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  • Writer's pictureDavid and Marilynn Chadwick

A Word from James: Resist

by Marilynn Chadwick

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7 NIV)

Learning how to resist the devil is the key to victory in spiritual warfare. God's Word is fundamental in our fight. It’s also crucial to pray. But James reminds us that we can't beat the devil unless we resist.  

To resist is "to exert force in opposition." Spiritual victory requires spiritual muscles. James coaches us to take a forceful stand against the devil’s temptation, while also asserting our wills to obey God. Nowhere is this twin command clearer than in today's verses: “So place yourselves under God’s authority. Resist the devil, and he will run away from you” (James 4:7 GOD'S WORD Translation).

The Bible reveals the spiritual nature of our battle. We're told to be alert to the devil's schemes and take up our weapons of war. James points out we can't resist the devil without first submitting our wills to God.

I especially like the God’s Word (GW) translation of this verse: "So place yourselves under God's authority." Authority is not a popular word today. But you can't experience the power of God's Word in battle and wield its authority unless you're also under its authority.

Victory in our spiritual battles is directly related to submission to God's authority. This, in turn, builds resistance—our spiritual strength against the devil. Much like strengthening the body’s resistance to disease.

Spiritual battles are won before the moment of temptation. When I spend time in God's Word. When I’m faithful in prayer. And when I’m attentive to "temple upkeep," or the care of my body and mind, I am also strengthening my resistance.

Physical resistance training involves pushing against a source of resistance, such as a weight, to increase one's strength. Spiritual resistance is the same. Spend time today meditating on the simple but powerful truth in James.

Are you willing to place yourself under God's authority? Think of some steps you can take to build your spiritual resistance. And when the daily temptations come, remember to "exert force in opposition." God's promise is clear. If you do this, the devil will eventually flee from you. You may discover that the very attack that was designed to bring you down has actually made you stronger.

Lord, I am challenged to be alert to the devil's schemes. Help me remember that victory is won before the moment of trial. I submit to your Word and commit to build my resistance on a daily basis. Above all, I trust you for the victory.

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