My husband and I have these deep conversations. He is very analytical about life and that causes him to have some interesting thoughts. It is one of the things I love most about him because it provokes me to look at life from another angle.
We can be sitting outside on the porch swing after dinner and I will ask him a question about his thoughts on something. He will look away for a moment, then he will say, “Let’s go for a drive.” We’ll hop in the car, go to Sonic, and drive around and talk for an hour. These have come to be some of my favorite times with him.
That is what happened last night. It began with me asking him about what his personal goals are for the next year, seeing as we just celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary and are transitioning into a new season of our life together in many ways. This conversation went off on a rabbit trail, as it usually does, and we got on the topic of fighting spiritual battles.
We, along with many others in the church, have been taught to fight these long and hard spiritual battles against Satan. We are taught about the armor of God and how prayer is a weapon, and on and on. After all, the Bible says, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7 NKJV)
That is all true.
But then this thought occurred to me…
What if the battle we are fighting is more about submitting to God than resisting the devil?
Just hear me out.
The emphasis has always been on resisting the devil, which is 100% important. But we’ve turned RESISTING the devil into FIGHTING the devil, as if we can do that on our own or something. We’ve created a battle out of something that is really supposed to be the application of our authority given to us by the Holy Spirit.
You see, I’ve discovered that I am my own worst enemy. God has delivered me from so much bondage. That is why I get upset when I feel like I still struggle with some of my same old habits of thinking.
That is exactly my problem though. It is all in my head. I know what it is like to truly be a slave to something that isn’t of God. But being a slave to sin and being tempted by sin are not the same thing. My mind has these conditioned responses to situations that I learned when I was still in bondage. Even though I am free from that prison, my thoughts do not yet know how to operate fully outside of it. I can’t blame it all on Satan.
It is the process of submitting my thoughts to God that is the most difficult battle. The battle against my own flesh.
One battle against my flesh that I deal with is deciding to read God’s Word every day.
If I read my Bible when I wake up in the morning, I have the most productive and joyful day, even when bad things happen. My mind has been renewed and I feel strong spiritually.
On days that I don’t read the Bible, there is a significant difference. When I am faced with a challenge, which is most days lately, I struggle to see my life the way God sees it. I give in to my insecurities and I withdraw into myself. I begin to feel afraid.
The hardest part is fully submitting ourselves to God. Submitting to Him is what gives us His armor and authority to resist the devil. Until we understand that step of telling our flesh “NO” and telling God “YES”, we will be fighting a losing battle that shouldn’t have been a fight at all.
There are a lot of Christians who don’t realize they do this, but they are trying to fight Satan so they can get closer to God. It is so backwards. And we keep doing it.
The Bible does not say Satan separates us from God. It says our sins separate us from God:
But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.
Satan was defeated at the cross. Not by us, but by the death and resurrection of Jesus. We must repent and make our flesh submit to the champion of the battle to also be champions. We cannot “fight” Satan with our own strength. But we can resist him with submission to God and the renewing of our minds. This is what makes him FLEE! He just runs away because he knows God is in charge!
If we can get this right, more people would become free and stay free.
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