‘Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.’ (James 4:7)
When we typed the word ‘bullying’ into an Internet search engine, it came back with 593,000 pages worldwide and 160,000 pages in the UK alone. Clearly this is a subject of some interest these days! But of course, there is nothing new about bullying. It is as old as the hills. And the solution to bullying is just as old too. As the old saying puts it: stand up to a bully and he will back down.
The Bible says that this is true of the biggest bully of all - Satan. Satan is undoubtedly powerful – though we should never imagine that he is anywhere near as powerful as God! So, while we should be careful of him, we by no means need to be afraid of him, for Christ has stripped him of his power at the cross. But Satan doesn’t give up easily! He still ‘prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour’ (1 Peter 5:8). But he really is just a bully, trying to throw his weight around, trying to get us to believe that he has more power than he really does, trying to convince us that we have to do what he says or wants – but with absolutely no authority to do so!
The New Testament’s solution to this spiritual bully is simple: stand up to him! Not in our own strength, of course, but in God’s strength. That’s why James tells us that the first step is to ‘submit to God’ – that is, to make God and God’s will our focus and our intent. Paul says that we then need to ‘put on all of God’s armour’ – the Greek word he used meant the full armour a Roman soldier wore for going into battle. That armour, he sa
id, are things like truth, faith and prayer. With those in place, all we then need to do is to simply stand! Stand up against the bully; and as we do so, the Bible promises, the devil really will flee! Try it today and see.
Put on all of God’s armour so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the devil. (Ephesians 6:11, NLT)
Copyright © 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont