Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7; NKJV)
So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. (James 4:7; MSG)
Here, in one of my favorite verses in the Bible, is life and power for our spirits. It says, in a concise way, that the devil is defeated, and we can drive him out of the lives of those we love. The key lies in our stance or position with God. We need to be submitted to God through our walk with Christ. God the Father wants people to see what He can do in and through men and women. He wants to set them free from addictions and depression, heal the sick, and bring hope to a culture. But we have to yield our wills to Him. It is a prime way we prepare to overcome the devil’s plans. God won’t act if we say, “No,” to His leading. When He shows us something, the only way we can have power and life is to say, “Yes” to Him.
This submission, this yielding to His ways and purposes, gives Jesus ownership of our lives. The more we give Him, the more we show our trust in Him, the more we can walk in His spiritual authority. More submission, more victory. More submission, more acts of God. More submission, the less the devil can influence our families and friends, neighborhoods and schools, cities, and states. Our submission and obedience to Jesus produces a partnership, and the devil has to flee. Our preparation for the fight in the spirit begins with submitting to Jesus Christ.
The Message version of James 4:7 shows us that submission is “letting God work His will in” us. As this is happening, we can then resist or “yell at the devil,” and he must go from our lives. When we give God our time, talents, and minds, we are empowered to represent God in our society. We can’t do anything without God’s help, and He won’t go without our submission. He’s chosen to surrender His power to man’s submission of his will to God in all areas of life. The more we give to God, the more He gives back to us.
This teaching does not negate the sovereignty of God. God is sovereign, meaning He rules over all things. But in the western world, we have overemphasized His sovereignty to the point Christians think they don’t have to do anything for the Kingdom. They believe they are saved and He will do the rest: He will heal and deliver, He will reach the dying and the lost. They act as if we can do little to influence the outcome. This teaching pulls the plug on the Biblical teaching that the devil exists and he is destroying lives. We don’t have to worry about him; some say because he is defeated. So we don’t preach about his plans, his schemes, or how to overcome him.
The truth is, the devil has been defeated, but we have to enforce that reality in the here and now. Our job, as children of God, is to arrest and drive out the renegade, Satan, and his works. He will mess people up until the body of Christ stops him.
1 Peter 5:8 says that he walks around like a roaring, looking for those that “he can devour.” He can only devour those that ignore or disregard his power and influence. The Bible tells us that when Jesus died, He stripped the devil of his power, stripped hell of the keys of death and the grave, and made a public display of Satan. But he also knew that Satan would continue to prowl around, looking for those ignorant or blind to him so he can ensnare them and devour their lives with his lies—his only weapon.
The only reason the devil has an advantage in the lives of Christian is that too many of them are ignorant of his ways. But once we give our lives over to Jesus, understand who the devil is, what he does, and how he does it, we can begin to put him to flight. We can resist him.