In Part 1 “preparing for the battle” meant understanding that the Bible teaches the devil is real and seeks to harm believers. Second, being on guard is necessary while we work for the Lord. Third, awareness of the tactics of the devil is important to be prepared. In Part 2, our attention turns to the actions and posture we must take as we Engage in the Battle to Resist the Devil. As we actively resist the devil, he will flee.
- Part 1: Preparing for the Battle
- Part 2: Engaging in the Battle
- Part 3: Fight like Jesus: Speak the Word
Engaging in the Battle
1. Humble Resistance
James 4:7 makes it very clear: “So submit to God. But resist the devil and he will flee from you.” In addition, we know that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. It follows that humbling ourselves before God naturally leads to submitting ourselves to Him. In this place of humility and submission to the Lord, we resist the devil. Know that it is not in our own power that we drive the devil away.
We resist the devil from:
- a place of humility before the Lord,
- the safety of our position of sonship in Christ,
- from the shelter of the Most High – our dwelling place.
Those in rebellion to God are roaming the devil’s playground unprotected and vulnerable. But the Bible says to draw near to God and He will draw near to you. In Christ we have authority over the enemy and confidence that when we resist, he will flee.
2. Actively Resist: Protect Against Bitterness
Next, in 2 Corinthians 2:10-11, Paul writes “If you forgive anyone for anything, I also forgive him – for indeed what I have forgiven (if I have forgiven anything) I did so for you in the presence of Christ, so that we may not be exploited by Satan (for we are not ignorant of his schemes).” In this passage we learn that one clear attack of the enemy is overcome by forgiveness. That attack tempts us to operate in bitterness and resentment. Paul offered forgiveness remotely and agreed with the forgiveness extended by those at Corinth. He knew that to live in unforgiveness is to open a door to the work of the enemy.
Bitterness is an insidious way into the heart and mind of a person. Moreover, the enemy wants to gain a foothold to stoke the emotional fires of offense to the past pain caused by another. Ruminating on the injustice and dwelling on the anger are temptations to separate us from God and His word. Resist the devil by forgiving those who have wronged you.
3. Actively Resist: Cast Down Thoughts
Later in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 Paul says “for the weapons of our warfare are not human weapons, but are made powerful by God for tearing down strongholds. We tear down arguments and every arrogant obstacle that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to make it obey Christ.” The language in this passage is active and aggressive. These war-like terms of “tearing down” and “taking captive” speak to the spiritual battle in which we find ourselves. Let’s look at three specific areas addressed in this passage now.
Tearing down strongholds
Strongholds in our lives come down through prayer and fasting. In prayer, we humble ourselves before the Lord. In fasting, we empty ourselves of our own physical strength and weaken the flesh that God may be stronger within us. When we are weak and dependent on Him, then He is strong. Through fasting and prayer, the strongholds of the enemy are broken. The strongholds you confront may be within you (angry outbursts, overeating, additions). They may be operating in others or even over cities or nations. In prayer, God will lead you in how to break strongholds and bring freedom in Jesus’ name.
Tearing down arguments
The next phrase in the passage are the arguments and obstacles raised against the knowledge of God. This references the regular encounters that we have in this world with unbiblical or anti-Christ arguments. Confront these as they confront you. To be salt and light: engage in this world with the opposition.
Salt preserves and flavors that which is flavorless. Light dispels darkness. When you see an anti-Christ argument, you operate as salt and light by countering that with the truth you know from God’s word. A gentle answer is usually most effective. In addition, boldness is required (the righteous are as bold as a lion). We must live on guard, filtering everything through the truth of God’s word and the gospel. The end result leads to speaking forth the truth to proclaim God’s kingdom to those living in darkness.
Taking thoughts captive
The final level consists of the day-to-day thoughts that would attack us. Thoughts may attack our faith in God’s word or attempt to undermine a word spoken to us by the Holy Spirit. Examples include:
- Discouraging thoughts that place a burden on our minds.
- Demeaning thoughts that accuse or condemn.
- Anxious thoughts that sap our energy.
- Distracting thoughts that disturb our focus.
All of these can be attacks from the enemy to cut us off from God and and godly thinking. Cast down these thoughts verbally as quickly as possible. “I reject that thought in Jesus’ name.” or “That’s not my thought – I believe God loves me.” Turn to prayer to cast the care upon the Lord; fix your eyes back on Jesus. Resist the devil by casting down ungodly thoughts.
4. Actively Resist: Confess the Word
Fourth, we come to the all-important step in resisting the devil: confessing the Word. This requires us to speak OUT LOUD the truth of God. Even so, there is a void to fill in our minds when we take captive thoughts and cast down arguments. It is not enough to fight the attack by kicking out the negative. We need to fill the void with the truth.
“When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.”Matthew 12 – Jesus
Don’t Leave the House Unoccupied
In this passage, Jesus tells of someone who is delivered “from” an impure spirit but not delivered “to” something better. It has been said that “idle hands are the devil’s workshop” and the same is true of the mind. Consequently, if we cast out the negative thinking but leave the “house unoccupied”, we invite the return of the enemy, and with a stronger force. The “house” (your mind) needs to be occupied with praise and thanksgiving, “truth” thinking and dwelling on God’s promises. An active confession of faith will accomplish this. An example of some Bible-based confessions follows:
- I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus
- In Jesus, I am more than a conqueror
- I am loved by God
- As God’s child, I am accepted in Christ
- I am a child of God, made in His image
Confess God’s word over your life; make your house a house of praise; give thanks to the Lord for He is good, his love endures forever! Resist the devil by confessing God’s word.
5. Actively Resist: Praise the Lord!
Our final step is to Praise the Lord! Praise for Lord will flow as we fill our minds with the good things of God. Additionally, praise rises as we dwell on his promises to us and remember his blessings. As we celebrate past deliverance and trust him for future victories, the result is a strong desire to give God praise! You resist the devil when you engage in worship of Almighty God.
In 2 Chronicles we read how God directed Israel to send the musicians and worshipers ahead of the warriors into battle. We praise the Lord because He is worthy but there are repercussions to our praise. Leading with praise leads us into victory over the enemy.
Praise is transformative – engaging in worship will steady you, strengthen you, and propel you forward in the fight against the enemy. Ultimately, praising God reconnects you with Him. Our worship reminds us who God is and magnifies Him in our mind. God is greater and God is good. As we turn to the Lord in worship and praise, we defeat the enemy’s work in our life. The devil’s desire is to disconnect you from God so he can destroy you. However, worship connects us with the Lord, edifies our spirit, strengthens our faith, and defeats the enemy. Resist the devil by praising the Lord!
Going Deeper on Resisting the Devil
Read Part 3: Fight like Jesus: Speak the Word to see the importance of defending yourself with the Word of God.