You may be falling into sin simply because you are out of order.
The Bible tells us to “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” but the line immediately preceding this says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God”.
This means before we can resist the devil, we must submit to God. We cannot resist the devil without submitting to God. We must first do step 1 before we can do step 2 so my question is, are you in order? Meditate on the steps below and ask God for wisdom and knowledge to deepen and widen your understanding. Set time aside to spend with God in prayer, conversation and in His Word.
Getting into Order
Step 1. Submit to God
You need to voluntarily rank beneath God and accept His will not your own. You need to die to yourself daily and surrender your life to God. You no longer live to satisfy yourself and your desires but to please God and to do what He asks of you. This is called “waking by the Spirit”. It is when we are connected to God and move as He directs us.
“And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit”. (Galatians 5:24-25)
As believers, we have a mission to walk by the Spirit. We can tell if we are walking by the Spirit if we see the “fruits” of the Spirit which include:
“..love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23)
However, the works of the flesh are obvious:
“..fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. Those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).
It is not only important but critical that we learn to live by the Spirit and not the flesh. When we live by the Spirit, we do not gratify the desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).
Step 2. Resist the devil
Once we are submitted to God and walking by the Spirit, then we are in a position of strength where we can “resist the devil”. It’s not a sin to be tempted. We are all tempted. Sin is birthed when we start entertaining temptation and breathing life into. Sin is given full effect when we cave in and give in to temptation.
Temptation is often a temporary suffering in the flesh.
“A silly idea is that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is… A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in.” (C.S Lewis, Mere Christianity)
We must do our best to endure temptation as it will pass. To “resist” is not a one-off attempt to try not to sin. We must enforce God’s Word and it’s authority (even speaking it out loud!). God has given believer’s authority over all power of the enemy according to Luke 10:19 which says
“See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you.”
The enemy fears the Word of God because it contains the means to overcome his tactics and foil, expose and bring to nothing Satan’s mission to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). Indeed, even the demons believe in the Word of God – and tremble (James 2:1).
The Word of God is powerful. It is your spiritual sword. Hebrews 4:12 tells us
“the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart”
If you fail, repent and try again seeking wisdom in the Word of God.Remember, Jesus sympathizes with us. He knows what it’s like to suffer in the flesh when we are tempted. He, Himself, was tempted in every way but He did not sin. So He must be source of advise and guidance that we run to in order to learn how to overcome the temptations we face.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16)
God’s got your back and He will help you through it, just ask Him! Don’t let fear or shame hold you back. Go to Him boldly and He will give you mercy and grace.
Step 3. The devil will flee
The enemy cannot withstand the power and authority of God. Satan is a defeated foe (Isaiah 14:12; Philippians 2:9-11). We just need to enforce our God given authority. Satan is a temporary nuisance to those walking with God but a real threat to those still coming to God. Pray for one another.
Step 4. Repeat steps 1-3
There is power, protection and blessing in walking by the Spirit with God. You can do all things through Him who gives you strength. Keep going. Keep trying. God will get you to where you need to be. He will strengthen and equip you with everything you need. Your job is to pray, to spend time with Him and to learn to recognise His voice. God is patient and He’s got you in the palm of His hand.
Dear God, Search me and correct any wrong way in me. If I am out of order, please show me and teach me your ways. Give me the willpower to die to myself and submit to you, the strength to resist the devil and the love to sincerely and aggressively pray for others. In Jesus’ Almighty name, Amen.