How To... Pt 3: Make The Devil Flee
At The Crossroads of Eternity
Our scripture reference occurs in an interesting chapter. In the previous verses of James 3 and James 4, we find the brother of Jesus admonishing his audience for their waywardness. James is dealing with a group of people that have a laundry list of issues. If there was one imperfect group, one that should be the devil's punching bag, it was this audience of James. His intervention in the first place showed the gravity of their situation. James was the one you went to when nobody else could deal with you. Even Peter and Paul listened and heeded the advice of the brother of Jesus. These were some messed up people. Yet, God had a plan for them to get back in the fold. For all of the verses of admonishment we read previously, verse 7 shows the simple solution for freedom and advancement. All we have to do is choose the path God has laid for us instead of the path we've made. Let's examine that path.
Submit Yourself To God
The term submit means to make one's self subject to the authority of another. As mentioned before, the group had been subject to their own desires and affectations. It had led them to trouble, strife and spiritual bondage. All they had to get out from under those stigmas was to submit to God. Their is no other prescription given by God through His earthly brother. The same is true for us today.
If we want to find freedom from doing things our ways and finding ourselves beaten time and time again by temptation, all we have to do is surrender our will to God's. When we do, we'll obey what God and His Word says, we'll find those chains that held us down loosened and at our feet. We'll discover the troubles have turned to triumphs. We'll see our strife transform into success.
Take note, though. To be submitted to God and His Word is not conditional. It requires taking all of God's Word and His ways and applying them to the core of our existence. They must become a part of our identity. We can't be submitted to God and do things our ways, too. When a person joins the military, they don't do their Basic Training their way. They do it the military's way. They don't come and go as they please. They must inquire of their CO before taking actions and they must adhere to the leadership of their superiors, regardless of their personal feelings. To be submitted to God is no different. What he says goes. Like David and all the other great followers of God, before we take action, we must ask Him first. When we do, God will give us the guidance we need to find the success He desires for us.
Resist and Watch Your Enemy Run
Once we submit to God following His leading, the only other thing to do is resist the devil.
Now that sounds easy, many are probably thinking. Surely, the enemy of all mankind and God Himself can't be beaten just with one simple word, can he? The simple answer is yes. This series has attempted to reveal the devil in the most honest light. He is an effective and devastating force in the world. In the Kingdom, though, he's the biggest loser (and we're not talking about a reality weight loss show). He's winless against God. That's right, the one who has led so many to their destruction and damnation. The one who seems to run wild throughout the world, devouring all in his path. The one who doesn't seem to quit in his pursuit of tearing your life apart. That one can't be The ONE.
When we are submitted to God, we are under his authority. We are on His team. In His garrison. That's an undefeated juggernaut that the devil can't topple. The term resist means to set yourself against something or someone. God is set against the devil and his plans. Being submitted to him puts you at odds with the devil. However, your not just at odds with him on your own. You've got the backing of all of heaven and God Almighty behind you. He can't help but retreat.
The Devil's A Coward
If that doesn't inspire you, take heart in this. The word flee here means to run away from because of fear or the threat of danger. That's right. When you are submitted to God, the devil - the author of fear - now fears you. He sees you as a threat of danger rather than a target of his threats and terror. The devil takes off running when he has to face us with the backing of God. As he retreats, we advance and get to take back that territory he took from us throughout our lives and more.
With the knowledge of his cowardice, it's no wonder the deviltries to attack us as though he were a terrorist. He's too afraid to face us on the battlefield because he knows he can't defeat us face-to-face. We have inside of us something greater than anything he can put forth. If we are submitted to that power and believing in it, all we have to do is keep resisting and watch him run.
It's not to say we won't get attacked. The devil is a terrorist and he will send a few dirty bombs and spiritual rockets our way. However, all we have to do in those terrorizing moments is remember that we are on the winning side. His attacks, though painful, are the futile efforts of a defeated and cowardly foe. There's nothing the devil can do that God can't overcome. With that comforting knowledge in mind, all we have to do is resist and watch him run.
Chris Farris is the author of The Way, a manual detailing how to implement the Beatitudes into your life. He review events and other media and offers other insights into writing and working for the Kingdom of God.