“Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7b (NIV)
The enemy would have you think that resistance is futile! But of course, that is an absolute lie! James tells us to resist the devil, but prefaces that command with an important detail… “Submit to God” (v.7a)!
To resist means to “withstand, strive against, or oppose, to make a stand or make efforts in opposition” (Dictionary.com). This is not a passive resistance. It is literally an aggressive act of pushing him away. Resistance is counter to permitting, tolerating or ignoring. It is an intentional act we must participate in! Jesus tells the church that she is guilty of tolerating, perhaps ignoring this evil spirit (Revelation 2:20). We are told to speak up, fight against and push back against the devil, and his underlings such as Baal and Jezebel. When we do so, he WILL flee! But the bottom line… it is impossible to aggressively resist the devil without intentionally bowing down in surrender to God. James goes on to say that as we come near to God He will come near to us (4:8). Our ability to resist is sandwiched between submitting to God (surrender) and drawing near to Him (intimacy)! A lukewarm church has all that missing!!! It is no wonder that so many churches are getting beat up! The promise is when we actively resist the devil from a place of submitting and drawing near to God, he flees. In other words, he swiftly runs away. Yet this is not happening in much of the church today! We cannot stand against the devil unless we are intentionally and actively bowing before the Lord!
Ask the Lord to show you every place you have tolerated the devil instead of resisting him. Confess it as sin, and submit yourself to God and NOW ask the Lord to show you where you are to actively resist the devil today. Ask the Lord to come nearer to you as you press into Him! Pray this for your pastor and church leadership. Cry out for God to show them where they are not submitting to God or seeking intimacy with Jesus and subsequently, where they are not resisting the devil. Pray that this would happen across our city as pastors and congregations chose to wholeheartedly submit and draw near to God resisting the devil in our city! Thank Him for what is about to happen as we do this!!!