Speaking to the Soul – March 23

Resist the devil

Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. James 4:7–8

Life can often feel like a battleground. There is great evil in the world – any newspaper will illustrate that in agonising detail. But there is also immense kindness and goodness all around, if we have the eyes to see it. Daily life can often feel like a pitched battle between good and evil. James is concerned that his readers should make good decisions as they live on this battleground and that they should give undivided loyalty to God.

It is true that the devil is active and that his entire mission is to destroy. He prowls around like a roaring lion looking for people to devour (1 Peter 5:8). But the good news is that God is stronger and so we don’t need to live in fear of the devil. If we resist him then he will flee from us. When Jesus died on the cross he won the ultimate victory over the power of evil, and so our task is simply to claim that victory. Clearly evil didn’t come to an end on the cross. The world is still full of evil. What happened on the cross was like D Day. Once that decisive day took place in 1944 it was clear that final victory would be ours. There were many bloody battles after that time, but the victory in May 1945 was bound to happen. As Christians we live between D Day and VE Day, knowing that because Christ died on the cross, final victory is certain.

Through Jesus’ death on the cross and the knowledge that our sins can be forgiven, we can live each day with confidence. In the name of Jesus we can stand up against all the evil that this world chucks at us knowing that, as we come close to God, he comes close to us.

Given that the devil is so active and destructive, in what specific ways do you need to resist him?

Lord Jesus I praise you that, because of your death on the cross and your resurrection, I can live today with complete confidence. Help me to stand strongly for you and to resist whatever the devil throws at me. Amen