Vol.XIX No.IX Pg.6
November 1982

Resist The Devil

Robert F. Turner

Resisting the devil is the demand of both James (4:7) and Peter (1 Pet. 5:8). But how do we do that?

We must have the will to resist. Some so love the world and pleasures of sin that they simply do not want to resist. "...and the lusts of your father (the devil) ye will do" — you wish to do (Jn. 8:44). Such people do not resist: they give up — quickly — easily — gladly. God works successfully in man by getting him to "will and do after His good pleasure" (Phil 2:13). Nothing replaces "want to".

We also need a confident spirit — a "can do" attitude. We seldom rise higher than our expectation. Remember Peter? He said, "Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended... Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee" (Mt. 26:33,35). He did deny and that before morning. Yet we should not expect him to renounce his claim. Later, Jesus called for him to reaffirm that bold commitment. He told Peter that in the final scene, he would measure up to it (Jn. 21:15-19). And remember Paul's "I can do... through Christ who strengthens me" (Phil. 4:13). And we "can do" too.

We also use scripture to resist. The Bible is not a charm that scares the devil away, but its truth in man enables man to intimidate him. Jesus met the devil with "It is written" and the devil left him (Mt. 4:1-f). It is our "sword" to fight the devil (Eph. 6:17). The devil's strong delusion overcomes only those who "love not" and "believe not" the truth (2 Thes. 2:10-12). Prayer helps us resist. The Lord prayed for Peter in his crisis (Lu. 22:32) and told him later to "watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation (Mk. 14:38). The Lord spent the night before his arrest in prayer. Paul asked brethren to pray for him that he might boldly preach as he "ought" (Eph. 6:18-20). Ask God for help; he knows how to deliver (2 Pet. 2:9).

We need wisdom to help us resist. James recommended prayer for wisdom in time of trial (1:5). This is no fool's game! Good judgment is absolutely necessary if we are to defeat the cunning of the devil. Successful resistance demands that we be "not ignorant of his devices (2 Cor. 2:11).

It takes character to resist the devil. That means being "strong in the Lord" and "putting on the whole armor of God." The result? We will "stand against the wiles of the devil" and "withstand in the evil day" (Eph. 6:10-13). The weak are devoured by Satan. Good character rejects sin. Even in the stress of hot anger, good character will "sin not... neither give place to the devil" (Eph. 4:26, 27). Paul sent to "know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you" (1 Thes. 3:5). Therefore, we are urged to "resist steadfast in the faith (1 Pet. 5:9).

Good associations help our resistance to evil (Gal. 6:1) as surely as evil companions corrupt (1 Cor. 15:33). Good brethren "provoke unto love and good works" (Heb. 10:24).

Joe Fitch , San Antonio, TX.