James 4:7 says, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
I want to point out a few things from this passage. First, there is a literal devil who is our enemy. Satan is not a figment of the imagination, a legend, or superstitious belief. He is a real spiritual being, who leads a host of fallen angels and demons that make up the kingdom of darkness.
The second thing I want to mention is that the devil must be actively resisted. We cannot be passive in our spiritual warfare. The word for resist in the Greek is an active word that means to “to set one’s self against, to withstand, resist, oppose.” (Click here for the Greek reference). We must not be ignorant of the enemy and we must take an active stand against him.
I have found that some believers are too passive when it comes to the devil; they allow him to run their thoughts, and they feel as if they are victims. But we are not victims, and in Christ we have authority over the devil!
You Can’t Resist the Devil if you’re not Submitted to God!
But the main thing I want to highlight from the above verse is the importance of submitting to God. There is a connection between being submitted to God and successfully resisting the devil. Do you see the progression? “Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee.”
The prerequisite to effectively resisting the devil is being submitted to God. You can try to cast out demons, yell at the devil, and make proclamations all you want; but if you are not surrendered to God it is all for not. If you cannot submit to God then you will not be able to truly resist the devil.
I have found in my years of involvement with deliverance ministry, that if a person is not submitted to God, they will have real trouble trying to get delivered from the enemy’s grip. But if they are truly repentant, submitted to the lordship of Jesus, and want to be free, deliverance comes much easier.
Submitting to God means that we are coming into complete agreement with Him. We are not making any agreement with sin or Satan. We surrender to Jesus as Lord, not just with our lips but with our lives.
It’s from the place of true repentance and submission to God that we can resist the devil and he will flee. As we surrender to Jesus, we will stand against Satan and watch him run!