Combat the Enemy



Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice.

Jesus, we belong to you. 

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen. 

James 4:7–10

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.


Don’t judge me, but the mental picture I get when I read verse 7 is an old commercial for Raid Ant and Roach Spray. I used to watch a lot of TV in the eighties and I remember one where the can of spray transformed into a superhero figure who pointed his finger at the “enemy” and as they were zapped, the bugs would run away in fear. Now, wouldn’t it be nice if fighting the enemy was that easy? Just point your finger and no more conflict, no more temptation, no more struggles. At times it feels like the world is infested with temptation.

In his letter, James confronts believers, pointing to the way they have chosen to live by the whims of the world rather than the Word of God, being quick in their anger, playing favorites, speaking unkindly, and withholding their service to others. These believers wanted to control their choices and the consequences. In short, they wanted to have their cake and eat it too. We see this in verse 4, “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God?” But how could they find their way back to God? The answer was to surrender control and commit to God. And the good news is that James tells them because of God’s grace, no matter how far they had gone, they could find their way back!

When you started this Lenten journey and began seeking out a space to encounter God, did you find it hard to embrace surrender? If you did, trust me, you are not alone. I love that James said to resist the enemy. Did you notice that he did not suggest we run away and hide or pretend the enemy doesn’t exist? Instead, he chose language with military imagery, the picture of an army arranging themselves to oppose their enemy face-to-face. That’s why it is called spiritual warfare! This is our position. Intentional and head-on.

But resist the devil? How do we fight what we cannot always see? The answer is submission. It might be surprising to you, but our power position is on our knees, not on our feet. Jonathan Edwards, a bold preacher during the first Great Awakening, wrote, “Nothing sets a Christian so much out of the devil’s reach than humility.”1 Surrendering is not a position of weakness, but it places us in a position to lean on the power of the Holy Spirit.

From this power position of surrender, we can draw near to God. Remember that during Lent we want to face the mirror and assess the state of our lives so we can be altar’d. We need to ask ourselves, where have we chosen a life in the world rather than obedience to God? Where do we need to purify our hearts or refocus our minds? As we draw near to God through spiritual disciplines of prayer, study, worship, and confession, we will be able to resist the temptations that lurk in the corners of our lives. As we commit ourselves to the Lord, He will lift us up and bring us back into His presence.


Lord, help us stand ready. We know that we have not been obedient and we’ve allowed the enemy a foothold in our lives. We confess that we have followed the world rather than Your Word. Forgive us and help us fight the enemy. Amen.


Do you find it helpful to envision the enemy as an army that we need to resist? If not, how do you view the enemy? In what ways do you find it hard to surrender control and submit to God?

For the Awakening,
Susan Kent 


  1. Jonathan Edwards and Perry Miller, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Christian Classics Ethereal Library (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1957), Part IV, Section 1, 399. https://ccel. org/ccel/edwards/works1/works1.i.xiv.html.

Subscribe to get this in your inbox daily and please share this link with friends.

Share today's Wake-Up Call!


WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

4 Responses

  1. Surrender, in my opinion is accomplished when we are brought into union with Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection through faith in conjunction with the waters of baptism. This fact is how we are able to say along with Paul:” I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives within me.” (Galatians 2:20) Therefore, if this true, and I believe it is, then Satan and his hoard are battling against Christ himself, and we all know how that works out. This is one reason why we should remind ourselves daily, who we are, and who’s we are in union with Christ. The battle is the Lord’s.

  2. In James 4:7-10 . . .

    The Bible says to submit to God, but too often Christians won’t even openly admit where they are rebelling against Him. The Bible says, “Resist the devil,” but too often Christians assist the devil and accept his deception. The Bible says, “Come near to God,” but too often Christians refuse to hear God speaking in their conscience. The Bible says, “Purify your heart,” but too often Christians deny and defy God’s call to purity. The Bible says, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, but too often Christians grumble whenever their pride is hurt. Let’s become “doers of the word, not hearers only.”

  3. Scripture tells us that Christ is in us.

    Ephesians 2:10
    For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

    2 Corinthians 5:21
    For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

    Christ being in us puts us in Him.
    If we move outside of Him, the devil has access to our minds and emotions through tempation. He can’t reach us when we’re in Christ, otherwise he would be changed. Jesus is life and light, darkness cannot exist where Jeus is, it will beome light. If we’re struggling with tempation, Christ didn’t move, we did.
    So, submit, resist and draw back in.
    Like the Prodical son, when we move back into Christ, He will close the gap.

    Staying 💪’n Christ
    Ephesians 6:10
    Finally, stay strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *