JAMES 4:6-10: “And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.” NLT
OBSERVATION: How do I resist the devil? How do I receive God’s generous and overcoming grace? In this day of great spiritual warfare, when the enemy seems to be winning the war in our culture, I must know how to position myself for victory over the evil one!
Since I committed my life to Jesus Christ I have been involved in churches that believe in the power of the Holy Spirit, but who have differed in their approach in how to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit, especially in the area of spiritual warfare. Some try to dismiss the reality of spiritual warfare, while others put on warpaint (so to speak) and began to verbally rebuke the devil around every corner.
How do we resist the devil?
I am so thankful for the book of James. This section of his letter gives us insight and great hope in our battle against sin, self, and the enemy of our souls. As we study these words carefully we will discover how we can resist the devil and position our lives for God’s overcoming grace in our lives. We can learn how to walk in victory without all the theatrics that so many times accompany this subject.
The first thing I notice as I study these verses is that the command to resist the devil is sandwiched between two important exhortations. The first is,
- “And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” So humble yourselves before God.”
This is the foundational principle in resisting the devil. We cannot resist the devil if we are walking with pride. Pride is a tricky thing. One of the key ways it creeps into our lives is through the misunderstanding of our authority in Christ. When we begin to think that Christ’s authority is resident within us, as if it has now become my authority, I am setting myself up for spiritual pride.
The first step to resisting the devil is HUMILITY!
Humility is realizing who we are and who God is. We have been given the privilege of walking in the authority of Christ. Yet, this authority always remains His and never becomes ours. We are always fully dependent upon His grace and power. We are allowed to partner with Him, but we never can live without Him. The minute we convince ourselves that we have the authority we have relinquished the privilege of walking in His authority. It is then that we become an easy target for the devil.
The second step to resisting the devil is REPENTANCE!
I find it enlightening that James does not teach us to get in a shouting match with the devil. May I suggest that Satan loves it when we get preoccupied with his name? Satan is a bully. Jesus Christ is our elder brother who has won the victory over this bully. It is when we run to Jesus, through repentance, that we find ourselves in the place that will always make the devil flee!
- “Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.”
The context of these verses is James’ admonishment against the worldliness that had crept into the church. This friendship with the world had begun to move them away from God and painted a red target on their back for the enemy. The only way they could stand against the devil was to…
STAND BEHIND GOD!
Repentance is more than just an action. Repentance is a way of life. It is daily turning from sin, self, and the world and turning toward God. As we come close to God, through Jesus Christ, in true repentance, God will always meet us with forgiveness, cleansing, and His overcoming grace! As we stand behind God there is nothing the devil can do to us. He has only one response left. The devil will always flee!
THIS IS HOW WE RESIST THE DEVIL!
Lord, this morning I ask you to cleanse me of any spiritual pride. I confess that I am constantly in need of Your forgiveness, cleansing, and grace. I run to You, Heavenly Father, through the blood of Jesus Christ. As I come to you, resist the devil and make him flee! May I walk in humility, repentance, and the fear of the Lord each and every day!
In Jesus Name!