Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
You know this verse, right? You’ve read it millions of times? But do you know what it really means? How it can be practically lived out in your life?
I didn’t … at least not until last week, when I had a conversation with someone about this verse… particularly in the context of spiritual warfare. Spiritual warfare is a tricky topic to navigate in the christian world, simply because people have different understanding and beliefs about it. Without going into it too much, this is what it comes down to…
- Satan is the enemy of God and therefore you, as God’s child.
- It is his goal to come against God and the work He wants to do through you in this world.
- But because of Jesus’ death on the cross Satan has been defeated!
So never fear!! As a child of God you have already won! God calls you a conqueror and you can be victorious over anything the enemy tries to throw your way! All you need is trust in the One who defeated him, and the knowledge of how to resist his plans (James 4:7 shows us the way!)
I would always read that verse without truly knowing what it meant. How do I submit to God and resist the devil? What does that even look like? After spending time with a pastor from my church, I can now understand this verse and oppose what the enemy is trying to do in my life. One of the ways he functions is through the mind, so we’ll be focusing on this area for now…
How to resist the devil
By looking at the opposite of what it means to resist, we can understand what we must avoid. The opposite of resisting is agreeing with, therefore in order to agree with the devil we listen to the lies, the doubts and the thoughts in our mind that are contrary to God. The things that cause us to question the goodness of God and even attempt to undermine your identity as a child of God. (Once you become aware of this, you realize how often the enemy tries to come against you, even in subtle ways, every single day).
So if this is what agreeing with the devil looks like, how do we oppose his work, and resist him?
With the Word of God of course!
This is what you do
Whatever area in your life the enemy is tormenting you in (depression, worry, stress, fear, body image, sickness, etc.), go to God’s word and find verses that show you what God says about it.
What is His opinion on the matter?
You then take these verses and use them as ammunition against the enemy. Every time he tries to come against you, you speak out the words of God. As a result he will have to flee.
Why does the devil have to flee?
As a child of God, you hold all the power and authority of God in your words. Because of this, the enemy has no choice but to flee in fear… he knows he can’t stand up against God and the incredible power that lives inside of you. The words of God are some of the most powerful weapons you can wield against the enemy.
At first this might seem hard to do, but believe me it’s so worth it! I have only been doing this over the past week but I can say that little by little my mind is changing to see things through God’s eyes. And it’s getting easier too! If you continue in this, it will eventually become a habit that forms a natural part of your every day life.
Over time you will see your mind be renewed and conformed to Christ’s mind. You will begin to see things the way He does, and you will walk victoriously in the power He has given you. Once the enemy realizes that your immediate response is to go to the word of God when he tries to hassle you, he will start to leave you alone. He doesn’t want to push you further into a deeper love and knowledge of God.
How can you practically live this out?
Surround yourself with the verses that are relevant to your current struggles/thoughts. I have mine written on a whiteboard in my room and all over my mirrors. Every time I go past them I speak out the words written on them.
These are some of the verses I have written in my room …
“The Lord will take away from me all sickness” (Deut 7:15)
“I have not been given a spirit of fear or timidity, but of power, love, and a sound mind.” (2 Tim 1:7)
“I am fearfully and wonderfully made, your works are wonderful, I know that full well!” (Ps 139:14)
I pray that this has helped you understand James 4:7 and spiritual warfare a little better. By understanding it, we have a vital clue in knowing how to come against the enemy’s plans and live a triumphant life in Christ!
What bible verses will you use as ammunition against the enemy?