“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
We all come up against temptation in our lives. It has happened so many times for me personally, that I don’t even want to start trying to count them all. Sadly, I gave in way too many times. I won’t elaborate, but many of those times I did try to resist the devil and throw the temptation away, but did it work? Nope! Why? Because I didn’t know what resisting the devil meant. I would have remembered the above verse as saying something like this: “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” See anything missing?
We can’t resist the devil and his evil lies on our own strength. We must submit ourselves to God and allow him to work in our lives. We must give our thoughts and emotions over to God and let him take care of them for us.
This is not something that we can do passively. It takes continued action on our part. It’s easy to try to snatch things back from out of God’s hand because things “aren’t going right”. WAIT!!
When you hit this sort of point, I encourage you to do a deep heart search and really think about things. In my own life, I realized the reason was because I had only halfheartedly given my life to God. God knew it, and the devil did too. The harsh reality struck me: you can’t own half your life and try to give the other half to God. It simply doesn’t work that way.
When I finally gave up trying to reserve a portion “for myself” and gave it all to God, it was actually sooo freeing! I had such peace knowing that things were in much better hands. I was able to at last live life with passion and zeal because I felt worth in it. God is capable of taking our simple lives, and making something great out of them. When the devil sees this, he realizes there is no room for him there! With Jesus’ holy power, we can give him a firm “No!” and send him to the corner to cower.
Do I still get tempted? Yes. Do I still give in? Sometimes. But with God’s grace, resisting temptation and evil thoughts has become easier and easier over time. I know that this is a journey that will continue till the day I die; the devil is persistent. Jesus also was tempted by the devil when he was here on earth, and he was God! But he never gave in. The cool thing? If you have the Holy Spirit within you, you have the power within you to do the same thing that he did – resist the devil. What’s your choice?