We are told to resist the devil and he will flee from us, but how do we resist him?
Be Not Deceived
I was asked last year to give a message on Atonement, and the title was “Atonement Today.” From it the intention was to express how we could benefit daily from the lessons found in Atonement. We also read something similar along these lines from Chairman Ward’s letter written to us on September 30th.
I bring that message up now so I can use its conclusion as a springboard for today’s message.
“When we return from the last of God’s annual festivals, let us not forget the daily role each of those festivals plays in our life. Today, we celebrate a time when Satan is bound and peace reigns over mankind, so let us not forget that, today, and every day, we are promised that Satan cannot influence us if we resist him, as we experience, daily, Christ’s reign over us, offering us peace of mind in the knowledge of our salvation.”
One of the scriptures highlighted in that message was James 4:7 James 4:7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
American King James Version×, which reads, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
I tried to emphasize from that reference that to submit to God and resist the devil causes Satan not only to leave us alone but also to flee in fear.
I want to build on that, today, to gain more understanding as to HOW we do the resisting.
Let’s visit Ephesians chapter 6 to discuss how we can resist the devil. Let’s expound on a clear resource for resisting the devil.
Ephesians 6:10 Ephesians 6:10Finally, my brothers, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
American King James Version× Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
So, right off the bat in this passage, Paul gives us the conclusion before the story. Whatever is about to be written is for our strength being found in the power of God’s might.
Ephesians 6:11 Ephesians 6:11Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
American King James Version× Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Then Paul shares with us a singular statement that describes how we will be strong. But, what is that armor?
Ephesians 6:12 Ephesians 6:12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
American King James Version× For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Here, before Paul describes the armor, itself, he clarifies WHAT we battle against... NOT man, but the one and his minions who deceives the whole world, the devil and the demons. So, when I look at my fellow man in the world, I should not see an enemy but should recognize what the enemy without restraint can do to man.
Ephesians 6:13 Ephesians 6:13Why take to you the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
American King James Version× Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Paul summarizes what has just been delivered that our strength is found in that whole armor of God.
So, what is this WHOLE ARMOR?
Ephesians 6:14 Ephesians 6:14Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
American King James Version× Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
First is described a belt of truth including a breastplate of living according to that truth.
Paul follows with shoes defined as the preparation of the gospel of peace, or we could say, wherever we go, we share the good news brought to us through Christ.
Ephesians 6:16 Ephesians 6:16Above all, taking the shield of faith, with which you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
American King James Version× above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
An imperative component of this armor must have faith, which is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1 Hebrews 11:1Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
American King James Version×). Having a sure belief without any doubt in the promises of God is a must.
Ephesians 6:17 Ephesians 6:17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
American King James Version× And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
List last verse describes salvation as a helmet and the Spirit as a weapon wielded while wearing that armor.
Ending, “...which is the word of God;
One could conclude from that translation that the Spirit is the word of God, but we must remember that what is being described is the “whole armor of God”, and THAT is described as the word of God.
- (belt) Truth is word of God
- (breastplate) Righteousness practices the word of God
- (shoes) Preparation of the Gospel shares the word of God
- (shield) Faith hears and believes the word of God
- (helmet) Salvation is the plan found in the word of God
- (sword) Spirit lights the word of God
A time is coming when the devil will be bound unable to influence the mind of man in any way for a thousand years (Revelation 20:2-3 Revelation 20:2-3  And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
American King James Version×), but God has given us His word, which is knowledge, practice, and sharing. We are given faith to believe, given also the clear intended destiny of man. And with that is the weapon of the power and nature of God living within us by God’s Spirit.
Understanding these things, we have nothing to fear, because, spiritually, we are made strong through the word of God and all the gifts God gives us through His Spirit.
I want to end with a warning, that to understand these things should not encourage pride or arrogance, but on the contrary should inspire humility, for it is the truth of God that exposes every evil in us. The truth should prick us to the heart, so that we can be unashamedly and wholeheartedly submitted to God.
Be not deceived, but put on the whole armor of God, making sure to take advantage of every facet of His holy word with the power of God’s Spirit to guide us.