“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
What a gladsome news it is that we can put the devil, our arch-enemy, to flight! But how? In the above verse, the Word of God teaches us two important spiritual actions that can put the devil on the backfoot.
Firstly, we must submit our lives to God – “Submit yourselves therefore to God.” This means that our loyalty must always be to God and never to Satan. We cannot stay in between God and Satan. As Jesus said, “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” There is no middle ground, no neutrality. We cannot be double-minded if we are to have victory over the devil’s malice. We must unwaveringly stand with God.
Secondly, we must “resist the devil”. When it comes to the devil and his ways, we cannot be tolerant or compromising, but put up a total resistance. The word “resist” means “to stand against” or “to oppose”. We cannot go along with the devil, and his worldly associates and activities. Any friendship with the world, which is after the devil, is to be at odds with God (James 4:4). God’s children ought to oppose the devil’s ungodly allurements, flattering promises of worldly glory and pleasures, worldly intimidations, threats and persecutions.
When the believer’s life is turned from serving the devil to serving God, victory against the devil is guaranteed. Just as the devil left Jesus after the temptations in the wilderness (Matthew 4:11), he will also flee from all those who resist him. Here is a divine pledge that the devil can be defeated – powerful though he is – by all who follow the above counsels of God’s Word.