The Lord has graciously, by his love and kindness, given us principles to guide us and direct us to him. Sometimes putting these principles into easy to understand steps, helps us see and understand these principles that we might not have recognized before. This can give us a road map to a deeper walk with Jesus. My prayer is that these steps for resisting the devil will help you see a clear path to protect your mind, heart, and spirit from the wiles of the devil.
1 What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. And you are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”? 6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.” 7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.James 4:1-10 NASB
Step 1 – Humble yourself before God
The first step in resisting the devil to protect your mind, heart, and spirit is to recognize that you are incapable of protecting yourself from the devil. Acknowledge that you are completely dependent upon God and his mercy and grace. Only through faith in Jesus Christ is this possible. Otherwise, we are completely vulnerable to the wiles of the devil.
The wiles of the devil are his ways of manipulating us to do what he wants, rather than what God has for us. Commit your heart to the Lord and his will for your life. Recognize that you are created by and for God.
For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation: for by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or rulers, or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.Colossians 1:13-16 NASB
In other words, everything, including you, belong to God. Recognizing, accepting, and embracing this principle is essential in protecting yourself from the devil. Throw yourself on the mercy of God and surrender your life to him. Renounce the devil and all of his ways. Turn to the Lord and he will deliver you from the devil and his dark ways.
When you give your life to Christ, he transfers you into his kingdom of light. When you are humble before him, you will be prepared for the next step.
Step 2 – Submit to God
I have heard many stories of people afraid to submit to God, because they don’t know what He’s going to ask them to do. This is so sad, because the safest place to be is in Christ Jesus. He is the only wise God who loves you with an everlasting love.
John 3:16 tells us,
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Jesus Christ showed himself to be completely trustworthy. As the one true God, he could have stopped the process leading to your salvation at any time, yet he endured the cross and all the suffering associated with it. This took great courage and love.
Knowing that he could have destroyed everyone who mistreated him at any time, yet he continued on from birth as a mere human being until he had completed his great work on the cross, should fill us with thankfulness and love for our great and loving Savior who is worthy of our trust and our worship.
Do not fear submitting yourself fully to the Lord. Let his love and care direct and guide you. Seek him with all of your heart and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus himself said,
Come to Me, all who are wearing and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my load is light.Matthew 11:28-30 NASB
Jesus loves you and cares for you, so much so that he gave his own life for you. Trust in him.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes; fear the LORD, and depart from evil.Proverbs 3:5-7 KJV
To fear the Lord is to be in awe of him, recognizing his power and authority. God’s character is so great that he loves us and personally directs us by his Holy Spirit. Your mind, heart, and spirit are completely safe in him. Knowing this, you can freely submit your entire being to your loving Creator. This enables you to stop trying to control your own life and to give control over to the Lord, submitting to his will and depending fully upon him.
Jesus, the greatest and only perfect human being that ever lived, the God-man, went to the cross with these words to Father God, “Thy will be done.” Jesus set the example of following God no matter what. If he had not done so, we would have no hope.
Submitting to the Lord is our only hope to walk in destiny and purpose.
Step 3 – Draw near to God
When we are following the Lord, we are not following the devil. We can only follow one master at a time or we will be double-minded and unstable in all our ways.
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.James 1:5-7 NASB
When we doubt God and instead focus on the things of this world, we are not focused on Christ. This is how we open the way for the evil one, Satan, to manipulate us and draw us away from our loving God and Savior.
What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. And you are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”?James 4:1-5 NASB
When quarrels, conflicts, and lusts occur, it is because we put the things of this world over God. Once you have chosen to love the things of the world, rather than God, you walk away from the light and into darkness, which is idolatry, a form of adultery against God. Lust is any selfish desire. If it’s all about you, the focus is not on Christ or the needs of others, instead lust’s focus is on your own selfish desires that don’t take anyone or anything else into account.
That is exactly where Satan wants us.
Step 4 – Resist the devil
Resist the devil by focusing your attention on Christ and his word rather than on the fears and emotions inside you. If you are angry, don’t stuff the anger, release it to the Lord. Tell him about it. Give it to him and ask him to fill you with peace and wisdom to resolve whatever is causing your anger.
If you are reading the word of God and memorizing portions, you will have something to draw on when the devil is manipulating you to sin. In Luke chapter 4, we see that when Jesus was under attack by Satan, he used the word of God to resist the manipulations of the devil. The devil tried to provoke emotions in Jesus and to draw him away from the truth, but Jesus countered Satan’s every manipulation with a truth from the Bible.
During this time, Jesus literally did not feed his flesh. He fasted for 40 days. At the end, when he was at his physical weakest, the devil attacked. Jesus spent that entire 40 days seeking God and immersing himself in truth and light. He may have been physically weak, but he was full of the power of God.
Despite his physical hunger, Jesus said,
“Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”Matthew 4:4 NASB
This is one of the scriptures that Jesus used to fight against the wiles of the devil at the end of his fast. Despite not eating in 40 days, he was feasting on the words of God and filling himself with strength.
You can do the same thing by following these instructions:
We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,2 Corinthians 10:5 NASB
If possible, speak out loud, something like this, “No. God’s word says,” followed by a truth from God’s word. This is how you take your thoughts captive. You recognize them and stop letting them continue.
Next, fill your mind with truth from God’s word, which is obedience to Christ. You don’t have to speak aloud, especially if you are around other people, but if you are alone, it can be very helpful to speak aloud, so you can audibly hear the truth from your own mouth.
Do not carry on any kind of conversation speaking to a devil. It will only suck you right back in. They can and do speak to your mind. That is one way they manipulate you. Do not engage them. You are speaking to bring yourself into alignment with God and his word to renew your mind.
As the Lord draws near to you, the devil will flee from you
If you have been spending time reading, meditating on, and memorizing the word of God, you will have an arsenal of scripture to fight the battle raging in your mind and the devil will flee from you, along with thoughts that take you further away from God. If you don’t have this arsenal yet, take the time to begin a regular prayer and Bible time. Meditate on the scripture that you have read that day and fill your mind with it, asking God to reveal what he wants you to learn from it.
When the devil inevitably attacks, bring that scripture immediately to mind and use it to protect yourself, even if it doesn’t seem to pertain directly to what you are facing, it will shift your focus back to the Lord rather than on the manipulations of the devil.
Once you are in a place where you are humbled before God, submitted to him, near to him, and have resisted the devil, continue to walk in the mind of Christ. This is a constant walk that requires you to choose Christ throughout your day. As soon as you realize that you are under attack from the devil, refocus your mind on what is good, such as the tasks at hand and on Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.Philippians 4:8 NASB
This is an excellent passage to commit to memory. When your thoughts get off track and your need to bring them back into obedience to Christ, this verse can be very effective in helping you do that.
God bless you as you use these steps to recognize and implement the biblical principles to resist the devil to protect your heart, mind, and spirit from the manipulation of the devil.