomer of the Devil, thus you are supposed to heed to God and shun the Devil. James gives us very simple but practical way of how we can indeed overcome the Devil;
- First is to surrender to God
- And then to resist the Devil
When we do perfectly well the above two, we shall never be mocked by the Devil, neither shall we be taken prey by him; we rather shall be able to live in victory, living free from his influence on us.
Submitting yourselves to God
The effort to live in victory over the Devil is dependent on God and never on us even though we have our part to play. We are mortals whereas the Devil is not. We are limited by time and space but the Devil is never limited by either. We have human wisdom that never knows as much as the Devil knows. He has existed before any of us have been born, he has been in the struggle for Glory long before the world received us. He is ever serious in winning souls unto himself regardless of whether he is being recognised or not. He is real as opposed to what some people would like to think that he doesn’t exist, in fact such a thinking is one conspired by him because anyone who doesn’t believe in his existence is likely not to believe in the existence of God.
The Devil started his attack on human beings by the very first persons known to have lived; Adam and Eve. He has never stopped his mission, he comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10) and he will never recede from it until he is finally taken captive by God. Until when we don’t know, he is now at liberty to fulfil his mission. Peter says he prowls like a roaring lion looking for people to devour. You ought not to be his prey, you ought never to be devoured by him; and that’s why you must submit to God.
Submitting to God is both an initial and continuing response needed from you to defeat the Devil. As he is not mortal, our mortality doesn’t qualify us to win against him. He knows more than we do, he is cunning, very shrewd and to defeat him, we need an immortal strength, an immortal dynamite which is only but from God alone. The secret to defeating him is to submit to God.
I remember those days when young, being at the embrace of a mother is a haven. Once at her embrace, there was that automatic confidence that NOTHING ever will go wrong, no one will bully you, it is a total security. I have grown up in a little village where we raised the domestic fowls. Eagles and kites would always fly over looking for the chicks to pick, the only safe place for the chicks is to be gathered under the wings of the mother hen. It is there that nothing will happen to them, no kite will pick any, no eagle will prey over them.
Like the chicks who take refuge under the wings of their mother, submitting to God is taking refuge in him. His name is a strong tower, the righteous run to it and they are saved (Prov. 18.10). There is never any safe place we can ever be than to be in God, to submit to him. He desires to gather us under his wings all the time, he desires that none of us falls prey to the Devil. Unfortunately, many of us aren’t aware of that; and or sometimes we are aware but unwilling to take refuge in him. This is Jesus’ lament over Jerusalem when he saw what would befall it:
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you are not willing” (Matt. 23:37).
Christ, is our refuge, He has offered His arm to gather us under it in order to be safe. God forbid that we be like the children of Jerusalem who either ignored the safe hands of God or became unaware of it. Lest we shall soon be left desolate. Accept Christ, let him be you LORD as you remain in submission to Him. He is the Rock, in fact the Rock of Ages, He is the one who empowers us to;
Resist the Devil and he will flee from you
Do you ever found yourself in a quarrelsome situation even to the extent of wanting to fight? Fights and quarrels, envy and strife, jealousy and hatred are some of the ways in which the Devil takes control of us to destroy us (Jas. 4:1-3). Do you have a deeper love for the world and the things therein other than desiring God? Take heed, you are headed to a wrong direction. “Don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God?” (Jas. 4:4-5). Do you find yourself in such similar situation as above and other evil like situation? This note must be for you, to ask you to first submit to God and then resist the Devil otherwise the Devil may be wanting to take control of you.
But how then do we resist him to defeat him? We must be fully armoured. Read Ephesians 6:10-18. John Grill suggests the following; prayer, faith and humility as weapons we need to fight the Devil in resistance. He writes passionately about never forgetting that the Devil is an enemy:
“Satan is to be looked upon as an enemy, and to be opposed as such, and to be watched and guarded against; the whole armour of God should be taken and made use of, particularly the weapon of prayer, the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, and the shield of faith; and also the grace of humility, than which nothing is more opposite to him: he is a proud spirit, and he endeavours to swell men with pride of themselves; and when he has worked them up to such a pitch, he is then master of them, and can manage them as he pleases; but a poor humble believer, with whom God dwells, to whom he gives more grace, and who comes forth not in his own strength, but in the strength of the Lord God, as David against Goliath, and who owns his vileness and sinfulness, and flies to the grace of God, and blood of Christ.”
Grill concludes this way about one who submits to God and resists the Devil;
Satan knows not what to do with him, he is puzzled, baffled, and confounded; such he leaves, from such he flees; he does not like the power of prayer, nor the strength of faith, nor the sharpness of the two-edged sword, the word of God, nor the humble believer’s staff, bag, scrip, and sling.
I commend you to the power of God, that you may submit to Him and using prayer, faith and humility, you will perfectly emerge victor over the Devil other than he preying over you.
Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are taken from the New International Version (NIV).
Rev. Julius Izza Tabi is a pastor in the Anglican Church of Uganda, Ma’di & West Nile Diocese. Julius served as an assistant Chaplain and lecturer at the Arua Campus of the Uganda Christin University. He is currently a candidate of Master of Philosophy in Religion, Society and Global Issues at Det Teologiske Menighetsfakultet alias the Norwegian School of Theology, in Oslo, Norway. For pastoral assistance you can email him or check how you can reach him here