Resist the devil! (2)

“Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world” (1 Peter 5:9).

Peter’s exhortation included the call to be humble before God, so that we will be exalted at the proper time. Remember that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble and pride originates from the devil. Furthermore, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). The devil is ‘like’ a lion but Jesus Christ is the conquering lion of the tribe of Judah and his spirit lives in us. The Holy Spirit in you is of the conquering lion so you are more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus. Fear is a strategy of the kingdom of darkness, but if we truly know who we are and the power invested in us, then we know that we have nothing to fear.

Paul exhorts in Ephesians, “and give no opportunity to the devil” (Ephesians 4:27). Paul was saying that we should avoid attitudes and habits that lead us into sin. Recovering alcoholics are advised to avoid anywhere with alcohol because of the temptation to be lured back into alcoholism. Don’t allow the devil to deceive you into allowing yourself to enter into or remain in situations that are tempting. Run away if you need to, in order to resist and don’t consider yourself to be so strong that you feel that you cannot fall into sin. Don’t put yourself in a situation where you can be tempted but put safeguards around yourself and keep people in your circle who can hold you accountable.

“Therefore let the one who thinks he stands firm [immune to temptation, being overconfident and self-righteous], take care that he does not fall [into sin and condemnation]” (1 Corinthians 10:12). We have to be conscious about what we watch on TV, what we listen to on the radio and the people that we surround ourselves with. Remember that our physical senses are the entry way to the soul and can entice us into unwanted habits and behaviours. “Abstain from every form of evil [withdraw and keep away from it]” (1 Thessalonians 5:22).

People have mistakenly assumed that God causes them to be tempted. This is erroneous thinking as James explained. “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire” (James 1:14). Once the desire gives birth in the mind, then it can lead to sin. Most of our biggest challenges start with our thinking. Don’t think that because you are only thinking about it, that it is not sinful. We have to take every thought captive, demolish it and cast it down out of our minds. Thoughts that lead to sin do not originate from God and entertaining them means that you are entertaining the devil. This can only lead to sin.

A.P.-Y.

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