May 17 I Monday
1 Chronicles 1-3
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” —James 4:7
What should we do when we find ourselves tempted by the devil? James 4:7 tells us, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” The devil is resistible. We can learn from Jesus and how He resisted the devil’s temptation.
When the devil tempted Jesus with the lust of the flesh, Jesus said, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’” When the devil tempted Jesus with the lust of the eyes, Jesus said, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’” Finally, when the devil tempted Jesus with the pride of life, Jesus said, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test’” (Luke 4: 4, 8, 12). Did we notice a pattern in Jesus’s responses? His answer to every temptation was, “It is written…” Jesus quoted from the Old Testament, specifically from the book of Deuteronomy. Yet, Jesus’s answer of “It is written…” was not to express some power in His quotation of Scripture that caused the devil to reel back. Instead, when Jesus said, “It is written…” He was making a statement that essentially said, “There is nothing, no issue, no contest here. A decision has already been made and God has already spoken.”
As we return to James 4:7, there is a crucial part that we should not miss: “Submit yourselves, then, to God.” Submitting ourselves to God is part of resisting the devil. When we submit ourselves to God, we submit to the Word of God and its authority. God has expressed His decision through His Word and we are to stand with it. This is the authority of the Word of God that Jesus used in His response to the devil.
Many years ago, when I was much younger, I remember being troubled by the fact that there were some temptations that I seemed to face and fall again and again. One day, I decided to make a long list of all the areas of sin and failure that I knew I was vulnerable to in my own experience. Afterwards, I took a concordance to find a reference from Scripture that would contradict and counteract every one of those sins. To my surprise, I found a verse for every single one of them. I was surprised because I thought I had invented some of these sins; I did not know other people had struggled with the same things too. I kept that list with my Bible and find it tremendously helpful when I am faced with those temptations to quote Scripture that contradicts it.
May we submit to God––the authority of His Word––and resist the devil.
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, thank You for teaching me how to resist the devil and submit to God. Help me to hide the Word of God in my heart so that I may know Your truth in every situation I face.