“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
This scripture instructs us to do two things, and by doing so, we see the result of it. These two are to “submit to God” and to “resist the devil”. The result of this is that the devil will “flee away from you”.
Submitting to God means to come in humbleness before him. You see, God loves the humble and gives them favour. Proverbs 33:4 says “Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor.” Submission and obedience are different. Submission to God’s will leads to obedience. Instead of resisting God’s will, we must “resist the devil.”
What this passage clearly states is that Satan can be resisted. James 4:1-12 is a warning against worldliness. This worldliness is a result of the influence of the devil. The promise is that if we submit ourselves to God and resist the devil, then he will flee away.
Scripture gives us some keys to resist the devil.
Firstly, give no opportunity to the devil. Ephesians 4:27says “and give no opportunity to the devil.” This means to be vigilant and be self-controlled on all occasions. He will try and get a foothold using your weakness. Know your weakness and guard against it. The smallest opening and minutest foothold must be zealously guarded against him. Romans 13:14 says “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” If you cozy up to sin and temptation, it multiplies the chances for you to fall into sin.
Secondly, put on the armour of God. Ephesians 6:11 says “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” In other words, clothe yourself with the armor of God. Again, not just some of the armor, but verse 11 specifies the “whole” armor of God.
– The belt of truth
– The breastplate of righteousness
– Readiness, given by the gospel of peace as shoes for your feet
– Take up the shield of faith to extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one
– Take the helmet of salvation
– The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Do all this by praying in the Spirit at all times and keeping alert with all perseverance.
Thirdly, be sober-minded and alert. 1 Peter 5:8 says “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” This means to be alert and on the watch. Do not put down your guard, rather be vigilant, because the devil is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. A sober-minded individual is not intoxicated figuratively speaking and is therefore calm under pressure and self-controlled in all areas and rational. The devil looks for weaknesses, and for a foothold to bring you down. So be alert, sober-minded and watchful.
Fourthly, stand firm in your faith. 1 Peter 5:9 says “Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.” In the Greek, this presents an image of “Standing up and facing”, it implies solidity and rocklike firmness instead of running away. This firmness must come from faith in Jesus Christ, the one rock and only foundation upon which a Christian should stand. Faith is to have complete trust in Jesus, our Messiah. It means to stand firm on the core doctrines of the gospel. We must not budge on the Trinity, the person and work of Christ, biblical salvation and the inspiration and authority of scripture. Amen!
In conclusion, I urge you to submit to God, resist the devil, and he will flee away from you. Start with humbling yourself before the Lord, seek His help, and trust in his power to keep you. Resist the devil by giving no foothold to the devil, by putting on the whole armour of God, by being sober-minded, alert and finally standing firm in your faith.