Have you ever faced a spiritual onslaught and then employed this verse: “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you”? You declared it, you shouted it, you cried it, you threw it around like an insult, and you even had a jolly good tantrum with it, yet nothing changed in your circumstances! In fact you ended by feeling condemned because it hadn’t worked. You are not alone. Many of us have been in that awful place. Today’s post examines how we can effectively apply this verse and walk in victory.
A few months ago, I experienced a deep spiritual heaviness. It hounded me for a couple of weeks and nothing I tried would shift it. I remained under the influence of whatever negative feelings washed over me.
One day I was walking in the forest and was talking to God about how I had been feeling. As I walked and prayed I was continuously bombarded by these waves of heaviness. I was worshipping, giving thanks, praying and resisting the devil. Nothing seemed to shift it.
My mind was suddenly directed to some of the prophetic words spoken over my life. There is one subject that has continually reoccurred in personal prophecies over the years, but as I got older I had begun to doubt that these prophecies would be fulfilled. I then remembered an incident that happened about a month earlier. Because of a number of disappointments it had become painful to think about these prophetic words, so I had intentionally laid them down. I had cast them off believing that they must have been incorrectly prophesied, and therefore weren’t for me. At the time it was a relief, but now that act of casting them off was playing in my mind. God was saying, ‘These words were from me”. In chosing to reject the prophecies, I had inadvertently stepped away from submission to God.
I made the decision to ‘pick them up’ again. I still could not see how they could be fulfilled, so I simply said: “Father I change my mind about these prophecies. I accept that you have spoken them over my life. I pick up the calling you have given me. I don’t know how it will happen but I agree to your call”. God had called me so I submitted myself to Him.
As soon as I had finished praying, I resisted the devil, and the heaviness which had plagued me lifted. It was then that the above scripture came to mind in its entirety:
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
I hadn’t considered that I was in disobedience to God. I had just put a set of prophecies aside which in a moment of weariness I wrongly concluded were not for me. That decision had exposed me to constant enemy attack because I had intentionally stepped away from God’s call. I was no longer submitted.
It is very easy for us to declare to one another “resist the devil”, when we hear someone is facing spiritual opposition. I have heard it so many times over the years. But that’s only half the scripture. Many people struggle against demonic spiritual attack but find such warfare powerless. The problem in nearly every case I have encountered is that they are busy using the second half of this scripture without first applying the first half. Submit to God.
Let me make something clear though. Submitting to God should not be a wearisome thing. We are not called to drag ourselves after God, like emaciated slaves. He is a loving Father who longs to walk in partnership with His children. We are called to live in the beauty of His presence. His plans for us are always good.
If you struggle with these demonic attacks, submit to God first. Ask Him if there is any area that you need to resubmit to Him. Let Him speak to your heart, and simply do what He asks. Then resist the devil and he will flee from you.
What are your stories of breakthrough? Please leave a comment below.
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