Jump Start # 3353
James 4:7 “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
I have a friend who contacts me all the time about questions, advice and help in life. My friend struggles with an addiction. Addictions come in many colors these days. Gambling. Drugs. Alcohol. Porn. Cussing. Lying. Stealing. Eating disorders. These are all habit forming and controlling. It’s hard to break free from these. Once a person starts on the journey with these addictions, it can consume him for decades. Some never conquer them.
My friend reached out the other day. His addiction was getting the best of him. He knows it is wrong, but the desire to do them was strong. He cried for help. How do I fight this? Our passage came to my mind. God knows the devil. He knows that he is a liar, a thief and a coward. Dig your heels in and stand with God and the devil will run. He won’t run away forever, but for the moment. It will give you time to catch your breath, get focused, and keep walking with the Lord.
How does one resist the temptation to do what is wrong? Knowing something is wrong is a big part of the battle. So many jump in head first without even realizing what they are doing shames and hurts the God who made them. He made us to do better. Life the way it was intended to be, is a life that follows the Lord.
Here’s my quick list on fighting the devil.
First, realize that you can resist temptation. If one believes the temptation is too strong and there is no way around it, then the devil wins. Weaker we become. The next time it will be even easier for the devil to knock us down. The Corinthians were told that God provides a way of escape. The door is there. Look for it. You don’t have to do wrong.
Second, so much of the battle for temptation begins in the mind. Not letting the devil have a foothold there will help you. So, busy yourself in things that fill your mind. When temptation seems strongest, get busy doing something that takes your mind off of things. Focus hard.
Third, put yourself around other people and in public places. Remember how Satan tempted Jesus? It was more than stones to bread and jumping off the temple. Jesus was alone in the wilderness. No one was there. He was hungry. He was tired. Wild beasts were nearby. If the devil used that on Jesus, he’ll certainly try that with you. Alone. Tired. Late at night. Stressed. That’s when temptation knocks the loudest. Recognize that. Understand how the devil operates. The opposite of alone, is being around others. The opposite of tired, is rested. The opposite of late night, is daytime. A good team understands how the opponent operates. We do well when we understand how our enemy operates.
Fourth, always pray. Prayer works. Our verse says much more than simply resist the devil. It tells us to submit to God. The next verse says to “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” Get to worship. Get that Bible open. Get busy doing things for others. Stop the pity party. Quit feeling sorry for yourself. Stop complaining and whining. God is good to you. You have much to be thankful for. Count your blessings.
Will doing these things keep a person from ever sinning again? No. John’s first letter addresses that. But, what it can do is stop the merry-go-round of continual and habitual addictive sins. Put people in your life that will help you get closer to God. Hang around spiritual giants. Get to to strong Christians. Have conversations with them. Become friends with them. Imitate the good that they do.
Ephesians tells us to put on the full armor of God and to stand firm against the devil. Put up a fight. Don’t let the devil take real estate in your heart. You can be righteous. You can be pure. You can obey the Lord. How do I know this? God says so. Don’t settle for second place. Don’t be happy with the consolation prize. God wants you with Him—now and forever. Kick the devil to the curb, stop focusing on your failures and look for ways you can help others.
The battles on. With God, you’ll win. Faith is the victory that overcomes the world.