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Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
A Christian has three enemies, his flesh, the world and the devil. Our enemies’ goal is to trap us into sin and disobey God. These three work together in order to achieve their goal. Though the devil cannot read our minds, he has a way of figuring it out by observing our actions. When the devil senses our weakness, he lures us through the things of this world – [1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world]. He weakens us more by implanting negative thoughts and lies [1Chronicles 21:1]. Eventually, when a Christian is overpowered by his sinful nature, the flesh finally gives up into the temptation and commits a sin. [Matthew 26:41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”] There are various forms of temptation and many reasons as well how a Christian can be overpowered by his sinful nature. One obvious example is a person’s inability to restrict himself from eating an unhealthy meal. Sometimes, though a person knows its ill effects to his body when eating too much fat, the taste, aroma and satisfaction that a forbidden meal brings is irresistible. Consequently, while the body is battling within to give in, the devil may show the person more prohibited meal to exploit which leads him to break God’s commandment to take care of our bodies. This sin leads many people to die of diseases caused by their eating lifestyle or diet.
The Bible tells us however that we can be victorious. Jesus victory through his death on the cross is also ours as we accept Him as our Lord and Savior. The Bible is very clear about this, as it says in James, that we can make the devil flee. The two things that are mentioned to make the devil flee is to (a) Submit to God and (b) Resist the devil.
To resist, means, to stand against and withstand a force. Many fall into sin because they cannot withstand the temptation. The devil is like a roaring lion. He is busy looking out for a victim and making plans how to pin him down. Episodes in the animal planet or national geographic show how a lion hunts its prey. They hide in the bushes and teams up with the others. They attack with a sure plan to capture their prey. The devil always gives his best and it will be difficult for his victim to resist. What’s wrong with us sometimes is we go and look out where the predators are hiding. We sometimes have this thought within us that we can overcome temptations as easy as denying a spoiled meal. So, we hang out in the wrong crowd and places; expose ourselves in the midst of risky conditions and even stand around with mockers. However, the devil doesn’t offer a spoiled food but gives the most desirable – something that we desire to have and cannot resist. What happened in the garden of Eden was almost impossible to believe, for how could a perfect human being be tempted with a fruit. The temptation then must be something unimaginable or maybe Eve was just too weak to handle it. I gave in to various kinds of temptations in the past, and have learned a lot. Getting out fresh and fired up from the church service, prayer meeting or spiritual retreat does not guarantee a temptation-free or temptation-immune self. Humans have limits and we may never know where and when we snap. 1Corinthians 10:12 even says, “ So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!
I believe that to resist, is to stand guard, to be humble, conscious, equipped and watching every approaching danger. To be able to withstand a force, we have to be trained how to become stronger than the force. When Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness, Jesus showed us the importance of God’s word as a weapon and defense. The word of God is our food that will keep us strong, and the frequency of how much we take of it determines our strength. Prayer is also essential. When Jesus was about to be crucified, he prayed a lot and was able to withstood the temptation of not giving up himself to an undeserved punishment for our redemption – becoming the greatest example of obedience and love towards the Father.
I believe that our love for God results in a deeper communion with Him through prayer and His words – and this helps us withstand every kind of temptations we may face.
But before we are able to withstand the temptation, we got to first have our wholeness submitted to the Lordship of Christ. To submit is to have ourselves subjected in obedience to God alone. I believe that to submit is a one-time act that we must not withdraw then give again from time to time. It is not just given on a daily basis but continuously without an interval of time. To submit is to have every aspect and area of our lives coursed into God’s will anytime and anywhere. This is a settlement between God and us that we will no longer have any other master besides Him. I believe that the moment of submission starts when we accepted Christ and made a sincere decision to follow Him, be his child and have Him as our father whom we listen to and obey. Furthermore, a life that is truly submitted is a life that dedicates his time and strength in word, prayer and witnessing – making him strong and allowing him to resist even the greatest blow the enemy could ever give. The effort to decide to obey relies on the foundation we’ve built and the fellowship we have with the Father.
Temptations are not always easy to resist, but we can. In 1Corinthians 10:13, God tells us that the temptations we will be meeting are those that are only common for a human to bear and not more than that. God is also faithful that if it may become too great, he will provide a way out so that we can stand up under every temptation. The secret is not to just emotionally resist but to consciously and continuously asking and listening to God for directions. Temptations may not be easy but we can resist and make it flee – Submit ourselves to God, resist the enemy and find our way out.