“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
We've all been there. (Think back to Thanksgiving Dinner) We're full and know we shouldn't eat more but, just 1 more slice of
cake, cobbler, pie won't hurt. Or, just one more serving of mac and cheese, turkey, stuffing, dressing is okay. It won't hurt anyone. (But me) I'll go to the gym tomorrow. When in reality, we always know we should put down the fork and pick up the water. The devil is always seeking to lead us astray. He will take advantage in any area of your life that he can. Whether it be taking advantage of lenient eating during a holiday, or saying something you shouldn't say about your boss who is constantly being used by God to help you grow. (if you get what I mean) We should seek to resist him. Stepping over the snares he lays and into the strength that the Lord gives us.
So how do we get him to leave us alone? We resist him. It’s not passively ignoring him, but actually actively pursuing the things of God. Merriam-Webster defines the word resist as both to withstand the force of something and exert opposing force. It requires action. Just being covered by the blood is not enough to keep you from being tempted by the devil. He even tried tempting Jesus, so of course, he definitely will go after you.
How does Satan tempt us? He attacks our mind. Satan knows that if he can control your thoughts he can control your life. What we think affects what we feel and what we do. But, the good news is if we resist him, he will flee.
Practical Steps to resisting the devil
We must renew our minds
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2
When we renew our minds, we are able to determine the will of God. That means that when the enemy tempts us, we can dismiss it because we test (the spirits) and discern that the thought was not his will. (1 John 4:1) The only way to test a thought is through using the knowledge and experience that we have gained through spending time with God. This is how you get to know God more intimately. We must read our bibles, worship God, and pray. These 3 things will keep our mind from being corrupted by the devil, but only if we are doing them consistently. When we slack off, we become weak and more susceptible to the temptation.
We must actively think about Godly things.
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."
This verse gives us a good guide of what to think about. When we get a tempting thought, it is good to negate it by thinking on something good. Maybe the devil drops a thought about our self-worth. Instead of thinking about it, we begin to think about who God is. Pull out the big guns- scripture that is. Memorizing scriptures that can speak truth back into your mind. Keep them on note-cards in your belongings, car, or desk so that you can easily access them. We should meditate on them so that they are always flowing throughout our minds. Lastly, begin to think about how you can encourage someone one, serve someone, or volunteer in your local community.
We must watch what we are feeding ourselves.
I just talked about how we should think about Godly things, but that becomes much harder when we have been feeding our flesh. We must be careful what we hear and see, as those things will affect our mind. This is most important nowadays with how lax the entertainment industry has become with morality and modesty. It’s hard for us to resist the devil if we are watching and listening to entertainment that he directed. We can't expect to produce God-honoring thoughts if we are not feeding ourselves God-honoring substance. We must watch what we are meditating on. Every show or song that is entertaining isn't necessary something that we should take in. In the same way that feeding ourselves junk will make us more sluggish and less motivated, feeding our spirit junk will keep us from fiercely following the Lord. Our flesh will become fat and spirit malnourished.
You have now been equipped with 3 tools to help in resisting the devil. Renew your mind. Think on Godly things. Feed your spirit nourishment, and not junk. If we consistently do these things, we will find that we have become much stronger and faster in resisting the devil. I have seen so much victory in my life just from actively resisting the devil. I pray that you find this victory as well. Go in Peace
"God, our great king! Thank you for equipping us and empowering us to resist the devil. Help us to test each thought as it comes into our minds. Let us become spiritually full with the thoughts that honor you. In Jesus' Name. Amen"
Do you need more help controlling your thoughts and uprooting the seeds Satan tries to plant? Check out How to Silence the Voices of the Enemy.