The Devil has three methods to blind unbelievers and deceive Christians, and being aware of Satan’s schemes is important if we want to obey the command in James 4:7: “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
But awareness of Satan’s strategy is not enough. There is more we must do. So, let’s examine six practical ways to resist the Devil, and keep him running scared.
If you are not a Christian, Satan owns you. You are his slave. But if you have trusted Christ, God has redeemed you (Colossians 1:12–14).
1. Receive Christ as Your Savior
This decision thwarts Satan’s plans more than any other. Why? Let’s say I decided to open a hamburger stand. I would have control over it, because I owned it. On the other hand, if I only owned one hundred shares in McDonald’s, I would have very little influence over that corporation. If you are not a Christian, Satan owns you. You are his slave. But if you have trusted Christ, God has redeemed you (Colossians 1:12–14). The Devil still can influence you with whatever little stock you leave him, but he can never possess you. You are now possessed—owned—by God Almighty (Ephesians 1:13–14). The Holy Spirit has sealed and secured you as part of Christ’s Bride, the Church.
2. Refuse to Participate in Occult Activities
As members of the Bride of Christ, we must not commit spiritual adultery by participating in the occult. Occult means “secret” or “hidden.” Occult practices are attempts to experience the supernatural apart from God. The Bible warns against three specific occult practices:
Divination. Do not attempt to discover the future apart from God’s revelation. Astrology, horoscopes, and Ouija boards all involve divination. In Deuteronomy 18:10–11, we read, “There shall not be found among you anyone who… uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.”
Magic. Magic does not mean pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Real magic involves harnessing Satan’s power to produce a supernatural result. In Exodus 7–11, Pharaoh’s magicians mimicked, to some degree, the miracles Moses performed. During the Great Tribulation, the False Prophet—The Antichrist’s right-hand man—will possess great ability from Satan to perform false signs and wonders (Revelation 13). But God is the One who will allow him to temporarily wield this power (2 Thessalonians 2:8–12). As part of their final judgement, God will allow the Antichrist and the False Prophet to deceive those who have already rejected Christ.
Spiritism. Spiritism is the attempt to contact the spirits of the dead. Satan has the power to use spiritists to delude people. Even today, we hear of detectives trying to contact the dead to solve criminal cases. God forbids this. Look at Leviticus 20:6–7, “As for the person who turns to mediums and to spiritists to play the harlot after them, I will set my face against that person and will cut him off from among his people. You shall consecrate yourselves therefore and be holy, for I am the Lord your God.” Despite this warning, King Saul contacted a spiritist in 1 Samuel 28. His doom quickly followed.
3. Renounce Satan and His Kingdom
Reject any agreements you have made with Satan. I know this sounds strange. However, the more I study Scripture, and the more I speak to other believers, the more I find that some Christians—at some point—have made an agreement with the Devil.
It usually happens when a believer finds himself in desperate need. He pleads with God to intervene. But God remains silent. Out of bitterness, he cries, “God, if I cannot count on You, then I will ask Satan.”
This is exactly what motivated Saul. 1 Samuel 28:6 states, “When Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him.” Dissillusioned with God, Saul made the fatal decision to seek out the witch of Endor (28:7). This may not apply to many of you. But if you have made a bargain with the Devil, ask God for forgiveness, tell Him that any agreement you made with Satan is null and void, and commit to follow Christ alone.
4. Resist Satan’s Attempts to Influence Your Life.
In a battle, we need armor. Ephesian 6:13 says, “Stand firm, take up the full armor of God that you might be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”
The Belt of Truth (6:14). Satan tells lies to draw you away from worshiping and serving God. When the Devil’s temptations come, confront him with God’s truth.
The Breastplate of Righteousness (6:14). What is one thing God wants you to do today? What is one thing He wants you to stop doing? Obey God in what He has already revealed.
The Boots of the Gospel of Peace (6:15). Decide to reach as many people for Christ as possible while you still walk the earth. When we make God’s purpose our purpose, we have great incentive to say “no” to Satan.
Take Up the Shield of Faith (6:16). Move forward in spite of your doubts. God is in control—trust Him. God rewards the righteous—obey Him. God’s Kingdom will prevail—serve Him.
The Helmet of Salvation (6:17). Remember that Christ has saved you! He not only delivered you from the penalty of sin, but also from the power of sin. One practical way to wear the Helmet of Salvation is to memorize Romans 6:11–13. Christ’s resurrection power is working in you right now.
The Sword of the Spirit (6:17). Your weapon is the Bible. Jesus recalled specific Scriptures to combat specific temptations. Like Jesus, you must memorize Scripture to battle Satan’s seductions. Not doing so could cost you your family and your eternal reward.
5. Rely on Prayer.
Prayer is our spiritual oxygen. In Ephesians 6:18, Paul wraps up his discussion of the Armor of God by saying, “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.” The Holy Spirit uses prayer to empower us.
6. Remember: Victory Is Possible.
Spiritual warfare is not imaginary. In fact, most of the conflicts we face every day stem from this unseen battle. Any lull you may be experiencing is simply Satan reloading. He will not rest until he takes you out. But Christ has already won your salvation. And you can have victory in this life as well. Remember 1 John 4:4, “Greater is He [the Holy Spirit] who is in you, than he who is in the world.”