Resist the Devil? How?

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

The devil lies. The devil is the father of lies. The devil wants us to focus on our sins. The Holy Spirit beckons us to focus on our Savior.

So, how can we have victory over the devil? How do we overcome the schemes of the devil?

We can’t. Not on our own. The devil is a whole lot smarter, more crafty, and more powerful than you or me.

Although we cannot defeat the devil our Savior can. The devil has no chance against Jesus.

That’s why our text says to “resist the devil.” And our text tells us that the way we resist the devil is by “submitting ourselves to God. We resist by submitting. When we submit to Christ, Christ kicks the devil’s butt!

Isn’t that a great picture? Love the imagery of the devil getting his butt kicked because he’s had plenty of opportunities to kick my butt.

Submit to Christ. That’s how we resist the devil. And when we submit to Christ, the devil flees.

One final note about submitting to Christ. Submitting to Christ is not a one time decision. It’s kind of like breathing. It can’t be a one time event. If you want to live, you gotta keep breathing. If you want to thrive as a Christian, you gotta keep submitting.

Submitting to Christ is more a compass heading than a decision. It is choosing to head in a particular direction – the direction that takes us nearer to Christ.

We cannot defeat the devil but Christ already has. So, submit to Christ.

The Devil Lies

“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).

The devil is a liar. The devil is the father of lies.

Before we sin, the devil lies by doing everything to convince us that sin is of no consequence, that sin is no big deal, that as long as no one is hurt and others don’t find out, it’s no big deal.

After we sin, the devil lies by doing everything to convince us that our sins are so grievous that they are unforgivable.

The devil is a liar. The devil is the father of lies.

Sin is a big deal because sin separates us from the love of God.

But sin does not have to get the last word because God made a pathway for sinners to be forgiven through his Son Jesus Christ.

The devil wants us to focus on our sins.

The Holy Spirit beckons us to focus on our Savior.

Keep your eyes on Christ.

One Way Missionaries

“Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:38-39).

I confess. When I read passages like this I immediately consider them as a parable or an allegory.

Jesus could not have meant this literally…right? Right?

But, what if, because we have been treating texts like this as a parable or an allegory, what if, modern day Christians have taken passages like this way too lightly? What if there is more truth to passages like this than we would like to think?

The Christian missionary movement would not have ever happened if everyone took these passages allegorically.

A century ago, a band of brave souls became known as one-way missionaries. They purchased single tickets to the mission field without the return half. And instead of suitcases, they packed their few earthly belongings into coffins. As they sailed out of port, they waved good-bye to everyone they loved, everything they knew. They knew they’d never return home.

A. W. Milne was one of those missionaries. He set sail for the New Hebrides in the South Pacific, knowing full well that the headhunters who lived there had martyred every missionary before him. Milne did not fear for his life, because he had already died to himself. His coffin was packed. For thirty-five years, he lived among that tribe and loved them. When he died, tribe members buried him in the middle of their village and inscribed this epitaph on his tombstone:

When he came there was no light;

When he left there was no darkness.