Here is a head-scratcher! We can make the devil run! But how do we do this? By being unconditionally loyal and in full submission to God and God alone. There is nothing magic about this; it simply is a choice that needs to be made by each of us. For in our choice to honor God above all else in our lives, the devil flees. “Therefore, submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) But imagine if the whole church, every individual, came together to help one another become fiercely loyal to God and resist the devil; we would have him on the run until Jesus comes again!
Joshua makes the point that loyalty to God is something we must choose over the trapping and false gods of this world. (See also 1 John 2:15-17) He calls God’s people to make a choice we all have to make. “Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD! And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:14–15)
They, and we, are called to fear the LORD, implying that we will be loyal to Him and serve Him faithfully with our lives. I would argue that there is a difference between a healthy fear of God and being afraid of God. If we’re afraid of God, we want to avoid Him, and the thought of Him brings negative emotions and feelings of dread. (See Revelation 6:15–17) On the other hand, if we fear God, we seek to bring honor to Him. We will be loyal to Him, keep His commands, live fully for Him, and worship Him in awe, seeking to please Him alone. Thus, naturally resisting the devil moment by moment, living for God, he will flee.
So, what is an application for us to consider for church life? Well, as we submit to our loving Heavenly Father, we seek to support those in the body of Christ and those whom the Lord has given the great responsibility of servant leadership. Therefore, when the devil comes calling, trying to cause division, we will move quickly to resolve any problems in the church that may arise so that we may continue in unity, serving the Lord and resisting the devil together and watching him run. (Matthew 18:15-20; Matthew 5:23–24; Romans 12:16–19)