…from I Peter 5:8,9. Once we have recognized him and how he works, we are prepared to…
- Resist. We refuse to accept his devilish ideas. Peter wasn’t doing much resisting in the garden or later by the fire. Those who recognize can resist. Paul suggests that resistance takes the form of wrestling. Spiritual and emotional energy is expended. We resist, firm in our faith. In the midst of conflict, Christ “trusted in God that He would deliver Him.” We do the same.
We battle Satan, not saints. Most fights could be dismissed if we recognized this. Satan loves to see us in petty skirmishes. Our main problem is not the pastor, the president, the parent, the neighbor. Satan uses people like these but is far more sinister, more destructive. Not to recognize him is to be duped. Jesus told a self-confident Simon, “Get behind me, Satan.”
Derek Prince, a gifted Bible teacher, once wrote, “I discovered that evil is not something, but someone.” Evil is a person, and he IS out to get us, with a powerful army at his disposal. People who think we’re on a picnic rather than in a war will get eaten for lunch.
Resistance is effective where we have already submitted to God, so we don’t think we are doing hand-to-hand combat with the devil. We are contending with his methods, not his muscle. The battleground is the mind field. We carry every thought captive, careful not to faint in our minds or grow passive. Winning fourteen rounds and losing the fifteenth could cause us the fight. That is why James precedes the call to resist with, “Submit to God.” Notice how Peter exhorts us to humility before resisting the devil (I Peter 5:5,6). Submission is essential for spiritual power, because authority does not come from shouting louder than our opponent.
Three applications: I once heard of a lady who got sicker every time she was prayed over for healing. Sounds like she was subject to attack because of weakness in her armor. The best way to take authority in that situation would be to put on the armor, piece by piece, faith by faith.
I attended two different prayer meetings where people were taking authority by saying, “I bind you, devil.” While this may be effective if a person understands positional truth, a formula with no authority makes Satan laugh.
Occasionally I hear of Christians who are being overrun by disasters. Sometimes these people are yielding to the onslaught, because they know that we are all called to endure hardship. While we are expected to suffer for righteousness’ sake, we should not let Satan harass us. Passivity invites the devil. The baptismal covenant can be a strong deterrent: “I renounce the devil, and all his works, and all his ways.” People who figure that life is simply being played out and that what is going to happen will happen are likely to be attacked by Satan. Here is the way I would encourage friends to pray: “Father, I yield every area of my life to You. If Satan is the cause of these misfortunes, I resist Him. I put on the armor you provide for me, the character of Your Son, so that I can overcome the devil’s deception, intimidation, temptation and accusation. In the name and the authority of Jesus Christ. Amen.”
There’s no demilitarized zone in this war; we’re either for or against. Fence-sitters fall off. But those who stand in the authority they have as blood-bought saints under grace and filled with God’s Spirit will shrink the devil, just as Jesus did.