The Source Of Victory
By Theodore H. Epp
Although Satan is a powerful foe, with divine help the Christian can cope with him. A believer can resist him. The Bible says: "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (Jas. 4:7). The word "resist" means "to withstand, to be firm against someone else’s onsets."
The word "resist" also indicates that we are not to flee from this enemy. Courage is called for in this fight, and courage God will give His child. Satan and his forces have to flee when the Christian stands his ground in the might of the Lord. Our standing, or maintaining our ground, is the goal in this battle (Eph. 6:13).
The book of Ephesians gives ample proof that God will provide His child with the needed strength for the conflict. In chapter 1, verse 19, we read of the "exceeding greatness of His [the Father’s] power to usward who believe." In the sixth chapter the armor for the conflict points to Christ. In verse 18 of the same chapter the Holy Spirit’s contribution to our help in the warfare is emphatically expressed. It is through prayer, controlled and directed by the Holy Spirit, that we put on and keep on the armor, which is Christ, and find ourselves empowered by the Father.
Each member of the Trinity has a part in the believer’s victory over the evil one. We must always remember that our help lies in God and not in ourselves. Humble yourselves under God’s hand, and He will exalt you (1 Pet. 5:6). With infinite power on our side, Satan cannot stand against us.
Let it be added here that there is only one devil, but there are myriads of subordinate fallen angels and evil spirits operating under Satan though unseen by us. Usually our personal combat is with these, but we are using the words devil and Satan in this study as general and all-embracing terms.
The Channel of Victory
The Lord Jesus Christ at the present time channels His victory through the members of His Body. Jesus is the Head of the Church, and we, being members of His Body, carry out His will. He is the Mind for the Body, and the Planner. He originates the strategy and carries it out through us. No matter how much we may wish it could be so, sitting down at a desk and thinking would not mow the grass on our lawns – far from it. When that type of work needs to be done, our bodies must do it.
The same thing is true in the Body of Jesus Christ. When He wants something done, He does it through us. Our relationship to Him is as close as our little fingers are related to our bodies. If I want to write, my mind cannot do the writing. It does the dictating, and my hand must take the pen and apply the writing to paper.
It is for this reason we are told in Ephesians 6 to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. There is no other power by which we can overcome the evil one. And just as our physical muscles increase through use, so will our spiritual muscles become stronger as we consistently wage this warfare against Satan. Through us Christ is working in this world.
I remember dealing with a Christian brother some time ago who prayed that God would resist Satan. I broke right into his prayer and said, "Brother, that’s not what God told you to pray. If you want release, you tell the devil in the Name of Christ that you are resisting him. Take your stand." The man took his stand and was released. The whole spiritual tension broke. The pressure was lifted.
God’s plan is to use us as channels through which His power can flow to resist and cast down the enemy of our souls. That strength does not lie in us; it lies in Christ, but He accomplishes this victory through us.
We must beware of laying an unwholesome stress on this subject as some have done in the past. In fact, that may be one of the reasons why so many present-day Christians fail to take this subject seriously. They draw back from it because of extreme positions held by some in the past. The fact remains, however, that the command to resist the devil is from the same Lord who told us to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Sooner or later each Christian who seeks to obey God’s command and be filled with the Spirit will of necessity have to face situations in which he or she must resist the devil. Many times we will come in contact and in actual combat with satanic forces that control the spiritual darkness of this world (Eph. 6:12; 2 Cor. 11:14).
God has not left the resisting of the devil to a special few whom He has chosen for that task. The admonition is to every believer. All of us who are born into the family of God must live out our earthly life in a sphere where we are constantly challenged by the forces of Satan.
Techniques for Victory
A key passage dealing with techniques for victory is James 4:7: "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." The divine order for successful resistance is that we learn to resist Satan as we submit to God. Failure on our part to submit to God means defeat at the hand of the enemy.
The language here is taken from warfare. We are to "submit" as a good soldier places himself under his military leader. "Resist" means to stand bravely against the foe. But victory begins and ends with our submission to God. The prayer of the Christian should be: "If this is of God, I will accept it. If it is of Satan, I will resist it in Christ’s Name."
This is the Calvary way of victory. This was the way our Savior trod. He was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
We see this victory in Abraham’s life when he offered up his son, Isaac, without once questioning God’s command. When Abraham gave full demonstration of his submission and obedience, God reiterated His promise to make him the father of a great nation.
There was a time lapse between the command of God to Abraham to offer up his son and the moment when God intervened and provided a ram in place of Isaac. There are times in our experience when the enemy is allowed to rage, but only until we demonstrate our full submission to God. God delights to give us victory over Satan and cause Satan to flee, but if we have missed that victory, we can trace it to our lack of submission to God….
In coming to surrender more fully to God, we must beware of the methods Satan has used to trip up many of God’s children. Like the Psalmist many of us have said, "Lord, I want you to examine my soul, and see if there is any wicked way in me." Now, that is good as far as it goes, but do not stop there. To throw the door open in that manner without going any farther gives Satan the opportunity he wants. He will dig up some old sin that we put under the blood a long time ago and flay our conscience with it. At such a time as that we overlook a very practical truth the Apostle Paul uttered when he said, "Forgetting those things which are behind…" (Phil. 3:13). When sins are under the blood of Jesus, we should never seek to bring them forth to the light of day again.
When you cast yourself upon God to show you if there is any wicked way in you, you may be confident that He will show you some things that are wrong in your life. So be sure to immediately cast yourself upon His mercy and thank Him for putting your entire life under the blood. This gives Satan no opportunity to break in on your life (1 John 1:9).
This final passage comes from 1 Peter where we read, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world (1 Pet. 5:8-9).
Here we are admonished to be vigilant or alert. This is not the alertness born of fear, but it is rather the alertness that comes through the study of the Word which in turn teaches us not to be ignorant of Satan’s devices.
– From How To Resist Satan by Theodore H. Epp.