Over the years, I have had many discussions with people about the devil… mostly regarding ways that they are fighting against him, or resisting him. I have heard of many different methods, from arguing with him, ignoring him, screaming at him, performing deliverance rituals. There are literally hundreds of unique ways in which people have come up with over the years to resist the devil.
The scriptures however, do not leave us guessing about the way in which to do so. You may be surprised that the many methods I have mentioned, have all been heard inside of Christian communities, and none of them have any real foundation in scripture. So what I want to share with you today, is what the scripture actually says regarding resisting the devil. And by seeing this, you can resist him with absolute confidence knowing that you already have victory in Christ Jesus.
In battle, there are certain truths… a confused enemy will soon be defeated. A lot of the people whom I have talked to, are confused about the devil and about how to resist him. And there is no finger-pointing going on here because I was in the same confusion… stuck there for many years, and when I was finally freed from that by the truth of Christ, it was very liberating and empowering – as the truth of Jesus always is. So I want to pass that same freeing truth onto whoever needs it.
Let’s not waste any more time and get right into it! And our scripture text is going to be 1st Peter 5:6-9:
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
Casting all your care on him; for he cares for you.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour:
Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brothers that are in the world.”
And right in verse 6, we see something very enlightening! When I actually saw this verse for what it is saying, it opened my awareness to see the real character of God, not just who men had told me He was.
You see, I used to think that the hand of God was a heavy hand. I used to think that the hand of God was a hand of oppression. I didn’t see God as a friend, I saw Him as a figure of torture and torment.
A lot of the people that I talk to still have this view of God, at least partially. And this is an important thing to address, because if we see God as a source of fear, and oppression, it will stop us cold, before we even approach Him. We won’t have the confidence to approach God openly and honestly if we are afraid of Him, or what He might do to us, or how He may react.
We must conquer this lie about God first, before we can proceed. We must unveil the truth about God and let the light of Christ dispel the darkness of the lie.
Romans 5:8 makes it clear that God demonstrated His love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. And this completely decimates the lie of God being a tormentor, or someone who is just waiting to strike us down.
Think of it… as I stated, I saw God as an object of fear, a source of pain and punishment. I believed the lie, that many people still do today, that says that God is someone who delights in punishing them; someone who is just waiting for the opportunity to strike them with His “heavy hand”.
However if that were really the case, then Romans 5:8 would not be true. Because while we were yet sinners, while we were still dirty and rotten, and separated from God at that very moment in time… that is when God demonstrated His love for us! He didn’t demonstrate His judgment. He didn’t demonstrate His condemnation or punishment. Oh, He could have! He could’ve swept the entire world and it’s inhabitants away and started fresh… but He didn’t.
And as the verse says here in 1st Peter 5:6, His hand is not a Heavy Hand of oppression, but it is a Mighty Hand of exaltation! This is a hand of protection, of comfort, and a hand of loving care. You are to humble yourself under His mighty hand just as one would stay under an umbrella for shelter from the rain. And we see that His mighty hand is not one that pushes you down or beats you to death, but it is actually a hand that exalts you and lifts you up! Are you starting to see the real character of God here?
As we continue to verse 7, we can also see that we are to cast all our cares on Him, because He cares for you!
Again, this is a tough one for a lot of people, for the exact same reason… an inaccurate view of the character of God. If you see God in an unloving way, as someone who is more interested in hurting you than helping you… or if you see Him as someone you would rather run away from than run towards, then this verse won’t really make much sense to you.
However let this verse speak to you about the real character and nature of God, without all of the man-made false doctrines and ideas getting in the way and this will open your entire world.
Back when I saw God with negative lenses, I never threw my cares onto Him… in-fact I saw Him as someone who was burdening me with extra cares, and then got mad at me and punished me if I didn’t handle them all! (which added more cares – you see the vicious cycle)
Yet here we can see that not only can you cast your cares upon Jesus, but you are actually supposed to! He wants you to give Him all of your cares – you were never designed to carry them. It’s time to let Him be the God, and you be the creation of His delight. And why can you cast your cares upon Him? Because He cares for you. Despite what religion may have told you! Let the truth of His care for you sink in deep.
Now what does all this have to do with resisting the devil? Well I’m glad you asked! You see, the devil really only has one weapon at His disposal: lies. And once those lies are exposed by the truth of Christ, then the devil has nothing left. He has already been totally defeated by Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:15). We are never told to defeat the enemy ourselves; that has already been done by Jesus. We are told to stand, and to stand in a very specific way.
Notice verse 8, says to be sober and vigilant… in other words: calm, collected and alert. Why exactly? Because the devil roams around as a roaring lion. Now take notice that this does not say that the devil “is” a roaring lion – it says that he goes around “as” or like a roaring lion. This is key because we know that one of the titles of God is the “Lion of Judah” and the devil often imitates God. In this case, the devil imitates God as a lion, but specifically a roaring one. A lion that tries to dominate or strike fear into you… exactly the way that many people see God today.
Many people today think of God as a roaring lion… one who is angry; a God who strikes terror into their hearts, and that is exactly what the devil does…lies. The devil holds up a distorted picture of God to keep people from honestly approaching Him. And those are the people who the devil can ultimately devour. Notice that he seeks who he may devour, which means that he can’t just devour whoever he wants to.
Now notice verse 9, Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brothers that are in the world.
This is how you resist the devil… not by any of those methods I mentioned in the opening of this study… not by jumping through religious hoops, screaming, arguing, or any such thing. But you resist him by remaining steadfast in the faith. What faith is this? It’s the faith of Jesus Christ; the faith of what He has done; how He has bridged the gap, finished the work and made peace between you and God once again. It’s the faith of what we have read in the previous verses, about how God actually cares for you, and you can (and should) place all of your cares upon Him – meaning you don’t have any cares left to carry. It’s the faith that you are under God’s mighty hand of protection and loving-kindness. How His hand doesn’t press you down, but lifts you up and exalts you.
That is the faith you stand in. And in that faith, the lies of the enemy have no point of penetration.
And as we close today, look at the second-half of verse 9. This part is often misconstrued as though suffering is guaranteed… but it is actually a marvelous testimony about the amazing redemption of Jesus!
It’s all wrapped-up in that one word, translated into English as “accomplished”. Notice the verse says that we “Know” that the very same afflictions that we experience, are “accomplished” in our brother in the world.
You see that word translated as accomplished, is actually a Greek word, whose meaning is “to complete “, “to bring to an end”.
This has to do with testimonies. The Bible is a book filled with testimonies. Of provisions, of healings, of complete and total salvation. Likewise you have brothers and sisters in Christ even now who offer their testimonies of what Jesus has done and continues to do. Let those fill your heart. Let those minister to you, until you “Know” that they have been accomplished just as this verse says – and then know that you are no different from any of them. You have the very same God, the very same Jesus, who saves, heals and delivers you just the same as them; who loves you just the same. And stand in that… and rest in that as well.
I encourage you today. That is how you resist the devil. Not by trying to defeat an already defeated foe. But by exposing his lies for the emptiness that they are. By standing (and resting) in the truth of Jesus Christ for you.