James 4:7 – Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
We often hear the phrase “victory over the devil” in Christian circles, but few realize that James 4:7 provides a strategy for complete victory. The strategy is simple. First, one is to submit to God. Submission is obedience. It is obeying the voice of God and being submissive to whatever it is that He wants for your life. Submission is shunning sin, and embracing righteousness. Submission is allowing God to plan your direction and future.
After Christians have fully submitted to God’s sovereignty, they are to resist Satan. The word resist in James 4:7 means to withstand, strive against or oppose in some manner. The word resist is from the Greek word anthístēmi, which means to “take a complete stand against” or a “contrary position” and “refusing to be moved.”
In other words, Christians are taking a defense stand against satan as if readying to engage in war. No one goes to war without proper armor. Ephesians 6:13-18 explains what the armor is and also teaches us that the weapon used in spiritual warfare is a Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Using scripture is another means of gaining victory over satan.
When we take a strong spiritual stand, with God on our side, satan flees. In the Greek, the word for ‘flee’ is the word pheugō, and whenever this word is used in scripture it’s often used to describe someone fleeing for their lives, terrified that they’ll perish if they don’t escape. The technical definition is to seek safety by flight and to escape out of danger. These words help us understand just how dangerous Christians become when they stand against the devil.
When Christians are prepared for spiritual battle, satan knows he cannot have victory, and so he runs for his life, rather than experience defeat.