Every Christian must wage a spiritual war against three foes that seek to enslave us: the flesh, the world, and the devil.
The flesh is the sinful nature all are born with. When Christ becomes your Lord and Savior, you are given a new nature through the power of the Holy Spirit. The old nature and the new nature are incompatible, and the only way you can live in victory is to yield to the power of God's Holy Spirit.
The more we are yielded to God's Spirit, the less we will be moved by the forces of darkness.
The world refers to the aspects of our culture that stand at odds with God and His Word and can distract us from our eternal reward in Christ. James says that "anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God" because we cannot serve two masters who are opposed to one another (James 4:4). We can choose to live as products of our culture or as citizens of heaven.
The devil is not just a symbolic figure. Satan's fall from heaven was the result of his pride—and pride is the chief weapon he uses against believers. God's goal is for us to become Christlike and humble; Satan's goal is to erase Christ's image from our lives and feed our pride.
How do we defeat these three enemies? James 4:7-10 gives us the answer.
First, submit yourself to God. Submission is not a welcome word in modern society, but the Truth is that submission to Christ always brings us freedom. When you feel the pull of the world, submit that area of your life to Christ, and God's Spirit will enable you to overcome it.
Second, draw near to God. Drawing near to God is an act of intimacy. Drawing near means we are talking with God and listening for His voice through the Holy Spirit and the Word of God—not simply going to church. Drawing near means we are turning from everything that has distracted us from His presence.
Third, humble yourself before God. God loves humility and can do much with a contrite heart. Confess your sins before Him and ask for His forgiveness and cleansing power. Exchange your selfish desires for His desires.
The overarching strategy for defeating these three enemies is submission. The more we are yielded to God's Spirit, the less we will be moved by the forces of darkness.
Prayer: Lord, I cannot win this battle alone. Help me rely on Your Spirit each moment. I draw near to You today, knowing that in You I have the strength to overcome. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"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" (James 4:7-8).