The first principle of spiritual warfare is humility. Whenever we notice that we are under attack and in the midst of spiritual warfare, we need to humble ourselves. Most people associate battling in the spirit with aggressive prayer and shouting at the devil. Those may have their place, but if we do not understand the role of humility and submission, our potential victory will turn into a defeat.
“‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Therefore submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (James. 4:6-7, 10).
Notice in these verses that submission and humility are a necessary part of resisting the devil. Successfully opposing the devil is dependent upon the act of humbling ourselves.
The reason for this is that the very character of the devil is bound up in pride. Pride is what motivates him, and he specializes in all things connected to it. If you have pride, you leave yourself open to the strategies of the devil. Your pride makes you an easy target for the devil’s attacks.
When the devil came in the form of a serpent to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, he appealed to them through spiritual pride:
“You will be like God” (Gen. 3:5);
and through intellectual pride: “Knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:5b).
Intellectual and spiritual pride are still primary roots of demonic activity today. When we resist these by humbling ourselves and submitting, we close the door to the devil’s activities.
The Bible tells us that when Satan decided to attack God, his rebellion was fueled by his pride: “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you have corrupted your wisdom” (Ezekiel 28:17).
The Hebrew word for “lifted up” here is gaavah, and is similar to the root of the word “pride” ga’avah. Pride can lead us into bad attitudes towards those around us, especially those in authority over us, eventually causing division. Most division in the church is caused by pride. If one of the parties will humble themselves, it is almost always possible to bring reconciliation.
Give No Place to the Devil
Yeshua taught that, “every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation” (Luke 11:17). The devil wants to make God’s kingdom fall. He seeks to do this by inspiring division and rebellion. Division and rebellion find their source in pride. Pride is fertile ground for the devil’s seeds. When we humble ourselves, we deny the devil that ground.
Often pride is a coverup for personal insecurity or fear of rejection. When a person is insecure, he may puff himself up like a blowfish to compensate for the insecurity. A person who can humble himself is actually reflecting a degree of psychological wholeness and inner strength.
One of the symptoms of pride covering up insecurity is the tendency for a person to become “offended.” Sometimes a person wants to hide his pride and insecurity by saying “I’m very sensitive.” A person who does not have much pride is not easily offended.
Sometimes the person who is so sure that he is right, is the very one who is in pride and is the source of the problem. The offended person, the smartest one, the most anointed one or the one causing a division, may be the one through whom the devil is working. If you recognize yourself in this description, repent, humble yourself, seek reconciliation and be victorious over the devil.
Asher Intrater is the founder and apostolic leader of Revive Israel Ministries and oversees Ahavat Yeshua congregation in Jerusalem and Tiferet Yeshua congregation in Tel Aviv. Asher was one of the founders of Tikkun International with Dan Juster and Eitan Shishkoff and serves on the board of the Messianic Alliance of Israel and Aglow International. He and his wife and full-time partner in ministry, Betty, have a passion for personal prayer and devotion, local evangelism and discipleship in Hebrew and unity of the body of believers worldwide.