Jesus Himself demonstrated how to overcome the devil.
How to overcome the devil? Start by saying, “It is written…”
I think it’s very significant.
It’s no surprise to me to realize that the first thing Jesus taught as He began his public ministry was a lesson on how to overcome the devil.
This is the first of about 250 references to Satan and his demons in the New Testament.
Clearly, this is a critically important topic!
Here’s what Jesus said. I have underlined the key words “it is written” in the following passage:
The Temptation of Jesus
4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But He answered, “It is written,
“‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
5 Then the devil took Him to the holy city and set Him on the pinnacle of the temple 6 and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down, for it is written,
“‘He will command His angels concerning you,’
“‘On their hands they will bear You up, lest You strike Your foot against a stone.’”
7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 8 Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to Him, “All these I will give You, if You will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,
“‘You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.’”
11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to Him.(Matthew 4:1~11)
See how He demonstrated how to overcome the devil?
Each time the devil tried to tempt Jesus, He responded by quoting Scripture.
So the technique is:
- As a suspicious thought comes to mind, check it against the Word of God to see if it’s a lie / deception / temptation
- If the thought is from the liars of hell, respond by speaking the Truth of God’s Word
And lest there be any doubt that God’s Word is pure Truth:
Every word of God proves True…” (Proverbs 30:5)
Jesus said… “If you abide in my word… you will know the Truth…” (John 8:31-32)
Sanctify them in the truth; your word is Truth.” (John 17:17)
In God’s economy, Truth is always stronger that lies.
Here’s The Really Good News!
The power to overcome the devil is not in the speaker; it’s in the SPOKEN WORD!
The devil can’t tell the difference between Jesus speaking and a Christian speaking Scripture.
“He who hears you hears Me, and he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects him who sent Me.” (Luke 10:16)
According to Jesus (See Luke 10:16 above), when you speak God’s Word, it’s actually Jesus speaking through your vocal cords. In those moments, as a member of the Body of Christ, your voices becomes His voice!
As I stated earlier, the devil can’t tell the difference. To the devil, it’s Jesus speaking. And the devil knows — better than many Christians — that he and his demons cannot stand against Jesus, because Jesus has put His power into His Word!
For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18)
I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation… (Romans 1:16)
Scriptures Showing The Power In The Word of God
For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)
The Word of God seems foolish to many. In reality, it contains the power of God!
God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of POWER and of love and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7)
20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the POWER that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen." (Ephesians 3:20-21 NKJV)
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16)
4 for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle raised up against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)
So, Is This Available To Everyone?
Yes, ANYONE can have it, but the cost is: YOU! Your surrendered life.
Let me explain that.
With Jesus, it’s all about us forming a relationship with Him. And not everyone wants to do that.
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. (Mark 12:30)
(See also Matthew 22:37 and Luke 10:27 )
Love God… with all your heart, soul, mind, strength. Do you see how that just shouts “relationship”?
To list a few more:
Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” (John 14:21)
And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:23)
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27)
Also, I found 20 Scriptures wherein Jesus directed people with the words, “Follow Me.” As I said earlier, it’s all about having a close relationship with Jesus.
God gives great benefits to His people. But becoming one of His people has the appearance of being difficult and undesirable. Even now as you read this, the devil is furiously injecting thoughts into your mind that make what I’m saying sound like the rantings of a nut case. But I know what Jesus said:
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
But the thing about being “yoked” to someone is: where one goes, the other goes. Jesus wants each of us to become one of his disciples. He wants to “sanctify” us (transform us into one of His disciples) and put us into service for His purposes.
Along with that, there are certain benefits. One of them is divine protection from the devil. Jesus has the devil on a leash. He can go so far… but no further.
This is all about us partnering with God.
There is a part that we can do, and there is a part that only God can do. But until we do the part that we can do, God will not do the part that only He can do.
Here’s a sort of over-arching Scripture that declares God’s “how to overcome the devil” strategy:
Submit yourselves therefore to God.
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
I deliberately broke that verse into two lines, to emphasize the two separate thoughts:
- Submit to God. Obey Him. That’s the part you can and must do first.
- Resist the devil. As God’s obedient disciple, His power operates through you.
Sadly, most people ignore the first part
They keep trying to figure out how to overcome the devil by their own strength. But we can’t do it on our own. We need God’s strength to help us.
Anyway, here’s how that dynamic of “obedience followed by divine help” might play out in everyday life. Consider the following passage:
10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.
11I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 3:10-11)
God promises to “rebuke the devourer for you”. That’s an offer to restrain the devil (he’s the devourer — see 1 Peter 5:8 ) from destroying the fruits of your labor.
But notice: that offer comes AFTER His commanded to “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse”. That’s a command to practice biblical stewardship with your money. The offer is conditional. Ultimately, it all belongs to God. He calls you to take a step of faith and give the first 10 percent of your income back to Him. And having established that condition, God must, as it were, play by His own rules. So if you don’t do your part first, well… you see my point.
Jesus Gives Power And Authority To Those Who Follow Him.
Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. (Luke 9:9)
If you are a disciple of Jesus, you have power over the devil. But as I’ve been saying, there are certain characteristics you will exhibit, if you are truly His disciple.
Another example: I’m quoting here from the Amplified Bible, which has helpful commentary embedded in the passage:
But He gives us more and more grace (power of the Holy Spirit, to meet this evil tendency and all others fully). That is why He says, God sets Himself against the proud and haughty, but gives grace [continually] to the lowly (those who are humble enough to receive it). (James 4:6 Amp)
We need God’s Grace, which the Amplified Bible defines as “power of the Holy Spirit”. But grace only goes to those “who are humble enough to receive it.” Humility, then, is also a characteristic of a disciple.
God Wants Our Obedience
I made a list of areas in which I want to be obedient to God. This is probably not a comprehensive list, and I am definitely not doing them perfectly:
- clothing choices
- entertainment choices
- excuses - vs. taking ownership
- food choices
- haughty vs. humble heart
- physical fitness
- relationship based on performance vs. acceptance
- Scripture memory
- stewardship (financial, time, talent etc.)
- ungodly or lustful thoughts and actions
- unbelief - vs.trusting God
What He is really watching for is steady progress in the right direction. He wants us to voluntarily come under His authority. In other words, He wants us to submit ourselves to God
So then, who is it that actually overcomes the devil?
Recall that I quoted a passage from the book of Malachi earlier:
I will rebuke the devourer for you (Malachi 3:11)
Clearly, it’s God who not only knows how to overcome the devil, but also has the power to do it.
14 I have given them Your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one.(John 17:15)
Here too, it’s the Father whom Jesus is asking to handle the devil.
18 We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but He [Jesus] who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. (1 John 5:15)
Once again, It’s Jesus keeping the devil off of our backs.
8 Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place — the Most High, who is my refuge — 9 no evil shall be allowed to befall you (Psalm 91:9~10)
Evil (the devil) is being blocked by whom? Once again, it’s God who is fighting the battle for us!
Because he holds fast to me in love,” says the Lord, “I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. (Psalm 91:14)
Can you see the relationship implied there? As I said earlier, God wants to have a relationship with you. He wants you to get to know Him. And you get to know God the same way you got to know any other person: by what He says and what He does.
The Lord will keep you from all evil; He will keep your life. (Psalm 121:7)
I invite you to read Psalm 121 (directly below) and you’ll discover that the entire psalm proclaims the helpfulness of God.
My Help Comes from the Lord
A Song of Ascents
1 lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? 2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. 3 He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. 4 Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. 6 The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. 7 The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. 8 The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.
Where can you go to find out what God said and did? That’s what the Bible is all about. He wrote it. Everything He wants you to know about Himself is in there.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. 7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. (Proverbs 3:5-7)
Someone has said that there are 3,900 Scripture passages commanding us to know God’s Word. Yet I keep encountering people who tell me they cannot memorize Bible verses.
If you’d have asked me to recite so much as one verse 20 years ago, I doubt that I could have done it. So I sympathize with those who have done no Scripture memory. I used to be one of you.
Now, I can’t get enough of Scripture!
What happened to lift me out of my ignorance?
- I listened to Bible teachers on the radio a lot, often while doing chores.
- I began to see how practical the Word of God is, and I wanted more.
Now I cannot imagine how I ever lived without God’s Word at the center of my life.
Have you experienced His “manifest presence”?
In the summer of 2012, as I would read through the Scriptures I was committing to memory, I began to sense something happening that I could not identify at first. Then I saw the following passage from the Gospel of John:
21 Whoever has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” 22Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me. (John 14:21~24)
I wasn’t sure what it meant that Jesus would “manifest” himself to someone, so I looked it up:
To show or demonstrate plainly; reveal
BAM!! In a flash of recognition, I realized: that’s what was happening to me, right here in an upstairs room of my house! Jesus was revealing Himself to me through the passages I was reading each morning. It was a real presence! He was right there. Not visibly, but He was — and IS — right there with me!
There’s no way I could ever go back to where I was before.
7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; 8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; 9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, Yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. 11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward. (Psalm 19:7~11)
David wrote that, to him, the Word of God is: “More to be desired are (the Words of God) than… much fine gold”. See it there, underlined in verse 10?
Why hell? Because here’s what I know:
The person who ignores the Word of God in this life will be rejected by the God of the Word in eternity.
There is no neutral ground here.
Jesus said, Whoever is not with me is against me…” (Matthew 12:30, Luke 11:23)
For me, the following psalm describes my attitude regarding God vs. the world.
Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides You. (Psalm 73:25)
Do you want to know how to overcome the devil?
Simple: just read through a bunch of Scriptures like that one every morning. That’s what I do, every day. Like an arrow released by an archer, this simple practice of Scripture memory every morning sets the trajectory for my whole day. My mind is so saturated with the Word of God, the devil can’t get a word in edgewise!
I could dump a truckload of Scriptures on you to support what I’ve said, but that would be rude. I believe I can make my point with just one:
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4~7)
Let me show you how to REALLY read this passage:
Rejoice — renew, refresh, refill, replenish — with JOY!
Not with happiness, which rises and falls depending on circumstances, but JOY which is always maxed out!
Because it’s in the Lord!
Joy is in the Lord.
I said, JOY IS IN THE LORD!!
Paul, are you serious???
“Again I will say: REJOICE!”
He’s shown me how to have a gentle spirit; “Thank You, Lord!”
And the Lord is at hand — He’s RIGHT HERE WITH ME RIGHT NOW!
Because of that, I am anxious for NOTHING!
I thank Him and Praise Him throughout each day.
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding…”
I have that. I HAVE IT! He’s given it to me. To ME! I have it! His peace is guarding my heart and mind RIGHT NOW!
Start Now To Obey This Command:
Through Him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. (Hebrews 13:15)
Do you want all that? You can have it.
- Your battle with the devil is taking place in your mind.
- How to overcome the devil? By speaking the Truth of God’s Word!
And the more Scripture you know, the more power you have, because the power of God is in the Word.
So, how are you doing at internalizing God’s Word?
Here’s A Free Scripture Page To Help You Get Started!
Download the PDF file. It prints on 8-1/2 X 11 paper.
To open this PDF in a separate tab / window, CLICK HERE ►
Once you’ve downloaded the PDF and printed the page, here’s what do do with it:
- Fold the printed page in half vertically, right down the middle.
- Holding it vertically, fold the bottom edge up to the faint line that you see right on the fold, about one-third of the way down from the top.
- Do the same with the other end; fold it to the other faint line.
Now you have a 6-panel set of helpful verses that you can tuck into a pocket or purse. Take it out several times a day and read through those 6 Scriptures.