So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. – James 4:7 (NLT)
The other day, I listened to part of a commercial featuring a demonologist describing how he was going toe to toe with the devil. And that’s about as long as I listened to it before skipping the ad and thinking to myself, “good luck with that”.
It’s silly to think that our ability, academics, or willpower can defeat an enemy that’s been studying us for thousands of years. The devil knows humanity much deeper than humanity knows him and his ways. For all purposes, no matter what culture we come from, we’re all pretty much the same when it comes to spiritual things. The book of Romans describes our condition well; “all have fallen short of the glory of God.”
Humility helps us understand how the enemy operates in our lives. While the devil has been able to torment humanity for generations, we can learn how he operates if we pay attention to what God is doing in our lives.
Consider a few things I’ve learned about the enemy:
He knows what is inside of us and plays off of that. He’s like the annoying bully that plays off of fear. He’s like the friend-turned-enemy that knows our secrets and resorts to blackmail to get what he wants. He is relentless in his pursuit of using our weaknesses against us.
He tries to make things worse than they really are. Our emotions are fragile and can easily be manipulated. The devil adds insult to injury during times when we’re alone and begin to relive a situation in our mind. Not only do we experience the feelings of the situation again, he tries to influence our thinking that leads to destructive attitudes and mindsets. His goal is to debilitate us from ever reaching our potential. In many cases he’s successful.
He is powerless when we submit to God. Our surrender to God leaves him nothing to work with. In surrender, the things that tempt us and cause us to look after ourselves become less important in comparison to knowing God and being in His presence. In the middle of our surrender, our sins are washed away and removed from us as far as the east is from the west. There is no longer anything that disqualifies us from God’s presence. Christ’s sacrifice meeting our surrender gives us access to the throne room of God.
This I know of God to be true: the Holy Spirit rushes upon us when our surrender is genuine. There’s nothing faster than the Holy Spirit to pick us up when we fall. The Holy Spirit gives us more than enough power to resist the devil. He helps us see through the mechanisms of the enemy and call out who he really is.
Even in the middle of our pain and in the process of learning to be like Jesus, the Holy Spirit is there to help us overcome the workings of the enemy. When we realize that it is not by our might or by our power that defeats the enemy, but by the Spirit of the Lord, we’ll begin to understand that submission is power and humility is victory.
That’s something all the devils in hell can’t touch.