1 Peter 5:8 tells us that “your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking someone he may devour.” The devil hates it when he sees believers loving God and furthering His work here on earth. And he’ll try to do whatever he needs to stop it, even devouring us one lie at a time.
He’ll remind us of that time way back when someone rejected us, and he’ll tempt us to become bitter about it. He’ll tell us over and over that we’re no good and our service to God isn’t counting for anything, until we believe it and quit. He’ll tell us God doesn’t love us or care about what we’re going through, and when our circumstances don’t change, if we believe the lie, we are tempted to turn our back on God and run back into the waiting arms of the tempter’s world.
So what do we do? How do we resist becoming fodder for the devil? James gives us the answer in James 4:7, “Therefore submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
As always, we can learn from our perfect example: Jesus. He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness where he fasted 40 days and nights and then was tempted by the tempter. (Matthew 4) I can imagine satan shadowing Christ through the wilderness those 40 days and nights, watching Him, studying Him, learning His weaknesses to use against Him in order to pull Him out of His impending ministry and into the world. And when Jesus was at His weakest and most vulnerable, the tempter spoke.
Jesus was hungry, so he tempted him with food. Jesus was the Son of God, so he tempted Him with proving His Father’s affections. Jesus was the Mighty King living far away from His Kingdom, so he tempted Him by offering Him the world – by offering Him the world – as His kingdom, if He would only give in and worship the tempter. Each time satan's tactic was the same as it is now: mingling some truth to make the lie more palatable. But Jesus countered each attack with the full truth of God's Word.
Satan is well aware of our own weaknesses, too, and he’ll target us with those things that will personally tempt us, but also at a time when we are emotionally or physically weak. So how do we have the strength to resist when we are at our weakest? The answer is, we don’t, but the Holy Spirit living inside us does. Remember the first part of James 4:7, “submit yourselves to God.”
The enemy counts on us trying to counter his attacks in our own flesh. And sometimes, if we deem ourselves strong enough and the lie small enough, the very temptation can be to say, “Heh, I got this one.” The very temptation can be to fight in our own strength.
When temptation comes, whether it’s to do something or to believe a lie, if we will humbly submit ourselves to the Lord by acknowledging that we’re only human and weak in and of ourselves, no matter how long we’ve walked with Him, and rely on God's strength, opposing satan's attacks with prayer and countering the lies with the truth in God’s Word just as Jesus did, we will be victorious and Christ will be glorified. The tempter will have no choice but to leave us alone. He is a powerful foe for us, but He is no match for the power of our Almighty God.