As children of God, we have an enemy. That enemy, of course, is the devil, the father of lies. His sole mission is to take us down by leading us away from God. Although he was defeated when Jesus died on the cross and then rose from the grave, the devil still prowls around like a roaring lion who would like nothing more than to devour us, to separate us from our heavenly Father. For that reason, we must always be on our guard (1 Peter 5:8).
James 4:7 tells us that, if we resist the devil, he will flee. That’s good news for us, but we must look at what it says just before that. We are told to submit to God first and then to resist the devil. This is important. We must be fully submitted to God with our hearts, our souls, and our very lives. When we submit to God and allow Him to work in and through us, we are then able to resist the devil. And when we resist him, he will turn and flee from us. He will flee because, when we are fully submitted to God, the devil sees God in us and knows he doesn’t stand a chance.
The verse that follows is equally important. James 4:8 tells us that we are to draw near to God. When we do, He will draw near to us. We need to spend time in God’s presence, to have Him right beside us. When God is near, the devil knows he is powerless against us and he flees. As I reflect on this, I am reminded of a cartoon in which a young boy is running to avoid being beaten up by a bully. Suddenly the boy stops and turns to face the bully. The bully grins. Just as he gets ready to deliver the beating, he looks up and his face gets pale. There, standing behind the boy is the boy’s dad. Of course, the bully turns and takes off with his tail between his legs.
When we submit our lives to our heavenly Father, He is in us. When we spend time with God, drawing near to Him, His presence is with us. With God in us and beside us, the devil has no choice but to flee.