Resist the Devil
James writing to “the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.” Warned them to “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
And the Apostle Peter writing to “the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia” (fellow Jews), warns them:
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” (1 Peter 5:8-9)The devil is far more powerful and intelligent (as well as subtle and seductive in his malignant purposes) than any combination of human enemies we could ever face, and we would be utterly unable to defeat him with our own human resources. Yet, God’s Word makes it plain that we are neither to yield to him nor flee from him. As the Apostle Paul writes to believers, we must “put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” We have “the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the [wicked one],” and also “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:11, 16-17).
But how can we resist such a mighty foe? As in our text, we must constantly maintain sobriety and vigilance against his enticements, and be careful to remain “steadfast in the faith.” Otherwise, the pseudo-intellectualism and social peer pressure to which we are subjected daily could quickly persuade us to compromise the faith, or even to depart from the faith.
We are commanded not to yield and not to compromise. Instead, This mighty sword with which we can make Satan flee from us is literally “the sayings of God”—that is, an appropriate individual word from the complete Word of God. This was the instrument with which the Lord Jesus Himself resisted the devil, parrying each temptation with an incisive thrust of Scripture. The result then—as it will be now with us also—was that the devil “departed from him for a season” (Luke 4:13).