Authority to Resist


In order to avoid the devil, we must totally submit ourselves to God.

James 4:7  

United States embassies represent safety for the persecuted all over the world. Headed by an ambassador and his or her staff, an embassy is an arm of the United States government and represents American’s values: freedom, safety, and shelter. Once a person gets on the grounds of an American embassy compound, that person is protected in the same way as if he or she was in America.

Famous moments in history illustrate the power that an embassy has to resist oppression. In 1978, a group of six Siberian Pentecostal Christians asked for asylum in the basement of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. Claiming religious persecution, they lived there until 1983 when they were allowed to emigrate. In 1975, at the end of the Vietnam War, thousands of South Vietnamese citizens fought to get through the gates and onto the grounds of the American Embassy in Saigon to escape approaching North Vietnamese armies. Evil forces of oppression can be resisted, but they are resisted most effectively from the vantage point of a “safe place.” For the Christian, God is like an American embassy is to a persecuted person in a foreign land—a place from which the enemy can be resisted and turned away.

Many believers can quote the second half of James 4:7—“Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” But to separate the second part from the first part—“Submit yourselves, then, to God”—is to strip the verse of its power. It is while taking refuge in God—submitting wholly to his authority—that the devil’s power is turned back. To resist the devil without submitting to God would be like a Saigon citizen brazenly yelling at the entire North Vietnamese army to turn around and “Leave us alone!” The command lacks authority and strength.

The believer enters God’s protection by repenting of pride (Jas. 4:6) and putting on all the armor of God (Eph. 6:10-18). In a manner of speaking, a humble Christian wholly submitted to God is like a persecuted foreigner standing inside the locked gate of an American embassy—“No harm will befall you, no disaster will come near [you]” (Ps. 91:10). Make sure you have taken up residence in God today.

God’s Promise to You: “The devil hears you when you speak from my perspective.”

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