Christians often speak about “battling the enemy.” The idea is that the enemy is on the prowl and he can and will devour us if we let him. But the truth is that we often give the enemy more power than he actually has. God’s Word doesn’t call us to struggle against the enemy; rather we are called to stand firm. Let me explain…
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Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. – James 4:7
The truth is that if you have submitted yourself to God, the enemy has no choice but to flee when you resist him. 1 Peter 5:8-9 tells us yet again that the key to defeating the devil is resistance. The Greek word used here is anthistēmi which means “to set against” or “withstand.” Other definitions of the word include “anti” or “oppose.” None of these definitions imply a struggle to survive.
When we face the deceptions of the enemy, we need to remember that Jesus already won the battle. We simply need to stand in that truth.
Jesus never called us to struggle against the enemy; He called us to stand firm and resist him.
A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. – Ephesians 6:10 (NLT)
Our strength comes from Jesus. We do not have to stand firm against the enemy on our own strength.
Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. – Ephesians 6:11 (NLT)
Again, our strength comes from God. He has supplied us with the armor we need to defend ourselves against the enemy. Notice how this verse tells us to stand firm. So often we picture a battle where we are struggling to win (and in some cases survive). There is no struggle pictured here – we are simply called to stand in the strength that comes from the Lord.
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. – Ephesians 6:12 (NLT)
At first glance, this verse can seem intimidating. But we must remember who the devil is and what he is not capable of doing.
God’s Word tells us to resist the enemy and HE HAS TO FLEE. Think about that for a minute.
The devil can’t MAKE you do anything. He may seek to steal, kill, and destroy; but because you have the Holy Spirit inside of you, he can’t do any of those things unless you allow him to do so. All he can do is try to deceive you and tempt you. If you don’t take the bait, he holds no power. Never forget that in the name of Jesus, you have authority over the enemy. Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world! (1 John 4:4)
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. – Ephesians 6:13-17 (NLT)
Notice again that this passage says nothing about struggle. We are simply called to resist the enemy and stand our ground. Nearly every piece of armor is defensive rather than offensive. Our only offensive weapon is the sword of the Spirit.
Not only that, but our shoes are literally composed of peace. So basically, God is telling us in this passage that in the midst of our battles with the enemy, we are walking in the peace of God.
Now I’m not suggesting that the battle isn’t real. There is a very real enemy at work. But I see so many of us (myself included) live our lives in a constant state of struggle and survival. We need to cling to the truth that Jesus already defeated the enemy on the cross. We already have our victory in Him.
When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, the enemy used His circumstances against Him. (Matthew 4:1-11) Satan knew that Jesus was hungry and weak from fasting, so he “attacked.”
But what did this attack look like? It consisted of deception and temptation. It was a battle of the mind. The enemy distorted Scripture and appealed to Jesus’ current weakness (hunger).
How did Jesus respond? He responded to each temptation with Scripture. He reminded the enemy that he had no power over Him. Jesus was going to accomplish His mission on the cross, and there was nothing Satan could do to stop it.
We are called to fight our battles the same way using the truth of God’s Word. When faced with deception and temptations, we simply have to remind the enemy that Jesus already won the battle. He has no power over us because we are children of God. And because of this truth, he has to flee.
We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. – 1 John 5:18
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.