Thursday, January 24, 2013

Don't Fight HIm - Resist Him

Don’t Fight Him – Resist Him


“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” – James 4:7

I remember growing up watching the “Flip Wilson Show”.  Flip was a comedian whose real name was Clerow Wilson, Jr.  One of the skits he often performed on the show was as a woman named Geraldine.  Geraldine was an outspoken woman with low morals, a love for men, and a boyfriend named “Killer”.  Whenever Geraldine did something wrong, she was quick to pass blame and say “The Devil made me do it!”  Geraldine never took the blame for anything she did wrong.  It was always the Devil’s fault.
But the Devil does not cause us to sin.  WE cause us to sin.  In James 1:14 His Word says But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Sin is a two-step process.  Satan doesn’t enter into the process until step 2.

First, your own desires cause you to be “drawn away”.  This would lead us to ask what we are being drawn away from.  For the born-again Christian, the answer would be the Holy Spirit within us.  And our own desires, drawing us away from Him, allow for step two, which is to be “enticed”.  This is Satan’s work, to tempt us with the things we desire.  But it doesn’t start with Satan, and Satan cannot be blamed.
Paul speaks of Satan’s role in sin and says in 1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” From Paul we learn that the temptations we have are “common to man”.  The Greek word used for this phrase is anthrĊpinos (Strong’s G442), which means “adjusted to the strength of man”.  No matter what the temptation is, it is NOT beyond your strength.  If it were beyond your strength, how could God fairly judge sin?  How would it be fair for you to be tempted with things you cannot overcome, and be found guilty?  We are all tempted within our own strength, whether it feels like it or not.  But we are not all tempted by the same sins.  Satan feeds off our own desires and lusts, and entices accordingly.  If you don’t like the things you’re being tempted with – change your desires and lusts!

But Paul also says that God shows up in the midst of our temptations, for He is faithful.  He provides a “way of escape that you may be able to bear it”.  No one sins without having a way out of the sin.  It’s an escape route, not a war.  That’s God’s promise. 
So we sin willfully, out of our own desire to sin.  Our spirit takes possession of our body, overruling the Holy Spirit within us, which seeks to lead us to in truth (John 16:12-15) and we sin.  James says in James 4:5 “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously” because we pursue our own desires instead of His.

The way to avoid sin is to resist.  We don’t have to fight Satan, wage war against him, nor speak to the devil and his minions.  The fight is within.  We have already won the battle against Satan, and Satan has already lost.  We stand in victory with the incorruptible seed of the Holy Spirit within us, our divine power in Christ.  He came to steal, kill and destroy, but all power is in us to resist.  We have already won as 1 John 4:4 says You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. On the organizational chart of God’s Kingdom, Christ rules higher than Satan and all the other demons and angels.  We rule with Christ, as His Spirit is in us.
When we resist, we allow our sinful spirit to take a back seat to the Overcomer, the Holy Spirit of Christ living within us.  James 4:7-10 says “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”  We’re not asked to fight, but to resist.  When we resist, just standing our ground and not giving in, we win and the enticement leaves.  He will “flee from you” meaning run away! 

Resisting our own will to sin, we submit to God, we “draw near to God”.  We cleanse ourselves from sin, purify our hearts, and clean up the fogged “double-mind” that occurs when we try to follow our own spirit, and the Holy Spirit, both within us.  James says that when we do turn from our sins, allowing the Spirit of God to empower us, “He will lift you up.” To be lifted up, you have to be down.  Sin is a downer, much like a pit, and you have to find a way out.  Drawing near to God is the way out.
Psalms 40:1-3 speaks of the pit and God’s mercy to His children:

I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me,
And heard my cry.
[We pray]
He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,

Out of the miry clay,
And set my feet upon a rock,
And established my steps.
[He rescues]
He has put a new song in my mouth—

Praise to our God;
[We praise]
Many will see it and fear,
And will trust in the Lord.”
[He uses our testimony]
When you feel you are giving in, when you don’t think you have the strength to overcome, pray.  He will rescue you.  He will give you a new song, solid ground to stand firm on, and praise to be spoken for Him.  He will allow you to use what the devil meant for evil for His good. Resist, and you will find that God is right there, pulling you from the pit.

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