You can’t try hard enough to be stronger than the Devil. You can’t be smart enough to outwit him. You can’t be more spiritual than him and expect him to leave you alone. You aren’t faster than him. You can’t outlast him. Shouting him down doesn’t work. There is only one way to beat the enemy of your soul. You have to resist him. Sounds easy, right? But that resistance is part of a formula, or a process, if you will.
The apostle James wrote to the early church, “Submit to God. But resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) There is an order. A lot of people are trying to fight Satan under their own flag. Frankly, the Devil doesn’t care what kind of a fight you put up on your own as long as you aren’t fighting under the authority of God, because Satan fears no one but those who are serving God. So we need to submit to God if we want our resistance to the Devil to mean anything.
If you are trying to resist the enemy without first submitting to God, you are putting the cart before the horse. The real horsepower in life comes from the throne of God. When we try to accomplish God’s task without surrendering to His power, we are setting ourselves up for massive failure.
To submit is to ‘to yield to governance or authority.’ To resist is to ‘to withstand the force or effect of.’ Can I say it? I think a lot of people are wanting to resist the Devil even as they are resisting God. That ain’t gonna work. To resist is to withstand the force of something. To submit is to cease resistance. Stop resisting God. Yield to His authority. That is where you will find the power to resist the Devil. If you are resisting God, you are submitting to Satan. If you are submitting to God, you will be able to resist the enemy.
To flee is to ‘run away from danger’. When you are surrendered to God, and you withstand the effect of Satan, he will realize he is in a place of danger. He will flee. That’s what scared things do. They run from danger. If you are not submitted to God, Satan does not fear you. If you are under the authority of Jesus, there is nothing Satan fears more.
I know you don’t want the enemy to beat you today. I know you want him to run in fear and leave you alone. And that is possible. But not if you try to engage him in battle without first submitting to the One who has already secured victory. The quickest way to get victory in your life is to surrender your life. That may not sound right… but it is ultimately true. The path to victory runs through the pass of submission.
[Bible quotes are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, unless otherwise noted.]
Find more of David’s work at Heart Of Ministry.