“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you.” —James 4:7-8
Satan is the number-one enemy of God and all that God created. From the beginning, Satan’s fingerprints are all over evil atrocities taking place in our world, and his goal is to drive everyone, especially Christians, to be in enmity with God.
Without the Spirit of God, we are not a match for Satan. James gives us six pointers to arm us in our battle against him, the first being that we submit to God. This is a wilful, deliberate decision to bring ourselves daily under the Lordship of Christ. Secondly, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Satan is not an irresistible enemy, but if we give him a foothold by not dealing with our anger, lust, greed or anything contrary to the will of God, the devil gains a grip, and will very subtly work to lure us away from God.
Thirdly, “Come near to God and He will come near to you” (James 4:8) This is a vitally important invitation. We cannot be content with simply saying, “Lord, please be with me;” we must seek Him, draw near to Him and He will draw near to us. Fourthly, we are told to wash our hands and purify our hearts (James 4:8). Washing our hands is a portrayal of the washing away of the external act of sin, but the internal act is to purify our hearts in turning away from it. In our sincerity, Christ works in our hearts to
change our behaviour so that our hearts are Christ-centered and become purified.
Fifthly, “Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom” (James 4:9). This does not sound like Christian talk, but here, James is referring to the internal sins we battle with, the worldliness by which we become unfaithful to God and mourning over it. There comes a time we must truly grieve over our sin and wilfully resist the devil within our hearts. We are far more moved when our emotions are involved, but if left on the outside, what touches our minds will not likely penetrate our wills or our hearts to where we really grieve our sin.
Sixthly, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up” (James 4:10). Humility before God is the antidote to satanic attack, because in our humility, we are acknowledging dependence on God, and He will do the lifting. In all the battles we face, humility before God is the antidote. God offers the reorientation of our entire lives to Him, which requires a response to His love for us. We can then live in His strength with His resources and receive the victory that is ours in Jesus Christ.
Lord, I am vulnerable to all the battles as a Christian. Help me to be utterly dependent on You and empowered to stand in Your strength. Thank You, Lord.