How do you get Satan off your back?
Well, maybe it’s more complicated than it seems, but the Bible has a clear path to obeying God and overcoming temptation. It’s James 4:7, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
There it is, clear and to the point.
How often do you get the sequence backward? I learned this from a friend. We want to go to the end and begin rather than beginning with the most important part.
In order to have Satan flee from us, we must begin with submission to God. There is no other way. In the previous verse, James quotes from the Word of God, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” In order to find the strength that we need, we must submit to God. He is the one who gives us grace and strength.
This is what the Scripture repeatedly says. Our strength comes from God. It is in our weakness–and submission to God–that we are strong. That’s the point of the proverb, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6). As we draw near to God, He will draw near to us (James 4:8).
You can’t begin at the end, you must begin at the beginning. The beginning is trusting in God. As we trust in God, we are able to move to the next step which is resisting the temptation that is placed before us.
By resisting temptation we work with God in His great work of sanctification. If we reverse the two steps, we only receive what we can do. If we follow the order of Scripture, we are blessed by God’s grace and our desire to please God.
We can experience victory when we follow God’s plan to give us strength.
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