Submit to God & resist the devil :
The book of James is all about practical Christianity. It teaches how your faith needs to be reflected in appropriate conduct, in any given situation. And, in your walk of faith, the attack of the enemy, the devil, may inevitably arise. But, as you study the epistle of James in the scriptures, you will also know what you need to do, in order to see the devil flee from you. Therefore, even if it may have been the devil, its principalities and powers, that was chasing you thus far, you can this day, by heeding the word of God, turn the tables around, to see it all fleeing from you !
How does this very welcome prospect happen in your life ?
Therefore, submit to God, and resist the devil, and he will flee from you. [James 4:7] Submitting to God is coming under the rank, to come under His authority, and to work in the authority that He has given you. It is trusting in God, to rest in the finished work of Christ on the Cross. And, the proof of your trusting and resting in God would be a rejoicing in His salvation. It is finished’, the Savior’s proclamation of victory on the Cross, is the momentous truth of the New Testament. And the whole of the Old Testament, from the third chapter of Genesis, to the book of Malachi, prophetically builds up to it. It is the truth in which you trust that leads you to a position of rest. And all that happens now, in the aftermath of Calvary, has to be viewed by you, in and through what was accomplished by Christ, on the Cross.
In Christ, & through Christ :
So, ‘In Christ’ and ‘through Christ’ are the key phrases that establish how it all operates, in the new covenant. In Christ, you are a new creation. In Christ, all the promises of God to you are ‘yes’ and ‘amen’. And, Through Christ who strengthens you, you can do all things. In the three statements above together, all of your practical Christian living can be summarized. The importance lies in understanding it. For, the more you understand the truth, the more comfort and confidence you will gain, in applying, and walking in it in your life.
Trusting is – resting in His finished work on the Cross :
1. Your sin has been atoned for, and forgiven by God :
And, you being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive, together with Him (Christ), having forgiven all your trespasses. [Colossians 2:13]
2. The requirements or the demands of the law have all been fulfilled :
Having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the Cross. [Colossians 2:14]
3 . The devil and its’ army defeated :
Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. [Colossians 2:15] Only a work that is left incomplete, can rob you of your peace and rest. But described above, is the finished work that has happened on the Cross. It is in this victorious reality that you are living now, as a child of God, rejoicing and giving thanks unto Him. You are in a triumphal procession ! Now thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. [2 Corinthians 2:14]
And, the authority that God has given you in Christ, needs to be exercised in your walk of faith, where your fight is not against flesh and blood, but against powers of evil in the spiritual realm. You need to stand firm against the enemy, in the power and strength that comes to you, through your union with the victorious Christ. And, this is what Paul teaches in great detail in his letter to the Ephesians. For, it is only knowing and operating in the truth of God’s word that can establish the victory of the Cross in your everyday life. And, the price you pay for not doing so will be huge, for you will remain captive, and in bondage to the devil.
The spiritual warfare :
It is for freedom that Christ has set you free. And, He has equipped you to resist the devil, that you may walk in victory, to be more than a conqueror ! It is the strength that comes through your union with Him. It is what Paul in his writings, often refers to as being ‘in Christ’. And in his letter to the Galatians, he explains the truth underlying it, as he describes his own personal life, in union with Christ; ‘I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. [Galatians 2:20]
The word ‘communion’ immediately brings to your mind, the picture of the bread and the wine. They are the ‘elements’, symbolizing what Christ has accomplished on the Cross to set you free. And, there are so many facets to the truth of it. The word ‘communion’ can also be split up as common union, as it expresses what has been made available to you, when you are in union with Him. In the world, when a person is part of a labor union, and has a particular grievance, he is not alone. For, the representatives of the union are there to take up his cause, at the right forum, to redress his grievance.
On an immeasurably higher level, it can be applied in your life when you are in communion with Christ. The battle that you may be going through right now is not yours ; it is His. He will fight for you. You only need to hold your position and stand firm. And His victory is yours ; for, you are in common union with the Lord. You need to stand firm though, against the wiles, the fiery darts that the devil will try to attack you with, even as you progress in your path of divine purpose. It is a spiritual battle, against spiritual forces. God, equips you to stand therefore, by His provision of spiritual armor. It is how you defend yourself, and resist the devil. Therefore, put on the complete armor of God, that you may be able to [successfully] resist and stand your ground in the evil day [the day of danger] and having done all [that the crisis demands] to stand firm [immovable and victorious] [Ephesians 6:13] Paul then goes on to describe symbolically, the nature of the armor.
The whole armor of God :
Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, And having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace, Above all taking the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one, And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. [Ephesians 6:14-17] The apostle crisply lists out the nature of the armor given by God, for you to defend yourself against the enemy.
It is truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, and the word of God. And, all these attributes, which combine together to make up your complete armor, can be summarized in one single word , which is Christ ! Christ Himself is your armor. And, where are you ? You are in Christ ! The Name of the Lord is a mighty tower, where the righteous can run to and be safe. In Him, in His Name, your protection is not puny ; it is a mighty tower, that keeps your entire being safe, covered from the crown of your head to the soles of your feet.
How does Christ Himself become your armor ?
1 . Girded with truth – Christ is the Truth :
Truth, as mentioned above in the word of God, is your armor. And, in the Christian faith, truth is not a set of dos and don’ts. It is a person, who is the Lord Jesus Christ. Truth cannot be separated from Christ ; and it is by knowing Christ, that you know the truth, to put on your spiritual armor, that you may resist the devil. It is why the word of God declares , Know the truth, and the truth will set you free ; adding also that, he whom the Son sets free is free indeed ; and, where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. It is by knowing Jesus, to rest in the truth of His finished work on the Cross, that you are freed from bondage to sin and satan, and also empowered from then on, to resist and stand against his lies and deception that will ultimately take you back into the yoke of slavery.
Knowing an official in the top position, even if it is very distantly, can maybe get you out of paying a fine for not wearing a helmet, when caught by the traffic policeman. But, with the devil you cannot give a similar excuse, to make a quick exit ! For, he will counter you to say that, he also knows who Jesus is ! And, it would not be a lie of the enemy ! The Lord says of him, ‘I saw satan fall like lightning from heaven’. A theoretical knowledge, of the Lord and His word, will not be sufficient, when it comes to resisting the devil, either. For, being able to recite psalm 23, is very different from knowing the Lord as your Shepherd. And, when you have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death, it is that which makes the difference.
2. Breastplate of righteousness – Christ is your righteousness :
The breastplate of righteousness is your spiritual armor ; and Christ is your righteousness. For, He who knew no sin became sin, so that you and I can become the righteousness of God in Him. [2 Corinthians 5:21] This truth needs to go deep in your heart, or, it will find you trying to make yourself righteous by your own self effort, only to fail miserably. ‘There is none righteous, no, not one’, Paul says in his letter to the Romans. [Romans 3:10] It is by trusting in what Christ has done on Calvary that you are made righteous. Righteousness is being in right standing, in a right relationship with God.
Before you were saved, you were an enemy of God ; but now you are His friend. This change in your relationship status, to bring you into a right standing with God, is all because, you have put your trust in Christ and His work on the Cross. If you take Christ out of the equation, you can never have a relationship with God. But now, through Christ, the Son of God, you and I have received adoption as sons and daughters of God, the relationship by which we can call Him, Abba, Father. And, you being righteous in Christ is a huge defense against the devil. For, the evil one is the accuser of the brethren. But, God’s word puts an end to it all, by declaring the consequence of being in Christ, resting in His finished work ; Now therefore there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus… [Romans 8:2]
How does this happen ? Looking at it from a judicial point of view, you and I were sinners; and the wages of sin is death. But, Christ died in the place of you and I, to take away the judgment that stood against us. And, added to it, He rose again to live forevermore. It is the magnificent difference. And because He lives, you and I can live in righteousness, to serve the Living God. What qualifies you to come before God is being in Christ. Qualification comes from God, and hence there is no self qualification ! This truth is very important, for, when left to your means of making yourself righteous, you would always be falling short. And, this would end up in the devil having a legal claim over you, giving him an open door to attack you.
But now, as you stand in the righteousness of Christ, the Lord and Savior of the world, the devil has absolutely no right at all over you. And, it is only when you know the truth, that you can stand against him and resist his attack, For, when ignorant of the truth, you will automatically believe in a lie, only to be led into bondage and into the hand of the enemy. But, when you know the truth, the lie has no authority over you. It cannot stand before the truth. You have the authority. The devil cannot stand before you. Darkness cannot stand before the light; it has to flee !
3 . Feet shod with readiness of gospel of peace – Christ is your peace :
For, He Himself is our peace; who has made both one, breaking down the middle wall of separation. [Ephesians 2:13,14] Being ready and prepared at all times to share the good news, the gospel of peace, is the armor of God to resist the enemy. And, it is Christ Himself. He is your peace.
4 . Your shield of faith – Lord Jesus Christ :
Lord Jesus Christ Himself is your shield of faith, for He is the author and finisher of your faith. And, the righteous one lives by his faith ; The righteous one lives by faith in whom ? It is by his faith in Christ. And, who is the righteous one ? It is the one who trusts in Christ. Thus, it all comes back to one particular place ; to the one particular person, who is Christ, the Lord. And, the amazing and awesome truth is that, when you are a child of God, you are in Christ, and Christ is in you. The devil therefore, has no option, but to flee away from you. It is only when you are ignorant of the truth, and as a result believing in a lie, that he can craftily manipulate or intimidate you to take control of you.
Faith – your power connection :
Galatians 2:20 establishes the sequence of operation in you once you are saved. You are crucified with Christ; therefore, you no longer live. It is Christ who now lives in you ; and therefore, the life you now live is by faith in Christ, the Son of God. It shows the importance of faith in bringing the power of God into your life. Faith is like the small fuse wire, which when connected to the main supply, brings all the electric power that your house needs into your home. Similarly, Christ is your source of all things. And when you are connected to Him by faith, all that you need to navigate and succeed in your life comes through Him. He is the one connection that you need. And in communion or common union with Him, what is His becomes yours ; His wisdom becomes your wisdom ; His strength becomes your strength.
And the devil is no match for Christ in you, the hope of glory ! He that is in you is greater than he that is in the world ! And the more you know and understand this great truth, the more comfort and confidence you will gain in life, to resist the enemy. Also, spiritual maturity comes not by having more and more faith, but rather by exercising the faith that is already in you, even if it is very small. It is what the Lord commends in His letter to the church in Philadelphia, and rewards them with an open door, one that no man can shut. [Revelation 3:7,8] Faith as small as a mustard seed, when planted, becomes a huge tree where the birds of the air find shelter, He says to the disciples. Be encouraged therefore, for when your faith is small, the Lord enlarges it, as you apply it in your life’s circumstances. When your faith is seemingly weak, He speaks into your heart, as the Holy Spirit brings relevant scriptures to your remembrance. And as a result you will find your faith gaining strength and momentum in your life.
5. Helmet of salvation – Christ, your salvation :
There is no other name by which a person can be saved. And, whoever calls upon the Name of the Lord Jesus shall be saved. The word of God has made it all unequivocally clear, without a shadow of doubt. Christ indeed is our salvation.
6. Sword of the Spirit – the word of God: Christ, the Eternal Word :
The sword of the Spirit is the word of God, which is Christ, the Eternal Word. It is how the gospel of John begins, as it proclaims the truth. In the beginning was the Word ; the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory of the only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. [John 1:1,14]
CHRIST, your complete armor :
Christ is the Truth
Christ is your righteousness
Christ is your peace
Christ is the author and finisher of your faith
Christ is your salvation
Christ is the Eternal Word
Therefore, if you are in Christ, you are in full armor. He, Himself is your armor ! You stand complete in Christ. [Colossians 2:10] In Christ you are not incomplete, for He has done a complete work on the Cross of Calvary. Therefore you can trust, rest and rejoice in him. He is the God of your salvation, who has done all things well ! In spiritual warfare therefore, when Christ is your armor, it is very difficult to fail !! If God is for you, who can be against you ? But, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, Paul advocates wisely. [Romans 13:14]
The best part of you is Christ in you ! On the Cross, the Father saw, not His beloved Son, but you and I, for on the Savior was laid the sins of the whole world, including yours’ and mine. But, sin has been atoned for, by the one perfect sacrifice, and now when the Father sees you, He sees not you, but His Son ; and it is why you can boldly draw near to His throne of grace, calling Him ‘Abba Father’. You are clothed in a full and secure armor, who is Christ ; and you are seated in the heavenly realms with Him. It is your glorious position in Christ.
How does your position become your experience here ?
Be it football, or a game of cricket, that involves many players in each team, each player needs to know his position, and also remain in it, for the team to win. In much the same fashion, you have a position in Christ. You are seated in the heavenly realms with Him. And, it needs to be worked out rightly in your day to day life’s experiences here, standing firm in the strength of the Lord.
Having done all, to stand :
The word of God clearly sets out the need to stand firm, having put on the whole armor. [Ephesians 6:11,13,14] And, in Christ, your armor is complete. Christ has accomplished a great work on the Cross, and is now in a victorious position ; and you are in Christ. Therefore, you need to approach the battles that may come against you as one who has already won, as a defending champion, from a position of victory ; and not as one who is trying to win the cup. For, when you play as a person who has already won, your mindset will be very different; and, it is that difference which will give you the strength to overcome.
‘In this world, you will have trouble ; but fear not, for I have overcome the world’, are the Lord’s encouraging words. It teaches you to approach your problem, from a victorious position. Christ is our champion ; for we can now say, ‘O death, where is your sting, and o grave, where is your victory ? But, thanks be unto God who gives us the victory through our Lord, Jesus Christ’. [1 Corinthians 15:55,57] In the knowledge that Christ has overcome, the strength to face your battles every day, comes through communion with the Lord in prayer. You need to be on line with God, all through the day, in order to receive guidance and strength, the ability to stand and resist, and experience an overcoming victory. Prayer opens up the channel of communication with the Lord, who has experienced every suffering and overcome it ; and who teaches you now to overcome and emerge victorious.
Modern day warfare uses technology and satellites, by which an aerial overview of the scene of battle far away can be seen by the commanding general, from his personal workplace, in order to give the right instructions to the soldiers on the ground. It is a huge advantage in present day combat. But, you have a God who has an immeasurably greater overview of the happenings in your life. And in prayer, in communication with Him, He warns and guides you about what lies ahead. ‘We are not unaware of the devil’s schemes’, the word of God says. It is because you have been forewarned by the All knowing God, in your communication with Him in prayer. It is why Paul emphasizes the need for praying with all prayer, and supplication, in the Spirit. [Ephesians 6:18]
Prayer – the key :
Military signals can sometimes get jammed, be blocked by the enemy, to prevent communication. But, it cannot happen in your spiritual warfare ; for, God has the aerial view, and the Spirit of God is in you; receiving guidance from God therefore, can never be a problem, as long as you are sensitive to the voice of the Spirit in you. And, prayer is the vital key that connects you to God, so that you may do what He wants you to do. The devil may try to plant anxious thoughts, but the voice of the Spirit of God will be stronger to overpower it, and lead you in the right path to overcome victoriously.
Standing firm – resting and resisting :
Standing firm is possible when you stand on the promises of God. It is also standing under authority, and standing as champions. And, standing on His promise, you can say, ‘Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you’. [Psalms 116:7] You can indeed rest in the finished work of the Cross, where the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. And, when you rest, you resist the enemy, the devil.
You can rest in the promise of His goodness and prosperity to you, that your descendants may inherit the land. You are on the winning side, the side of the champion, Lord Jesus, who has overcome the enemy, to lead you in a triumphal procession in Him. He is the victorious God ; He will lead you, and guide you, that you may overcome. You shall be a winner, in Christ, your complete armor.
In the Name of Christ Jesus Amen.