Resisting the Enemy
Do you have self-control?
"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings". I Peter 5:8, 9 NIV
Jesus, our perfect example, gave us a clear understanding how to deal with the enemy of our souls. This is what Jesus said and did:
"Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God." Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God", he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written; He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone". Jesus answered him; "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test". Matthew 4:1-7
The book of James takes it a little further when he say: "Submit yourselves, then to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you". James 4:7 NIV
Submission is not the same as obedience. Instead, it is the surrender of one's will which leads to obedience.
James issues a series of ten (10) commands in vv. 7-10: (1) submit (2) resist (3) come near (4) wash (5) purify (6) grieve (7) mourn (8) wail (9) change (10) humble. Rather than resisting God's will for us, we should resist the devil.
In verse 8: the call to "wash your hands", is a command to make one's conduct pure. The call to "purify your hearts", insists on purity of thoughts and motives. The eager quest for pleasure had resulted in sins of the heart and hand. Four of the ten imperatives occur in verse nine (9), and all four (4) are calls to repentance. Let your change of heart be expressed unabated, fully, so that the genuiness of your repentance cannot be hidden.
In verse 10 the specific form of humbling is that of repentance for the sin of transferring affections from God to pleasures of the world. The designation "double-minded" is used somewhat differently than in 1:8. Here it describes the attempt of the readers to love God and the pleasures of the world at the same time.
© 2008 Nathaniel Stalling Jr