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James 4:7-10(CEB)

Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will run away from you. Come near to God, and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners. Purify your hearts, you double-minded. Cry out in sorrow, mourn, and weep! Let your laughter become mourning and your joy become sadness. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.


Satan goes by dozens of names. Several describe his personality, such as “father of all lies,” and  “the tempter.” None are flattering – including the word “devil,” which is found 35 times in the New Testament but never in the Old Testament.

Drop the letter “d” from devil and you have evil. And that’s a good definition for Satan.

I’m amazed that some sport teams use “devil,” or a derivative as a mascot or in the team’s name.

I like Duke basketball, but it’s hard for me to root for the Duke Blue Devils. Why would anyone want to choose such as name?

That’s why I was a little perturbed when the new Tampa Bay baseball franchise decided to become the Tampa Bay Devil Rays more than 10 years ago.

How could I root for the Devil Rays?

Well, after 10 years of relatively poor baseball in the Tampa Bay area, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays are no more.

Back in 2007, Tampa Bay management said the Rays would have a new name and a new look. The Tampa Bay Rays will have new team colors – navy blue and light blue – and a new icon, a bright yellow sunburst reminding all of the magnificence of life in the Sunshine State.

“I think this gives us as an organization and identity,” said Principal owner Stuart Sternberg in a story written Nov. 8th by Bill Chastain that appeared on the Rays website. “It was something where we were tied to the past, and the past wasn’t something we necessarily wanted to be known for. Nobody’s running from it, or hiding from it, and we’re proud of certain aspects of it. This is something the organization has really been able to put their arms around, and I’m hoping the fans will see it as a new beginning.”

In the same story, Manager Joe Maddon said he liked “the idea of the new uniform at this particular time. Because you’re always looking for that symbolic moment to really move on to that next area where we want to within the standings, getting to the playoffs, et cetera. There are a lot of things coming together at the right time. This, and the way this has been done today. The fan response has been excellent.”

While removing the word “Devil” from the team name took some doing, it really boiled down to a simple decision.

Oh, that it was that easy to remove the devil and his influence from our lives.

I think one of the devil’s best weapons is his subterfuge.

According to the Barna Group, in 2007 more than half of adults (57%) say that the devil, or Satan, is not a living being but is a symbol of evil. And 46% of born again Christians deny Satan’s existence.

It’s hard to fight the enemy, which is another name for Satan used in Matthew 13:39, if you don’t believe he exists.

Of course, the devil’s existence was never a question in the Bible.

He even introduced himself to Jesus.

It was just before Jesus began His public ministry. You can read about it in Matthew 4 and Luke 4.

Do you remember the comedian Flip Wilson? One of his characters was known for saying “The devil made me do it.”

This lack of accountability has dogged mankind since the beginning of the world, when Adam blamed Eve, and even God, for eating the forbidden fruit. Then Eve was the first to say, “The devil made me do it.”

Satan can’t make us do anything – but he sure tries to tempt us.

And temptation is no joking matter.

James, the brother of Jesus explained the deadly cycle that begins with temptation, “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”

In the preceding verses he wrote, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life,  which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.”

It is Satan who entices, who lures us with attractive bait.

Later, James gave advice how to deal with temptation.

“Resist the devil, and he will flee from you,” wrote James.

Satan is a bully, all big and bad. But once confronted, he turns and runs. He did that when he tempted Jesus. Interestingly, Satan used Scripture, but he twisted it as some do today. Jesus countered with Scripture and Satan left.

But we’re told he left for a more opportune time.

Resisting the devil isn’t enough. It leaves a vacuum that must be replaced.

James told us, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”

We’re also told to seek the help of spiritual people.

“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness,” wrote Paul to the Galatians. “Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.”

But we must be on our guard when helping others. We must remain humble and close to God.

Paul wrote something else very encouraging about temptation to the Corinthians, while cautioning them to remain humble.

“Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall,” wrote Paul. “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

Once again, it takes fleeing and turning toward or drawing near to God.

By Rick Reed

For Pondering & Prayer

Let’s be real about the devil. He exists. But he wants us to forget about him. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

Dear Lord, Let us always remember to pray, especially to defeat Satan. Amen.