gw_sharkBrian Anderson, 31, was surfing off the coast of Northern Oregon on December 24th, 2005 when a great white shark attacked him. As he was paddling, Anderson said he felt something grab his leg. Without thinking, he punched the big shark in the nose. “That’s all I could think to do, and after I did that, it let go,” Anderson said. After some frantic paddling Brian finally got to shore, his lacerated leg dripping with blood, shaken, but in good health. Punching the “great white” in the nose saved Anderson from being a shark’s “lunch.” 1

When I read this story it reminded me of a type of  “shark” in the spiritual realm who is always attempting to consume people. The devil is a constant enemy who seeks to hurt and destroy those who can be “caught” through the temptations that are the stock and trade of one who wishes to harm us. There is a way however to fight back, and the Bible makes it clear that using this fool-proof method will send the devil packing. “…submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7 New King James).

Two powerful words virtually leap off the page of this small but life-altering text. Let’s look at them both:

Submit – This word means to “yield oneself to the authority or will of another.” 2 When we choose to submit to God’s authority in our lives, we are placing our Creator in charge of the outcome. To surrender to the Lord is not always easy, but it’s necessary if we want to effectively deal with the evil one.

Resist – By definition this word means to “to exert oneself so as to counteract or defeat.” 3 At first glance this looks like our work, but when coupled with the following verse it takes on new meaning.

“…All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it” (1 Corinthians 10:13 Message/Remix).

If we stay connected to God we can have the confidence that we’re in capable hands. Going into the spiritually “shark infested waters” of life would be foolish without this promised protection. So let’s submit and resist. It’s much more effective than a punch in the enemy’s nose!