Resist

James 4:7b “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

When Christians see God and his grace clearly, they see the opposing side more clearly, too. The difference between right and wrong comes into clearer focus. But that doesn’t mean we have completely lost our taste for sin. A diabetic may understand that sweets are bad for him. That doesn’t mean his taste buds have stopped craving them.

God may be a gentleman in the way he deals with us, but the devil is anything but a gentleman. He doesn’t fight fair. He always attacks at our weakest points. If a short temper trips you up, expect the devil to litter your path with all kinds of irritations. If controlling your sexual passions has been a challenge, expect the devil to double the opportunities for everything from lust to extramarital affairs. If you have always been a little insecure about having enough money, the devil will be whispering in your ear, “You can’t afford to be giving anything away,” when someone needs your help, or “See, God isn’t going to take care of all your needs,” when the water heater gives out or the transmission dies on your car.

James wants us to know that when we give God the proper place over our lives and resist the devil, we are going to have a fight on our hands. But here’s a promise: “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” If the fight were just between you or me and the devil, then we would get KO’d in the opening seconds of the first round every time.

But we don’t face this fight alone. The God who left heaven to become one of us, and died on a cross to deliver us, now stands with us. There is a scene in the movie version of Prince Caspian (part of The Chronicles of Narnia, the series of children’s books by C.S. Lewis) in which the armies of the enemy are charging across a bridge. Suddenly, one of the little heroes of the book, a little girl named Lucy, appears at the other end of the bridge. As she stands there she draws a cute dagger out of its sheath, little bigger than a steak knife. The oncoming army stops dead in its tracks. They are not afraid of a little girl. Behind Lucy stands Aslan, the all-powerful lion who stands for Christ in this fantasy world. No army in heaven or on earth is a match for him.

When the God of all grace stands with you, no army in heaven or on earth is a match for you. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you, because he has no choice. You are living in the power of God’s grace.

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