When we consider the biblical principles tied to Christian living, do we think about spiritual victory? We should. Victory begins when we believe there is indeed an enemy and a battle. Ephesians 6 says we battle not against flesh and blood but principalities and powers in high places; therefore, we are to put on the whole armor of God.
Living victoriously as effective salt and light includes identifying the enemy as the world, the flesh and the devil. Victory requires believing that the devil is fighting hard to keep us defeated, ineffective and without influence in our culture. Sadly, the latest surveys indicate that 74 percent of Americans say they’re Christians, but of these, over half live in daily defeat because they don’t believe the Holy Spirit or the devil are real.
Because of our beliefs, are our spiritual lives marked more by victory or defeat? If we are more than conquerors through Jesus, as Romans 8:28 declares, then victory is a choice. So, what is the winning strategy? Victory over the devil is possible. James 4:7 says that if we submit ourselves to God and resist the devil, he will flee.
The order here is vitally important. Submit to God first—then resist the devil. To submit means yielding our will and desires to God in obedience, permitting the power of God through the Holy Spirit to flow through us. Then James says to resist the devil and he will run away from us—not because of our will or actions, but because of God’s power working through us. We must submit to God then resist a real devil through the power of a real Holy Spirit and be real salt and light as Christ expects.
Additionally, too many Christians live in defeat because they don’t know the enemy or the biblical strategy to win against him. A real battle, a real devil, a real evil world and real sinful flesh do exist. The Bible is clear. For victory over the temptations of the world and the flesh—like sexual impurity, idolatry and the love of money—we must submit to God and then from these things we must flee.
Run. Run away fast. We must not dialogue with the devil. We can’t play footsie with temptation, but instead we must use the legs God gave us and flee. We must also remember that we are no match for the devil or temptation, especially if we purposely sit in their presence.
Recognizing the battle, knowing the enemy and putting on the whole armor of God is essential, but there’s more. Christ describes evil people and their tactics as ‘wolves’ in Matthew 10:16. These warnings are critical for every pastor, parent and those in authority. The devil will work through wolves to destroy, persecute, and ravage the sheep. We can easily see this in America today.
Pastor and Christian leader, when is the last time you warned your people about a wolf? When is the last time you stood on the wall and warned your people about the advancing enemy? When is the last time you contended for the faith and warned about the false prophet as commanded by Jude?
Until we commit to biblical obedience, vow to put on the armor of God and engage the enemies of God and His truth, the Church, our families and our nation will remain weak and divided. Yes, resisting the devil and fleeing from temptation is critical for victorious living, but pursuing righteousness, faith, love and peace with a pure heart and following the Lord in obedience, as in II Timothy 2:22, is essential.
Living victorious Christian lives requires the power of the Holy Spirit, and that power can only be experienced when we’re pursuing holiness and righteousness—God’s will not our will—and engaging the enemies of truth according to God’s plan.
The Hon. Sam Rohrer is president of the American Pastors Network, a national network of pastors with constitutional and biblical teachings that discusses today’s pressing issues. He was a Pennsylvania lawmaker for 18 years and hosts the daily “Stand in the Gap Today” national radio program on more than 400 stations.