This past week, I was listening to a buddy of mine on his radio show talking about resisting the devil. He had a guest on and they were breaking down James’ words, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) He said, “Suppose I had a knife and I jump over this table and try to shank you in the neck. You’d resist me with everything you have. That is how hard we need to resist sin.” He did qualify with his guest that he would likely not attempt such a thing, but it was primarily because the other man was 6’4” and could snap him like a twig.
That picture stayed with me. It got me thinking about just how much fight I put into my resistance to sin. So often I think that we resist the devil the way we resist a la mode for our pie – “No, really, I shouldn’t…unless…no, I can’t…but maybe…oh, is the pie warmed?” We’re so wishy-washy in our fight for righteousness, because we simply don’t care that much about sin. Yeah, we’ll avoid the big ones – partly because we know they’re wrong and partly because we’re afraid of the enormity of the consequences. But often the hidden little sins are fair game. Yeah, I’ll tell this little lie. Yeah, I’ll say this about that person. Yeah, I’ll watch this video on my iPad. The pleasure-benefits of saying “Yes” greatly outweigh the likelihood and consequences of getting caught – and there is rarely any thought about how it affects our relationship with God.
We must remember that every sin is a rebellion against God. It is us intentionally saying to Him, “I want my way and not Your way.” There is no little sin, because there is no little rebellion. Jesus says, “Whoever is not for Me is against Me.” (Luke 11:23) It’s an either/or proposition.
That is why we must fight so hard for righteousness. Through prayer, time in the Word, and building relationships with people who will hold us accountable, we can train ourselves with the Spirit’s help to fight back against the attacks from the devil and from our own flesh. The main thing we have to decide is if holiness is really important to us. If it is, we’ll fight for it. If it isn’t, the devil is going to take us down every time.