Question: "When Satan approaches a person, what do the scriptures say about how one can resist him and get him to flee away?"
Answer: It is certainly true that Satan approaches us and tempts us to do evil in an attempt to draw or keep us away from God. It was Satan, working through the serpent, who tempted Eve in the garden. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 11.3, "But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his crafitness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." And Satan wants to do the same thing with us. He has many avenues through which to entice us, so it is good to study how we can resist him and get him to flee away.
However, there are some who have the idea that when the devil approaches a person, there is just nothing that one can do to get him to go away. They evidently believe that all human being have some kind of natural tendancy toward sin so that we just cannot help giving in to the temptations of the devil. But the question rightly understands that this is not the case. James 4.7 says, "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." This verse affirms that we can resist the devil. God never tells us to do something which we cannot do.
This verse also says that something necessary to help us resist the devil is submitting to God. The person whose overriding desire is to please God in all things will be more likely to resist the devil, because God has promised to help those who truly trust Him. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10.13, "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it."
Another item that will help enable us to resist the devil is to make sure that we have the proper equipment. In Psalm 119.11 the Psalmist wrote, "Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You." The equipment that God has provided to enable us to resist the devil is found in His word. Consider the temptation of Jesus (Matthew 4.1-13). Each time the devil tempted Jesus to sin, Jesus did not wave His hand and perform some kind of miracle. He simply cited the word of God. We need to read, study, learn, and know God's word, because the more we have it in our hearts, the better equipped we shall be to use it in resisting the devil.
The third step in resisting the devil is to be always alert. Peter tells us in 1 Peter 5.8, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." The devil never gives up. If he cannot get us to sin in a certain way at one time, he will bide his time until he can try to get ut to sin in another way at another time. Therefore, wee always need to be on the lookout for the devil. It takes a lot of constant effort, but if we hope to save our souls in eternity, it is worth the effort. Flip Wilson was famous for saying, "The devil made me do it." Yes, the devil tempts us to sin, but he cannot make us do anything that we do not choose ourselves to do. We can resist him, if we will. [From "Search for Truth," Sept. 5, 1999.] Brotherly, Wayne S. Walker
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