“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
James 4:7 ESV
Satan is real, but he is also defeated.
Jesus came to earth to destroy the devil’s work (1 John 3:8). When our Lord died on the cross, sin died. When he rose from the grave, the grave lost. One day, Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire to be tormented day and night for all time (Revelation 20:10). Satan will not reign in hell—he will be punished there, forever.
Satan is at war with our Father, and we are the battlefield where the conflict rages. He cannot hurt God so he attacks God’s children. The best way to wound me is to attack my sons.
In our spiritual war with this enemy, how do we win?
First, resist him in God’s strength.
“Submit yourselves to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). The moment you are tempted, submit the issue to God and choose to resist: “Do not give the devil a foothold” (Ephesians 4:27). It will never be easier to refuse sin than when it first appears in your mind or heart.
Second, claim your victory in God’s power.
Your Father promises that he will allow no temptation without giving you the strength to defeat it (1 Corinthians 10:13). The moment the enemy appears in your life, stand on that promise. Assume the victory God promises.
Third, wear the armor of the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 6 exhorts us: “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (vv. 10–12).
This spiritual “armor” includes God’s truth, righteousness, gospel, faith, salvation, Scripture, and prayer (vv. 14–18). Stand in these. Practice them. Trust them as God’s power in your life. And they will be your victory.
So, expect to be tempted by your mortal enemy.
Lions only roar when they attack. Stand in God’s strength today. When you fail, go to God for forgiveness, grace, and victory.
And the next time the devil reminds you of your past, remind him of his future.