Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. – Ephesians 6:11
The English definitions of SCHEME are found below. Don’t just passively read them, in one ear and out the other! Think about how these definitions relate to demonic activity in your life as a follower of Christ. Try to put some of these definitions in the description of schemes in Ephesians 6:11 to help you meditate on important truth.
Definition = a plan of action, an elaborate and systematic plan for a course of action designed to achieve a major or overall aim; a strategy (art of planning and directing overall military operations and movements in a war or battle); a secret or underhanded plan; a plot or a plan to achieve some action; a carefully arranged and systematic program of action for attaining some object or end; a particular ordered system or arrangement; a large-scale systematic plan or arrangement for attaining some particular object or putting a particular idea into effect. Synonyms: plan, project, plan of action, program, strategy, stratagem, tactic, game plan, master plan, course/line of action.
Etymology of scheme – It is from Medieval Latin schema which means shape, figure, form, appearance and is from Greek schema which refers to appearance, as opposed to reality. This is a good description of the devil, the master deceiver.
- See article below by Puritan Thomas Brooks on Satan’s Devices to Draw the Soul to Sin (and 12 remedies).
- See links to the answers to 38 Questions on Satan
Schemes of the devil – Here we encounter the commander in chief of the invisible army arrayed against us. He is our sworn, mortal enemy. This is not a video game or a fairy tale but a very real war with a very real, deceptive foe.
Paul had warned about the devil’s schemes to disrupt the unity of the body writing that “As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming.” (Ep 4:14–note)
The schemes of the devil – Note Paul’s use of the definite article in Greek (“THE schemes“) which defines these as specific schemes, not just general schemes. It suggests that the devil and his minions have specific schemes, “tailor made” for each person, for he is aware of the sin that so easily entangles each of us (Hebrews 12:1+)! Note that these schemes involve shrewdly devious and intriguing methods that entail following an orderly, technical procedure in the handling of a subject. Schemes is used to describe a wild animal cunningly stalking and unexpectedly pouncing on prey (cp 1Pe 5:8–note). Satan’s schemes to destroy us and do us harm are built around stealth and deception but as Paul writes to the Corinthians “we are not ignorant of his schemes.” (2 Corinthians 2:11) In 2 Corinthians 2:11 the word schemes is not methodeia but noema [from nous = mind] and refers to the content of thinking and reasoning.
Samuel Rutherford reminds us that “Satan is only God’s master fencer to teach us to use our weapons.”
Schemes (3180) (methodeia from methodeuo = to work by method in turn from meta = with, after + hodos = a way) refers to an orderly, logical, effective arrangement, usually in steps followed to achieve an end. It describes deliberate planning or a systematic approach and can have a positive or negative connotation. The negative meaning of methodeia implies the use of clever methods or strategies to attain the desired end. The Scripture always uses methodeia with a negative connotation.
Methodeia has reference to planned, subtle, systematized error. Error organizes. It has its systems and its logic. Be alert! Be mature! Satan’s scheming, crafty actions and artful designs have ‘method’ and purpose, for his aim is to mislead the immature who are not grounded on apostolic doctrine. Behind the evil men and women who seek to expound false teaching, there is also a supernatural evil power who seeks to deceive unwary saints with his “devilish” cunning.
Think about this simple definition in the context of spiritual warfare. Satan is orderly and logical in his steps employed against you to achieve his nefarious purposes. This realization should prompt each of us to be even more appreciative of the fact that we cannot stand against our invisible enemy in our own intelligence, our own strength or our own human “methods” or “schemes”. We must put on the full armor that God supplies in Christ.
As alluded to above, the negative connotation of methodeia implies the use of cleverness, craftiness, cunning and deception. The “deceiver” uses specific, subtle, stealthy plans to target each individual, his goal being to defeat, discourage and dishearten. Stated another way, Satan’s attacks are “tailor made” (“the schemes“), carefully and methodically selected to attack each person’s specific weaknesses and vulnerabilities. His wiles and methods are usually attractive, always deceptive, and often ensnaring. Stay sober and alert!
Spurgeon has the following cautions regarding our Adversary, the devil writing that “He will attack you sometimes by force and sometimes by fraud. By might or by sleight he will seek to overcome you, and no unarmed man can stand against him. Never go out without all your armor on, for you can never tell where you may meet the devil. He is not omnipresent, but nobody can tell where he is not, for he and his troops of devils appear to be found everywhere on this earth.”
Puritan Thomas Watson wrote that “Satan tempts after some discoveries of God’s love. As a pirate sets on a ship that is richly laden, so when a soul hath been laden with spiritual comforts the devil will be shooting at him, to rob him of all. The devil envies to see a soul feasted with spiritual joy.”
David Jeremiah has an interesting thought on Satan’s methodeia writing that…
If you could sneak into Satan’s office, wherever that might be (he’s not in hell yet), and take a peek into his files, you might be surprised to find a file folder with your name on it. I’m not exaggerating. He keeps a file on you, and inside that file are all the strategies he’s tried on you—the ones that have worked and the ones that have failed. He doesn’t waste his time with the ones that don’t work anymore. Instead, he uses variations on the strategies that have caused you to stumble in the past. As long as they keep working, he keeps using them. Somewhere in that file cabinet there’s a file labeled: Jeremiah, David. In this file, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if there was a notation that reads something like this: Subject may be prone to discouragement, especially if he becomes overly weary. This has worked several times before and seems a promising method of attack. Suggestion: Make sure he stays very busy, overcommitted, and physically tired. At all costs, keep him from extended times of Bible reading and prayer.
So what is Satan’s strategy for me? He looks for ways to discourage me, and if possible, cause me some depression. He will use whatever people, means, or circumstances it takes to achieve his goal.
It’s the same for you. Maybe your file says, “Frequently tempted to gossip,” or “quick temper,” or “prone to coveting and jealousy,” or “weak in the area of lust.”
Don’t kid yourself, he knows very well where your vulnerabilities lie. It’s all in his file. You’ve heard, perhaps, that God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. That’s very good news, but it is also true that Satan hates you and has a plan and strategy to destroy your walk with Jesus Christ.
That’s one big reason why you experience struggle and discouragement in your Christian experience. Sometimes I hear people say,
“Well, if you’re a Christian, you shouldn’t have any struggles. You shouldn’t ever feel discouraged. All is peace and joy and love and happiness.”
I don’t think so. I personally think that description fits better with life before you found salvation in Christ. Do you know why? Because you only had one influence in your life at that time. There was no contest for your heart. There was no tug-of-war for your soul. (Jeremiah, D. . God In You: Releasing the Power of the Holy Spirit in Your Life. Multnomah Publishers)
Methodeia is translated with a number of words as shown in the list below with each word followed by a definition. As you read through this list think about how each describes your mortal foe, the devil.
- Craftiness – adept in the use of subtlety and cunning. No place in Scripture reveals Satan’s schemes better than Genesis 3, which records Satan’s initial contact with man.
- Cunning – characterized by wiliness and trickery. It describes the faculty of executing well what one has devised.
- Scheming – given to making plots; shrewdly devious and intriguing. Synonyms include artful, calculating, conniving, cunning, deceitful, designing, duplicitous, foxy, Machiavellian, slippery, sly, tricky, underhand, wily.
- Strategies – careful plans or methods. Strategy can also refer to the art or science of the planning and conduct of a war. The Columbia Encyclopedia notes that “strategy and tactics, in warfare are related terms referring, respectively, to large-scale and small-scale planning to achieve military success. Strategy may be defined as the general scheme of the conduct of a war, tactics as the planning of means to achieve strategic objectives. Synonyms for strategy include: blueprint, design, game plan, project, scheme.
- Stratagems – an artifice or trick in war for deceiving and outwitting the enemy. A cleverly contrived trick or scheme for gaining an end. Stratagem implies a ruse used to entrap, outwit, circumvent, or surprise an opponent or enemy.
- Tactics – The derivation of the word tactic is very interesting and gives us some insight into the meaning of the devil’s methods. The word “tactics” is from the Greek word taktikos which means “of order, of tactics, fit for arranging” and which in turn is derived from “tassein” which means to arrange or place in battle formation. Tactics is defined then as the science and art of disposing and maneuvering forces in combat. It refers to the art or skill of employing available means to accomplish an end. In short, the tactics of the devil are calculated plans specifically designed to bring the downfall of God’s people and His kingdom.
- Trickery – the practice of crafty underhanded ingenuity to deceive or cheat. It implies ingenious acts intended to dupe or cheat.
- Wiles – tricks or strategy carried out with the intent to entice, ensnare or deceive. Wiles suggests an attempt to entrap or deceive with false allurements. In short they are attractive!
Friberg states that methodeia can have a neutral or positive meaning referring simply to a “method or procedure (but) in the NT (is used) in a bad sense, (and refers to) scheming to deceive, craftiness, cunning, deception (see notes Ephesians 4:14); In the plural (as used in Ephesians 6:11) methodeia can refer to stratagems, cunning attacks, tricks” (Adapted from Friberg, T. Analytical lexicon of the Greek New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books)
John MacArthur writes that methodeia (“wiles”) conveys ‘the idea of cleverness, crafty methods, cunning, and deception. Satan’s schemes are propagated through the evil world system over which he rules, and are carried out by his demon hosts. “Wiles” is all-inclusive, encompassing every sin, immoral practice, false theology, false religion, and worldly enticement.” (MacArthur Study Bible Nashville: Word Pub)
The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament has the following note on methodeia specifically commenting on its use in Ephesians 6:11 “The reference is to machinations or (in military terms) attacks against which one must be armed. The nature of the attacks (the plural suggests that they are constantly repeated or are of incalculable variety) constitutes their great danger, against which the armour of God is the only defence. They are distinguished not so much by technique or strategy as by refinement and insidiousness (Vulgate translates insidiae, Luther “cunning attacks,” A.V. “wiles”)” (Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Eerdmans)
The only other use of methodeia is in Ephesians 4:14 where as a result of being equipped and growing in maturity, the saints “are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness (methodeia) in deceitful scheming.” (See notes Ephesians 4:14)
The KJV has a picturesque rendering of Ephesians 4:14 stating that “they lie in wait (methodeia) to deceive.”
Kenneth Wuest writes that “methodeia” is derived “from the verbal form methodeuo “to follow up or investigate by method and settled plan, to follow craftily, frame devices, deceive.” Methodeia was used to describe a wild animal who cunningly stalked and unexpectedly pounced on its prey, a vivid depiction of the Adversary’s “methods” against believers. Satan’s schemes are propagated through the evil world system over which he rules, and are carried out by his demon hosts. “Wiles” is all-inclusive, encompassing every sin, immoral practice, false theology, false religion, and worldly enticement. Methodeia is a Greek word that denotes a path or roadway that is traveled over. This is because the devil continuously attempts to secure a foothold so that he may begin construction of a roadway to your mind.”
Marvin Vincent adds that “methodeia means a deliberate planning or system.”
Albert Barnes writes that “methodeia means properly that which is traced out with “method;” that which is “methodized;” and then that which is well laid – art, skill, cunning.” (Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)
Ray Stedman in his excellent book “Spiritual Warfare” has this note regarding “methodeia”:
“What are the tactics the devil employs? He destroys by deceiving, by lying, by distorting, by counterfeiting, by masquerading, by clouding human minds with illusion and fantasy. This is what Paul calls “the devil’s schemes,” or as some translations put it, “the wiles of the devil” Read through the Bible and see how many times the work of the devil is referred to in that manner – the snares and the traps of the devil, the lies and illusions, the stratagems and the wiles. That is why we must look closely at the tactics the devil uses against us so that we can be strong and well-defended when he comes to us to defeat us, weaken us, and ruin our lives….
By far, the majority of attacks of the devil against Christians are not direct but indirect. That is why they are called the “schemes” of the devil. Schemes suggest deviousness or acting in a way that is subtle, secretive, and treacherous.
We need to examine this more thoroughly, for the major attack of the devil and his powers against human life is not by direct means, but indirectly by satanic suggestions through the natural and commonplace situations of life (Click for more in depth discussion)…
So we have an enormous responsibility before God and before the entire world to give ourselves, body and soul, to this great battle against the schemes of the evil one. We have a responsibility to battle the schemes of the devil in this world, and to point the way to the peace and security that lies ahead of us in the world to come…most often the devil comes in disguise, through the channel of “the flesh” our inner selves with silken, subtle, suggestive schemes. That is the avenue of satanic attack the apostle Paul warns us most strenuously about: the subtle schemes of the devil.” (Spiritual Warfare. Revised edition, 1999 — highly recommended) (Bolding added)
Stedman goes on to write “Friend, in Christ there is nothing that more clearly indicates that we have succumbed to the schemes of the devil than to complain about our lot in life. Again and again, the Word of God shows that the mark of a Christian who has learned how to be a Christian is that he rejoices in everything and gives thanks in all things.” (Ed: Only possible for one continually filled with the Spirit Eph 5:18+) (Ibid) (Bolding added)
Murphy writes that “The idea behind methodeia is deception. The apostle is warning us that the devil’s entire system of warfare against us is based on deception. He fights not on a pitched field, but by sudden assault and secret and cunning onslaught.” (Murphy, E. F. Handbook for Spiritual Warfare. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
Eadie in his classic commentary on Ephesians adds that “The great enemy of man, a veteran fierce and malignant, has a method of warfare peculiar to himself, for it consists of “wiles.” His battles are the rush of a sudden ambuscade (ambush). He fights not on a pitched field, but by sudden assault and secret and cunning onslaught. Vigilance, self-possession, and promptitude are therefore indispensable to meet him: and as his aim is to throw his opponents off their guard and then to surprise them, so there is need to be ever clothed in this complete armour of God. His “wiles” are seen in unsettling the mind of Eve by representing God as jealous of the first man and woman; in stirring up the warlike aspirations of David to take a military census and force a conscription as the basis of a standing army; in inflaming the avaricious and sordid spirit of Judas; and in his assaults on our Lord by an appeal to appetite, piety, and ambition.” (John Eadie, D., LL.D. The Epistle of St Paul to the Ephesians)
Oswald Chambers has a good word about the methodeia of the devil writing that “We cannot stand against the wiles of the devil by our wits. The devil only comes along the line that God understands, not along the lines we understand, and the only way we can be prepared for him is to do what God tells us, stand complete in his armor, indwelt by His Spirit, in complete obedience to Him.” (Oswald Chambers 1874–1917)
Jonathan Edwards wrote that “the best protection one can have from the devil and his schemes is a humble heart.”
James Burns writes that “The danger of listening to the voice of the Tempter, and the subtlety by which he accomplishes his wiles, is illustrated by R. Spencer Stanhope in a picture in the Manchester Art Gallery, entitled “Eve.” In it he represents the Serpent whispering in her ear while she listening, plays with the sin within her mind. At the same time, unseen by her, he bends a branch of the tree with a coil of his body, and lo! as she dallies with the sin in her mind, an apple drops into her open hand. When the temptation has once been permitted to enter, the means of gratifying it is at hand.” (Tan, P. L. Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations)
MacDonald warns that “the devil has various stratagems—discouragement, frustration, confusion, moral failure and doctrinal error. He knows our weakest point and aims for it. If he cannot disable us by one method, he will try for another….Most serious of all is the danger of deception. Those who are babes are unskillful in the word of righteousness, their senses are not exercised to discern between good and evil (Heb. 5:13, 14). They inevitably meet some false cultist who impresses them by his zeal and apparent sincerity. Because he uses religious words, they think he must be a true Christian. If they had studied the Bible for themselves, they would be able to see through his deceitful juggling of words. But now they are carried about by his wind of doctrine and led by unprincipled cunning into a form of systematized error. (Believer’s Bible Commentary)
The Open Bible defines our Adversary’s “schemes” as “superhuman craftiness, capable of drawing careless Christians into sin.”
Warren Wiersbe writes that “The danger on the battlefield is that we do not take the enemy seriously and therefore fail to put on all of the armor. By faith, you put on the armor through prayer, which must be done at the beginning of every day. Never underestimate the strategy and strength of the devil.” (With the Word : The Chapter-by-Chapter Bible Handbook)
Seldom does Satan ever attack openly with an overt frontal assault (and by the way most of us will probably never be attacked by Satan himself as he is a finite not omnipresent being. But he does command a host of fallen angels who share his evil design for mankind). In contrast, Satan’s Schemes are nearly always unseen, shrewd, and perfectly tailored to ensnare his victim like a fowler camouflaging his net to trap a bird (“methodical”). “Schemes, wiles and methods” speak of the trickery and subterfuge by which evil and temptation present themselves in our lives. Evil rarely looks evil until it accomplishes its goal. It gains entrance by appearing attractive, desirable, and perfectly legitimate. But to reiterate it is a baited and camouflaged trap. As Paul puts it in 2 Corinthians 11:14, Satan masquerades as an angel of light.
A SUMMARY OF THE “METHODEIA”
OF SATAN, OUR ADVERSARY, THE DEVIL
God’s Word teaches that Satan, our relentless, determined Adversary, the Devil, carries out the following with great craft and cunning (and even this long list is not exhaustive!)
Job 1:6-11 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. 7 And the LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.” 8 And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.” 9 Then Satan answered the LORD, “Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 “Hast Thou not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.11 “But put forth Thy hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse Thee to Thy face.”
Job 2:1-7 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the LORD. 2 And the LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “From roaming about on the earth, and walking around on it.” 3 And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil. And he still holds fast his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to ruin him without cause.” 4 And Satan answered the LORD and said, “Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. 5 “However, put forth Thy hand, now, and touch his bone and his flesh; he will curse Thee to Thy face.” 6 So the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life.” 7 Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.
Zechariah 3:1-2 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse (Hebrew = satan!) him. 2 And the LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?”
Revelation 12:10-11 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser (kategoros – one who speaks openly against, to condemn or accuse mainly in a legal sense) of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them before our God day and night. 11 “And they overcame (nikao = get the victory, conquer, prevail, “Nike missile”) him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even to death. (See notes Revelation 12:10; Revelation 12:11)
Job 1:12-19 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.” So Satan departed from the presence of the LORD. 13 Now it happened on the day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 14 that a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, 15 and the Sabeans attacked and took them. They also slew the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 16 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 17 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three bands and made a raid on the camels and took them and slew the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 18 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 19 and behold, a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people and they died; and I alone have escaped to tell you.”
Job 2:6-7 So the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life.”7 Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.
Luke 13:16 “And this woman, a daughter of Abraham as she is, whom Satan has bound for eighteen long years, should she not have been released from this bond on the Sabbath day?”
Revelation 2:10 ‘Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. (See notes Revelation 2:10)
Note: Remember that “in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us.” (NKJV, Ro 8:37)
Acts 10:38 “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good, and healing all who were oppressed (katadunasteuo = to tyrannize, rule over as a potentate, oppress harshly, exercise dominion against) by the devil; for God was with Him.
Ephesians 6:16; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one.
2Timothy 2:25–26 (The Lord’s bondservant) with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. (Comment: Note what sets the captive free – The Truth. The struggle is not a power struggle but a truth struggle!) (See notes 2 Timothy 2:25; 2:26)
Genesis 3:1-6,13 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.'” 4 And the serpent said to the woman, “You surely shall not die! 5 “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate…13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived (beguiled, led astray, deluded, seduced) me, and I ate.” (cf 1Ti 2:14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being quite deceived (seduced into error, enticed into sin), fell into transgression.)
John 8:44 “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning (see Genesis 3:1-6,13+), and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies. (Comment: Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote, “Sin has many tools, but a lie is the handle which fits them all.”)
Acts 13:10 (Saul known as Paul filled with the Holy Spirit spoke to Elymas the magician who was opposing the apostles) and said, “You who are full of all deceit (dolos = deliberate attempt to mislead other people by telling lies, duplicity, deliberate dishonesty, deceitful cunning) and fraud (recklessness, malignity, mischief, intrigue, unscrupulousness), you son of the devil, (in Acts 13:6 he is called “Bar-Jesus” = son of Jesus or son of Joshua! cf 2Cor 11:13-15 below) you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord?
2Cor 4:3-4 And even if our gospel is veiled (kalupto = covered over and hence not visible), it is veiled to those who are perishing (apollumi = pertains to destruction but not annihilation, to that which is ruined and is no longer usable for its intended purpose), 4 in whose case the god of this world (aion) (cf 1John 5:19) has blinded (tuphloo – cf use in 1John 2:11) the minds of the unbelieving (note that this speaks of their rejection of the light of the gospel which leaves only one alternative, the darkness of unbelief!), that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, Who is the image of God.
2Cor 11:13-15 For such men (those who were boasting that their work was like Paul’s and the real apostles) are false apostles (pseudapostolos), deceitful (dolios – guile filled, from dolos = one who deliberately attempt to mislead by telling lies with desire to gain advantage or preserve position) workers, disguising (metaschematizo from metá = change of place or condition + schematízo = change outward form without a change in the internal character as in metamorphoo = transfigure, transform, the outward here being truly representative of the inward nature) themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their deeds.
2Thess 2:8-10 And then that lawless one (Anti-Christ, man of lawlessness, son of destruction in 2Thess 2:3-4, the “little horn” of Da 7) will be revealed (apokalupto – he will be caused to be fully known, this “revelation” corresponding to the midpoint [3.5 years, time, times, half a time, 42 months, 1260 days] of Daniel’s Seventieth Week) whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth (cf Rev 19:15, 20) and bring to an end by the appearance (epiphaneia – literally His “shining forth” or upon with the idea of sudden and unexpected!) of His coming (parousia – the Second Coming of Christ); 9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity (energeia – operative power) of Satan, with all power and signs and false (pseudos = lying) wonders, 10 and with all the deception (apate = that which gives a false impression, whether by appearance, statement or influence; causes one to have misleading or erroneous views concerning the Truth) of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence (this is a Divine judicial decree, a reaping of their sowing, a consequence of their refusal to readily and deliberately make the choice to accept the Truth by which they could have been delivered and born again) so that they might believe what is false.
Revelation 3:9 ‘Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews, and are not, but lie– behold, I will make them to come and bow down at your feet, and to know that I have loved you. (See notes Revelation 3:9)
1Thessalonians 2:18 For we wanted to come to you– I, Paul, more than once– and yet Satan thwarted (egkopto from en = in + kopto = cut down, strike. To hinder, impede, detain. In classic Greek a military metaphor = to cut in on, throw obstacles in the way of or cut up the road so that normal movement is impossible!) us.
John 8:44 (See #4 above)
Acts 13:10 (See #4 above)
2Th 2:9-10 (See #4 above)
1Chr 21:1 Then Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel. (Note: Actually God permitted Satan to prompt David to take a census of the people, and David insisted on doing it, contrary to Joab’s advice. 2 Sa 24:1 “Now again the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and it incited David against them to say, “Go, number Israel and Judah.” The point is that Satan can only do what God allows! God here is said to have caused the action in the sense of permitting Satan to put David to the test. Be careful when you commit sins, for you are entering into Satan’s domain of darkness!)
John 13:2,26-27, 30 And during supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him… 26 Jesus therefore answered, “That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him.” So when He had dipped the morsel, He took and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 And after the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Jesus therefore said to him, “What you do, do quickly.”…30 And so after receiving the morsel he went out immediately; and it was night (an appropriate time for Judas who was now fully controlled by darkness, cf Luke 22:53 “While I was with you daily in the temple, you did not lay hands on Me; but this hour and the power [exousia] of darkness are yours.”).
Acts 5:3, 9 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back some of the price of the land?…9 Then Peter said to her, “Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they shall carry you out as well.”
2Cor 2:11+ (repent of an unforgiving spirit) in order that no advantage be taken of us by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his schemes. (Comment: When we sin and fail to repent we give the devil an opportunity. In this verse the sin is unforgiveness and it allows Satan to take advantage, to exploit, to cheat or to defraud. We need to get out of the darkness and walk in the light, where Satan cannot gain an advantage. If the church family—or any person in the family—carries an unforgiving spirit, then Satan will use that attitude as a beachhead for new assaults against the church.
As someone has well said an unforgiving spirit is the devil’s playground, and before long it becomes the Christian’s battleground. If somebody hurts us, either deliberately or unintentionally, and we do not forgive them, then the potential is for us to develop bitterness, which hardens the heart. We should be tenderhearted and kind, but instead we are hardhearted and bitter. Actually, we are not hurting the person who hurt us but are only hurting ourselves. Bitterness in the heart makes us treat others the way Satan treats them, when we should treat others the way God has treated us. In His gracious kindness, God has forgiven us, and we should forgive others. God Himself is infinitely kind, tender–hearted, and forgiving, and we show those virtues by imitating their Source. We do not forgive for our sake or even for their sake, but for Jesus’ sake. Learning how to forgive is one of the secrets of a happy Christian life and allows one to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
1Timothy 3:7 And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he may not fall into reproach and the snare (pagis – a trap which is fixed or fastened by a noose or notch and which can fall unexpectedly or suddenly so that wild animals and birds are caught by surprise) of the devil.
1Peter 5:8-9 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. (See notes 1 Peter 5:8; 1 Peter 5:9)
Mt 13:19+ “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road.
Mark 1:12-13+ And immediately the Spirit impelled Him to go out into the wilderness. 13 And He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted (peirazo) by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels were ministering to Him.
Luke 4:1-13+ And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led about by the Spirit in the wilderness 2 for forty days, being tempted (peirazo) by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days; and when they had ended, He became hungry. 3 And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”4 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE.'” 5 And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain (exousia) and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish (Jesus did not correct Satan – the world system indeed had been given to him as John wrote “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies [asleep like a baby in a cradle!] in the power of the evil one” 1John 5:19). 7 “Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.” 8 And Jesus answered and said to him, “It is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY.'” 9 And he led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here; 10 for it is written, ‘HE WILL GIVE HIS ANGELS CHARGE CONCERNING YOU TO GUARD YOU,’ 11 and, ‘ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP, LEST YOU STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.'” (Here the devil misquotes Scripture to his advantage – this promise applies only to those whose ways are in God’s will and Satan left that critical detail out of the verse when he quoted Ps 92:11-12) 12 And Jesus answered and said to him, “It is said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.'” 13 And when the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time (see study of kairos).
1Cor 7:5+ Stop depriving (present imperative = with negative implies this practice was already ongoing) one another, except (1) by agreement (2) for a time (kairos – a specified aliquot of time) (3) that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again lest Satan tempt (peirazo) you because of your lack of self-control. (Comment: The general rule is that neither husband nor wife has the right to refuse the physical relationship of marriage. Here Paul presents a possible exception that applies if all three conditions are fulfilled = sexual abstinence is permissible if the couple agrees in advance, set a specific time limit, and does so for the purpose of prayer. The KJV adds “fasting and prayer”. Sexual abstinence can become a tool of Satan and is never to be used as pretense for spiritual superiority or as a means of intimidating or manipulating one’s spouse. Physical love is to be a normal and regular experience shared by both marriage partners and avoids “the schemes of the devil“!)
1Thess 3:5 For this reason (knowing they were going to suffer affliction which might have made them vulnerable to the schemes of the devil), when I could endure it no longer, I also sent to find out about your faith, for fear that the tempter (peirazo) might have tempted you, and our labor should be in vain (empty, fruitless, without success).
Heb 2:14-15 Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. (Comment: The wages of sin are death, spiritually and eternally. Christ died as a satisfactory sacrifice [see Heb 2:16-17] and paid the price for our sins, the wages of which were death [Ro 6:23+] so that the devil no longer holds the power of death over believers and we no longer are held in bondage to that fear). (See notes Hebrews 2:14; 2:15; 2:16; 2:17)
This list (which is not exhaustive) of the “wiles of the devil” should thoroughly convince each of us of our need to be totally dependent on the full of armor of God and His Spirit’s strengthening of our inner man, causing us not to hesitate for even a moment to put on the whole armor! What are you waiting for dear Christian friend? Are any of the “pieces” missing or in disrepair. Then return and confess and repent and go forth into battle as more than a conqueror through Him Who loved us.
“Repent (aorist imperative = urgent. Do it now!) therefore and return (aorist imperative = urgent. Don’t procrastinate!), that your sins may be wiped away (blotted out, erased, obliterated), in order that times of refreshing (literally recovery of breath and so revival) may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19) (Comment: This verse in context was Peter’s call to the Jewish audience to be saved, but is still applicable in principle to believer’s who have chosen momentarily to walk in darkness instead of the light.)
Men don’t believe in a devil now
As their fathers used to do,
They reject one creed because it is old
For another because it is new.
But who dogs the steps of the toiling saint?
Who spreads the net for his feet?
Who sows the tares in the world’s broad fields,
Where the Savior sows His wheat?
They may say the devil has never lived,
They may say the devil has gone,
But simple people would like to know
Who carries the business on?
A. T. Robertson warns that the devil “is a crafty foe and knows the weak spots in the Christian’s armor.”
Expositor’s Bible Commentary writes that “In the second century A.D. the church interpreted these (schemes or methodeia) as torture inflicted on the martyrs. But in the context of Ephesians they are more likely to have been deliberate attempts to destroy the unity of Christ’s body (Eph 3:14-22; 4:1-16, 27) through the invasion of false doctrine and the fomenting of dissension (Eph 4:2, 21, 31, 32; 5:6). (Expositor’s Bible Commentary 6-Volume New Testament. Zondervan Publishing)
A few of the Devil’s schemes…
A. Makes us think money is more important than living sincerely before God.
B. Defames God’s character by accusing him of impure motives.
C. Opposes the necessity of Christ’s death for our salvation.
D. Tries to cripple spiritual leaders.
E. Prevents believers from meeting together in fellowship.
F. Prevents non-Christians from understanding and believing the gospel.
G. Sends his evil supporters to infiltrate the ranks of true Christians. (Discipleship Journal. Issue 2. Mar/Apr 1981)
Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus
“Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
Stand in His strength alone;
The arm of flesh will fail you,
You dare not trust your own.
Put on the gospel armor,
Each piece put on with prayer;
Where duty calls or danger,
Be never wanting there.”
The devil (1228)(diabolos from diá = through, between + ballo = to cast, throw) means a false accuser, slanderer (one who utters false charges or misrepresentations which defame and damage another’s reputation), backbiting (malicious comment about one not present), one given to malicious gossip or a calumniator (one who utters maliciously false statements, charges, or imputations about, this term imputes malice to the speaker and falsity to the assertions). See the discussion on the background on spiritual warfare (Click Ephesians 6:12)
The New York Times, in reporting on a survey by the Barna Group, noted that two-thirds of Americans do not believe in the devil as a living entity. The Times called it “a result of fundamental, long-term shifts in the nation’s religious culture.”
Ray Stedman writes that “The devil is real, he is active, he is working day and night, trying to subvert and undo and defeat God’s plan in human history. The devil is our enemy. And this is war. There is a spiritual war going on behind the scenes of history, and that spiritual war in the unseen world is driving events in our own visible world. There is no peace in the material world because there is a war now raging in the spiritual world. There is nothing more meaningful, more relevant, more real that we could be involved in than the cause of God in this vast spiritual war. The biblical teaching of spiritual warfare shines a spotlight of truth on the basic problem of human existence and human history. (Stedman, Ray. Spiritual Warfare)
Wuest has an interesting comment that the literal meaning of “to throw through” means “to riddle one with accusations.” (Golden Nuggets from the Greek New Testament: p.104. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans)
Warren Wiersbe makes an important point about dealing with the devil…
I was watching an electrician install a complex control panel. I said to the man, “It just amazes me how you fellows can calmly work on those lines with all of that power there. How do you do it?” The electrician smiled and said, “Well, the first thing you have to do is respect it. Then you can handle it.”
Satan is a dangerous enemy. He is a serpent who can bite us when we least expect it. He is a destroyer (Rev 12:11; Abaddon and Apollyon both mean “destruction”) and an accuser (Zech. 3:1, 2, 3, 4, 5; Rev. 12:9, 10, 11). He has great power and intelligence, and a host of demons who assist him in his attacks against God’s people (Eph 6:10ff). He is a formidable enemy; we must never joke about him, ignore him, or underestimate his ability. We must “be sober” and have our minds under control when it comes to our conflict with Satan.
A part of this soberness includes not blaming everything on the devil. Some people see a demon behind every bush and blame Satan for their headaches, flat tires, and high rent. While it is true that Satan can inflict physical sickness and pain (Luke 13:16; Job 1:8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16,1 7, 18, 19, 20, 21 – see especially Job 1:22!), we have no biblical authority for casting out “demons of headache” or “demons of backache.” One lady phoned me long distance to inform me that Satan had caused her to shrink seven and a half inches. While I have great respect for the wiles and powers of the devil, I still feel we must get our information about him from the Bible and not from our own interpretation of experiences. (Wiersbe, W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor)
In warfare knowledge of one’s enemy is vital in order to assure victory in battle. General Erwin Rommel was known as the “Desert Fox” because of his military prowess, especially in the North African desert in WWII. It is said that one of the keys that eventually led to his defeat was the fact that the Allied command was able to “get inside his head” and gain a sense of how he would strategize. How did they do this? They studied his detailed memoirs which had been published and thus began to gain insights into his personality, and thus his methods! In the same way, although believers are not to focus on Satanology, they are called to be aware of his schemes. Paul emphasized the importance of forgiveness to the church at Corinth…
in order that no advantage (pleonekteo = from pleion = more + echo = have > the idea is to outwit, get the better of, cheat, exploit or defraud) be taken of us by Satan (literally = Adversary); for we are not ignorant (unaware, uninformed about) of his schemes (KJV = devices = noema = purposes conceived by thinking = designs, intentions, schemes, plots, stratagems). (2 Cor 2:11)
The works of the devil are defined as “schemes” (Ephesians 6:11), “devices” (KJV) (2Cor 2:11), “snares” (2Ti 2:26–note). Our adversary beguiles, seduces, opposes, resists, deceives, sows tares, hinders, buffets, tempts, persecutes, blasphemes. Our adversary is personal, aggressive, intelligent, cunning and destructive, and is to be reckoned with seriously, vigilantly and intelligently.
Be careful to avoid one of two extremes in regard to the devil. First, do not think that Satan causes everything and is everywhere. Satan is a created being and a controlled being (cf. see especially Job 1-2; Zech. 3:1, 2, 3, 4, 5) and is neither omnipresent nor omniscient. The other extreme is justly as dangerous and that is to think that there is no such being as the devil, but that he is imaginary or myth. He is very real and very wily believers need to be very wary (not frightened). As stated elsewhere in the notes the spiritual struggle believers face with the devil and his demonic henchmen is not a power struggle as much as it is a truth struggle and the primary battlefield is therefore our minds.
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience” (Ep 2:1, 2–notes)
Comment: Satan occupies a twofold in the earth and in the air; ruling over both evil men and evil spirits. Christ never acknowledged Satan as king, but three times he calls him “the prince of this world,” thereby acknowledging his governmental authority. Ephesians teaches that he is the ruling spirit over “the sons of disobedience,” which includes all unregenerate mankind.
In John 8:44 Jesus said “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies.” (Comment: Because he is a liar and a murderer, the devil’s work is to deceive and to destroy. There you have the explanation for all the misery, hatred, murder, war, and other evils that have taken place in human history. Whom the devil cannot deceive, he tries to destroy, and whom he cannot destroy, he attempts to deceive. That is the working of the devil)
The devil was once an angel in heaven, the most beautiful angel in heaven. He led a rebellion against God and, as a result, was cast into the lower heavens. He walks on this earth, but he still has access into heaven to accuse the brethren both day and night.
In Genesis 3 we read that “the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1+)
The devil deceived the woman and caused the man to sin. By getting Adam to sin, sin entered the world and something else happened. Paul writes “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned– (Ro 5:12–note)
As a result of the sin of Adam, the depravity of man, the authority of this earth, its inhabitants and its lower atmosphere became Satan’s legally in the just system of God. When man sinned, it was like the world was turned over to the authority (exousia = now Satan had the right and might) of darkness, legally, because man chose to disobey his God. Death, the result of the curse of sin, was his weapon. His kingdom is a kingdom of darkness and deceit. Every person is born into his kingdom.
Wayne Barber writes that…
Before the cross and the substitutionary death of Jesus on the cross, man lived in fear of the devil and death. But Jesus conquered them both. In Ephesians 1:20 it says that He, Jesus, was seated far above all principality and powers. As a matter of fact, look at verse 20:
which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come. (See notes Ephesians 1:20; 1:21)
He didn’t say He seated Him above, he said He seated Him “far above“. Let me explain to you what that means. If you could take the power of Satan and put it on a scale next to the power of God, his doesn’t even show up. God’s is far above all principalities and powers. I want you to know that warfare is not a struggle against power. It is a struggle to maintain truth. We will see that as we walk through this. Satan is no equal to God. He is a creation. God is the Creator!
is not a struggle against
It is a struggle to maintain
Well, the believer needs to be aware that Satan is around. We are told that by Peter in his epistle. We need to be aware of the demonic. We need to be aware of darkness. We need to be aware that it has infected a world system and is in our face daily. We need to be aware of that, however, our focus is not to be on that. Our focus is to be on the resurrected, ascended, glorified Lord Jesus Christ and on His resurrection power in each individual life.
FOCUS ON THE LIGHT
Our FOCUS is to be on the resurrected, ascended, glorified Lord Jesus Christ and on His resurrection power in each individual life. That is our focus. We do not focus on darkness. We focus on light. The Prince and the power of light is the Lord Jesus Himself.
1John 5:18-19 says “We know that no one who is born of God [transformed, delivered, made into a new creature] sins [habitually = present tense] but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. We know that we are of God, and that the whole world (kosmos) lies (present tense = continually) in [the power of] the evil one.” (Comment: Note that “touch him” means touch to do harm.)
J Vernon McGee has an interesting comment on “lies” in 1John 5:19 “This is the text of a sermon which I have preached on several occasions entitled “When the Devil Puts the Baby to Sleep.” “And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth [actually, lies asleep – e.g., see Lk 2:12,16] in wickedness [or, in the arms of the wicked one].” In other words, the Devil has the world asleep. The Devil is saying to Vernon McGee, “Sh-h-h. Hush! You’re waking people up, and we don’t want to do that! They are very comfortable. Many people in churches are dead in trespasses and sins, and we don’t want to wake them up. Let’s leave them alone.” The Devil is concerned when people are awakened. You and I are living in a world that is asleep in the arms of the wicked one—if you look around today, you must agree with that statement. (McGee, J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)
Paul had warned about the wiles of the devil earlier writing “and do not give (stop giving = present imperative with a negative) the devil an opportunity. (Ep 4:27–note) (See Dwight Pentecost’s comment)
The KJV Commentary warns that “Men dream of a devil that is a hideous, horned, and hoofed monster who haunts the vice dens of the world; but God says he fashions himself into an angel of light and fashions his ministers as ministers of righteousness (2Cor 11:14,15). He is the champion of liberalism, ritualism, rationalism, and every other “ism” that seeks to displace Christ. His aim is to substitute something else and something different for the grace and truth of Christ. Never underestimate the enemy. (Dobson, E G, Charles Feinberg, E Hindson, Woodrow Kroll, H L. Wilmington: KJV Bible Commentary: Nelson)
John Eadie writes that “The great enemy of man, a veteran fierce and malignant, has a method of warfare peculiar to himself, for it consists of “wiles.” His battles are the rush of a sudden ambuscade. He fights not on a pitched field, but by sudden assault and secret and cunning onslaught. Vigilance, self-possession, and promptitude are therefore indispensable to meet him: and as his aim is to throw his opponents off their guard and then to surprise them, so there is need to be ever clothed in this complete armour of God. His “wiles” are seen in unsettling the mind of Eve by representing God as jealous of the first man and woman; in stirring up the warlike aspirations of David to take a military census and force a conscription as the basis of a standing army; in inflaming the avaricious and sordid spirit of Judas; and in his assaults on our Lord by an appeal to appetite, piety, and ambition. (Ephesians 6 Commentary)
Diabolos is the noun form of the verb diaballo which describes not only those who bring a false charge against one, but also those who disseminate the truth concerning a man, and do so maliciously, insidiously and with hostility.
Notice how the root words (diá = through + ballo = throw) picture what the devil does. He constantly throws between seeking to divide whether it be between a husband and wife, a child and parent, a church, etc. Resist his divisive, condemnatory accusations firm in your faith. Wuest has an interesting comment that the literal meaning of “to throw through” means “to riddle one with accusations.”
Diabolos is applied some 34 times to Satan, the god of this world, and in each case has the definite article in the Greek (“the” = defining a specific entity) and is never in the plural (the three uses below in the pastoral epistles are all plural) as when applied to men who, by opposing the cause of God, may be said to act the part of the devil or to side with him.
Diabolos is coupled with the word “Satan” (transliteration of Hebrew word meaning “adversary”) in the Revelation, John recording that an angel from heaven “laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years (Re 20:2–note)
Diabolos is used of one who makes accusations and presses charges. In Revelation 12:9-10+, we read that “the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser (kategor) of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses (kategoreo – present tense = describes the devil’s continual activity) them before our God day and night.” How grateful saints can be that “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Ro 8:1+)
Are you safe and protected from the devil’s accusations “in Christ Jesus” dear reader? If not, cry out this very moment to the Most High God for Him to give you His grace that you might this moment experience eternal security in Christ through your exercising of personal faith in Christ’s life, death, burial, resurrection and sure, soon return. God is faithful.
Constable has an excellent summary of Satan’s schemes – Satan has consistently aimed his personal attacks at getting people to doubt, to deny, to disregard, and to disobey the revealed will of God (cf. Gen. 3; Matt. 4). The world system seeks to get people to believe that they do not need God but can get along very well without Him (1 John 2). The flesh tempts us to think that we can find satisfaction, joy, and fulfillment on the physical, material level of life alone (Ro 7). (Ephesians Expository Notes) (Boding added)
Wiersbe gives us “A word of caution here: never discuss things with Satan or his associates. Eve made this mistake, and we all know the sad consequences. Also, never try to fight Satan in your own way. Resist him the way Jesus did, with the Word of God (Mt 4:1-11, Ed: Lk 4:1-11, 14+ – note that Jesus as fully man was giving us an example to follow and fended off the Devil’s attacks by being filled with the Spirit and filled with the Word! See Filled with His Spirit/Richly Indwelt with His Word – If you are not memorizing the Word of God [see also Memory Verses by Topic], you are disregarding and discarding one of your primary weapons against the Devil, the “sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” – Eph 6:17+). (Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor)
William Evans wrote that it is popular in some circles to day to spell the word devil with the letter “d” left off thus reducing the idea of an actual person called the devil to a mere influence called evil. The devil may be out of fashion, but he’s not out of business and as Evans adds “If the devil can’t mislead people that way, he would have them think of him as a horrible, monstrous-looking creature with a forked tail, dressed in a fiery red suit, and with horns protruding from his head. If the devil can get folks to think of him like that, then when he comes as an ‘angel of light’, he will not be recognized, and so find it easier to beguile his unsuspecting victims.”
Dr. Robert Thomas, professor of New Testament at The Master’s Seminary, warns: People don’t often go heretical all at once. It is gradual. And they do not do so intentionally most of the time. They slip into it through shoddiness and laziness in handling the word of truth.… All it takes to start the road to heresy is a craving for something new and different, a flashy new idea, along with a little laziness or carelessness or lack of precision in handling the truth of God. (2Ti 2:15) All around us today are startling reminders of doctrinal slippage and outright failure. (2Ti 4:3) In case after case someone who should have known the truth of God better failed in upholding that truth.
Vincent has an interesting note: “Temptation is thus represented as impelled from a distance. Satan attacks by indirection—through good things from which no evil is suspected. There is a hint of its propagating power: one sin draws another in its track: the flame of the fire-tipped dart spreads. Temptation acts on susceptible material. Self-confidence is combustible. Faith, in doing away with dependence on self, takes away fuel for the dart. It creates sensitiveness to holy influences by which the power of temptation is neutralized. It enlists the direct aid of God.”
Answer: Wiles are tricks or manipulations designed to deceive someone. The tongue-in-cheek phrase a woman’s wiles refers to the seductiveness of femme fatales in using charm or sex appeal to elicit a desired response from men. Wiles of the devil are those clever schemes used by Satan to ensnare us through temptation, threat, or intimidation. Ephesians 6:11 warns us to “put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (KJV). Other Bible versions speak of the “devil’s schemes,” “strategies,” or “evil tricks” rather than “wiles.” Scripture gives us insight into our enemy’s tactics: “We are not unaware of his schemes” (2 Corinthians 2:11), and we are wise to heed its warnings.
Here are some of the devil’s wiles we see in Scripture:
1. Challenging God’s Word.
Genesis 3 gives us a detailed look into this tactic of our enemy. It led to the first human sin, and Satan still uses it because it works so well. The first recorded words of the devil, through the serpent, were these: “Did God really say?” (Genesis 3:1). With those words, the devil invited the woman to reconsider what she understood God to have said. By adding her human interpretation, she convinced herself that God’s Word was far too restrictive.
By suggesting that we should reexamine the clear teaching of God’s Word, Satan invites us to add our own interpretation and thereby nullify God’s stated will. Entire church denominations are falling prey to these wiles of the devil. “Did God really say that homosexuality is wrong?” he hisses, and churches crumble. “Did God really say there are only two genders?” he suggests, inviting us to put our own spin on reality, making ourselves gods in place of the Lord. Ephesians 6:11 says that we need to be clothed in the whole armor of God to withstand such wiles.
2. Challenging our identity.
Luke 4:1–13 gives insight into several of the devil’s wiles. Satan came against Jesus to tempt Him in the wilderness. On two different occasions, Satan began his temptations with these words: “If you are the Son of God.” Satan knew exactly who Jesus was (Mark 1:34). Jesus was there when Satan fell “like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18). Significantly, the devil chose a time when Jesus was physically weak and hungry to attack His identity.
Satan does the same with us. To make his wiles more effective, he hits us during a crisis or a spiritual struggle and suggests, “If you were a child of God, this wouldn’t happen. If you were actually a Christian, God would help you right now.” Again, we need the “helmet of salvation” firmly in place to withstand such attacks against our identity and God’s character (Ephesians 6:17).
3. Twisting Scripture.
Another of the wiles the devil used against Jesus was to quote Scripture, but with a twist. In Luke 4:10–11, Satan quotes Psalm 91:11–12 in an effort to persuade Jesus to act in the flesh rather than follow the Spirit (see Galatians 5:16, 25). But Satan failed to complete the thought of the psalm. The next verse, Psalm 91:13, says, “You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.” Those animal references are metaphors for fierce and dangerous enemies—and the devil is likened to both a lion and a serpent in Scripture (Genesis 3:15; Revelation 20:2; 1 Peter 5:8; cf. Romans 16:20). The true meaning of the passage in Psalm 91 is that God will protect and empower His servants as they overcome the enemy, Satan. One of the wiles of the devil is to leave out key parts of Scripture in order to twist its meaning to fit his agenda.
We see these wiles of the devil in action today, as prosperity teachers and false prophets quote Scripture in selfish and misleading ways. They use enough of God’s Word to sound authoritative, but they twist it to fit their personal agendas. Cherry-picking the Bible for verses that affirm whatever we want to believe or do is a widespread problem, and most participants have no idea they have fallen victim to one of the wiles of the devil.
4. Offering a tempting alternative to obedience.
Another scheme or wile of the devil used in the temptation of Jesus was to suggest another path, avoiding strict obedience to God’s will. Cunningly, Satan knew better than to suggest that Jesus forget the whole salvation plan and go back to heaven. Instead, he offered an alternative. In Luke 4:5–7, “the devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, ‘I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.’” This temptation was aimed at the humanity of the Son of Man. Jesus now knew what it felt like to be in the flesh. He knew what spikes would feel like in His hands and feet. He knew what rejection and mockery would feel like when He was stripped naked and paraded before the crowds. Satan was offering Him a compromise. What if Jesus could “save the world” without having to suffer crucifixion? What if He could take a shortcut and possess all the world’s kingdoms now?
One of the most sinister wiles of the devil involves his ability to offer a religiously tainted compromise. He knows he can’t come at mature believers with a frontal attack on their values and convictions. So he slides in the back door, posing as a friend with a reasonable alternative: “Well, yes, technically it might be wrong for someone to move in with a boyfriend, but you can witness to him better as he watches you live out your faith.” Or this: “You don’t need to go to church to be spiritual. You connect better with God alone in the woods. Those people are all hypocrites anyway, and you are too righteous to associate with them.” We must beware of the devil’s wiles when he offers something other than total obedience to God’s will.
The New Testament writers often pointed out the wiles of the devil to those in the church who were falling for them, and we should take note. The presence of false prophets (1 Timothy 6:3–5), busybodies (1 Peter 4:15), adulterers (1 Timothy 1:9–10), and seducers (Revelation 2:20) are all part of Satan’s masterplan to undermine the church from within.
To combat the wiles of the devil, followers of Christ must stay clothed in the armor of God. We must stay immersed in His Word so that we recognize deception. And when we realize we have been caught in the wiles of the devil, we must quickly repent and seek godly accountability. Psalm 37:23–24 encourages those who desire to live godly lives: “The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand.” When the Lord holds our hand, the devil’s wiles cannot harm us.
- How, why, and when did Satan fall from heaven?
- Is Satan in hell? Where is Satan? How much power does Satan possess?
- Are Jesus and Satan brothers?
- Does Satan exist?
- What does it mean that Satan is the accuser?
- Why did Satan think he could defeat God?
- Is Lucifer Satan? Does the fall of Lucifer describe Satan?
- What are the names of Satan?
- Was Satan an angel?
- Does Satan have to get God’s permission before he can attack us?
- God vs. Satan – if God is all-powerful, why does He not just kill Satan?
- Is Satan the master of hell? Do Satan and his demons punish people in hell?
- Did God create Satan?
- What does Satan look like? What do demons look like?
- What did Jesus mean when He said, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven”?
- Why are both Jesus and Satan referred to as the morning star?
- Who is Satan? Who is the devil?
- Does a believer have authority over Satan?
- Does Satan still have access to Heaven? Why does God allow Satan to enter Heaven, as recorded in the Bible?
- Why does God allow Satan to attack us?
- Is the devil / Satan a person or a force / personification of evil?
- How is Satan god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4)?
- Does Satan have the power to control the weather?
- Does God love Satan?
- Can Satan read our minds or know our thoughts?
- If God knew that Satan would rebel, why did He create him?
- What does it mean that Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44)?
- What does it mean that Satan is prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2)?
- Why did God allow Satan and the demons to sin?
- Was Satan in charge of music in Heaven?
- What is the synagogue of Satan in Revelation?
- Why is God going to release Satan after the 1000 years?
- Why were Michael and Satan disputing over the body of Moses (Jude 9)?
- Is the king of Tyre prophecy in Ezekiel 28 referring to Satan?
- Questions about Angels & Demons
- Why did Jesus say to Peter, “Get behind me Satan”?
- Was Satan the serpent in Genesis chapter 3?
- What does it mean that Satan masquerades as an angel of light?
- Did Jesus fight Satan for the keys to the kingdom?
Brian Harbour – In Ephesians 6:11, Paul made reference to the “schemes of the devil.” Think of some of his schemes by which he tempts us to succumb to evil.
Scheme # 1: The devil searches out our basic character flaws and comes with a design to ruin us at the point of our weakness.
• To the sensual, he comes in skirts.
• To the bold, he bids us live by nerve and sensation.
• To the timid, he speaks about quietly withdrawing and playing it safe.
• To the intelligent, he tantalizes with the prospect of knowing good and evil.
• To the ambitious, he offers power.
• To the lazy, he whispers, “Why don’t you do that tomorrow!”
Satan attacks us at the point of our weakness.
Scheme #2: The devil points us to acceptable goals and then he tempts us to reach those goals in unacceptable ways.
A prime example of this was Satan’s approach to Jesus in the wilderness temptations recorded in Matthew 4. Satan held out before Jesus the very things Jesus had come to the earth to accomplish, but Satan tempted Jesus to accomplish these things in the wrong way. The conception that “the ends justifies the means” has been one of Satan’s most effective ploys since the beginning of our history.
Scheme # 3: The devil tempts us to be satisfied with less than our best. One man described this as “the lure of a lesser loyalty.”
“Don’t be a fanatic,” the devil whispers in our ear.
It’s okay to be religious; just don’t get too carried away with it.
It’s okay to be a Christian; just don’t make it your life.
Do just enough to get by but not enough to interfere with your own plans. Sometimes that is the devil’s approach.
Scheme #4: The devil urges us to make an exception.
“I know what you believe,” he says. “I know you have strong convictions, and that’s all right. I respect you for that. But just this one time-what can one little exception possibly hurt?” C. S. Lewis in the Screwtape Letters captured the essence of what I am saying when he wrote: “The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid ‘dens of crime’ that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice.” Many through the centuries have been deceived by the work of Satan and have been persuaded to identify themselves with evil. Evil is present in our world, and it is deceptive. (Harbour Verse by Verse)
Ray Pritchard – Satan does not observe the traditional rules of warfare. He uses anything and everything that he can to bring us down. This is part of what Paul meant when he spoke about the “schemes of the devil” in Ephesians 6:11. The word “schemes” might also be translated as “traps” or “tricks” or “tactics.” I am reminded of a certain Texas politician who was asked by a certain candidate had lost an election. “It happened because he forgot the first rule of knife fighting. There are no rules.” Satan doesn’t fight fair. He’s not going to give you an even break. He is a liar, a deceiver, a diabolical “angel of light” who comes to you in a thousand guises, tempting you to disobey the Lord. And he’s a lot smarter than you are. He knows your weak points better than you do. And because he is invisible, he can attack you any time of the day or night. (Read the full sermon Asymmetric Spiritual Warfare)
Ray Pritchard – Satan Doesn’t Fight Fair. In thinking about spiritual warfare from this perspective, keep two things in mind:
1) Satan’s goal is to discourage you so that you feel like giving up.
2) Satan doesn’t fight fair.
He does not observe the traditional rules of warfare. He uses anything and everything that he can to bring us down. This is part of what Paul meant when he spoke about the “schemes of the devil” in Ephesians 6:11. The word “schemes” might also be translated as “traps” or “tricks” or “tactics.” I am reminded of a Texas politician who was asked why a certain candidate had lost an election. “It happened because he forgot the first rule of knife fighting. There are no rules.” Satan doesn’t fight fair. He’s not going to give you an even break. He is a liar, a deceiver, a diabolical “angel of light” who comes to you in a thousand guises, tempting you to disobey the Lord. And he’s a lot smarter than you are. He knows your weak points better than you do. And he can attack you any time of the day or night.
Satan doesn’t fight fair. What is the mark of his diabolical work? We face opposition from the devil when there are . . .
- Unusual or repeated temptations,
- Attacks from an unexpected quarter,
- Delays that hinder us from obeying God,
- Inducements to doubt God’s Word,
- Circumstances that produce unusual pressure upon us,
- Temptations to sin in areas that never troubled us before,
- Prolonged bouts of discouragement,
- Worries that seem to consume us,
- Seductive appeals to sinful compromise,
- Bitterness toward others,
- Desires to give up on the Christian life,
- Enticements to turn away from the means of grace,
- Excuses made for lack of spiritual growth,
- Critical comments about other believers,
- Attempts to hide your behavior from others
From his message How to Meet the Enemy
Not Ignorant – General George Patton of World War II fame was seldom at a loss for words. What he said during a battle in North Africa may be legend, but it typifies the man. Patton’s troops and tanks were engaged in a successful counterattack of German forces under General Erwin Rommel. Patton is reported to have shouted in the thick of the battle, “I read your book, Rommel! I read your book!” And that he did. In Rommel’s book Infantry Attacks, the famed “Desert Fox” carefully detailed his military strategy. And Patton, having read it and knowing what to expect, planned his moves accordingly.
Satan has authored no book. God, however, has exposed our enemy’s tactics in His Holy Word. Here are but a few of his subtle strategies:
Here are but a few of his subtle strategies:
- Quote Scripture to lead us astray (Mt 4:6+) (ED: ACTUALLY HE MISQUOTES Ps 91:11-12!)
- Afflict the body (2Cor. 12:7+).
- Pluck away the seed of the Word (Mark 4:15+).
- Tempt by impure thoughts (1Cor 7:5+).
- Tempt by pride (1Ti 3:6).
- Hinder through circumstances (1Th 2:18+).
- Seduce by pleasure (1Ti 5:11,15).
- Severely buffet in a crisis (Luke 22:31+).
- Tempt to hypocrisy and lying (Acts 5:3+).
- The name Satan means adversary. He is also described as “the accuser of our brethren” (Rev 12:10+) and “a murderer from the beginning” and a liar (John 8:44).
Study these passages and plan your defense. Be always on the alert. Submit to God and resist the devil. Victory can be yours, but first you must know your enemy so you can recognize his strategy. – D J DeHaan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
We are not ignorant of [Satan’s] devices. —2 Corinthians 2:11
Today’s Scripture: Acts 6:1-15
Satan uses many methods to hinder the work of the Lord. Chapters 6 through 8 of Acts contain three illustrations of how he does his evil work through people and circumstances.
1. Satan creates dissension within the church. “In those days . . . there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists” (Acts 6:1). When a church becomes known for its bickering and backbiting, its witness in the community will be damaged.
2. The enemy tries to divert ministers and teachers from their main purpose of preaching the gospel. The apostles were feeling pressured to “leave the Word of God and serve tables” (6:2). Satan employs a similar tactic today by getting a pastor so involved in church programs that he has little time for prayer and the study of the Word.
3. In every age Satan seeks to destroy God’s people. In Acts 7 and 8 we read that Stephen was martyred, and that Saul “made havoc of the church” (8:3).
We need to be aware of Satan’s tactics and be on guard against his attacks. We don’t want to be a cause of dissension and diversion in the church. Instead, let’s prayerfully focus on Christ’s purpose for our lives. By: Richard DeHaan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
I want to live above the world,
Though Satan’s darts at me are hurled;
For faith has caught the joyful sound,
The song of saints on higher ground. —Oatman
Know satan’s strategy to avoid sin’s tragedy.
Matthew Henry – Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. Ephesians 6:11
Make use of all the proper defenses and weapons for repelling the temptations and stratagems of Satan – get and exercise all the Christian graces, the whole armor, that no part be naked and exposed to the enemy. Those who would approve themselves to have true grace must aim at all grace, the whole armor. It is called the armor of God, because he both prepares and bestows it. We have no armor of our own that will be armor of proof in a trying time … Faith, as relying on unseen objects, receiving Christ and the benefits of redemption, and so deriving grace from him, is like a shield, a defense every way. The devil is the wicked one. Violent temptations, by which the soul is set on the fire of hell, are darts Satan shoots at us, as are hard or difficult thoughts of God and as to ourselves. Faith applying the word of God and the grace of Christ quenches the darts of temptation. Salvation must be our helmet. A good hope of salvation, a Scriptural expectation of victory, will purify the soul, and keep it from being defiled by Satan. To the Christian armed for defense in battle, the apostle recommends only one weapon of attack; but it is enough, the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. It subdues and mortifies evil desires and blasphemous thoughts as they rise within; and answers unbelief and error as they assault from without. A single text, well understood, and rightly applied, at once destroys a temptation or an objection, and subdues the most formidable adversary. Prayer must fasten all the other parts of our Christian armor
Master Life – An awareness of spiritual warfare helps you identify major schemes of the devil, such as accusation, deception, and manipulation. You can recognize when Satan attacks churches through division, distraction, and heresy, or when he controls individuals through confusion, discouragement, and despair. It prompts you to study the Scriptures to understand and overcome Satan’s temptations, persecutions, and occult practices, and it helps you depend on God for victory.
Discipleship Journal asked its readers to rank the areas of greatest spiritual challenge to them. The results came back in this order:
5. (Tie) Anger/Bitterness and Sexual lust
The respondents also noted that temptations were more potent when they had neglected their time with God (81 percent) and when they were physically tired (57 percent). Resisting temptation was accomplished by prayer (84 percent), avoiding compromising situations (76 percent), Bible study (66 percent), and being accountable to someone else (52 percent).
Where he cannot destroy, there is no doubt that Satan’s object is to worry. He does not like to see God’s people happy. Martin Luther used to say, “Let us sing psalms and spite the devil,” and I have no doubt Martin Luther was pretty nearly right; for that lover of discord hates harmonious, joyous praise.
As the worker in metals knows that one metal is to be worked at such a heat, and another at a different temperature; as those who have to deal with chemicals know that at a certain heat one fluid will boil, while another reaches the boiling-point much earlier, so Satan knows exactly the temperature at which to work us to his purpose. Small pots boil directly when they are put on the fire, and so little men of quick temper are soon in a passion; larger vessels require more time and coal before they will boil, but when they do boil, it is a boil indeed, not soon forgotten or abated. The enemy, like a fisherman, watches his fish, adapts his bait to his prey; and knows in what seasons and times the fish are most likely to bite.
Grant Richison warns us that…
“The Devil uses stealth. He stalks every Christian. He is now on the loose. He is on the prowl looking to trap you in his devices. The Devil always seeks opportunities to undermine our Christian walk. He is constantly on the prowl. He is not omnipresent for he can only be in one place at a time. However, he has a massive infrastructure of emissaries (demons) who do his bidding. They seek to seduce every one of us. The Devil says, “I am looking for the spiritually naive. I’m patrolling the earth for simple souls who think that I am not real.” The idea that the Devil walks about in a red union suit, having a forked tail and cloven hoofs and carries a pitch fork is a religious fairy tale. He camouflages himself with this idea.” (The Devil)
One of the Devil’s most effective schemes or stratagems is to instill doubts about God’s goodness. These seeds of “doubt” can grow into an ungrateful spirit that refuses to thank God at all times for all things. Doubts about God was one of Satan’s greatest tools against Martin Luther. After the frightful Anfechtung (Contestation) of 1527 Luther wrote that “For more than a week I was close to the gates of death and hell.” It is therefore no surprise that Luther’s great hymn A Mighty Fortress Is Our God has such great stanzas on “spiritual warfare. Roland Bainton, Luther’s biographer, writes: “The content of his depressions was always the same, the loss of faith that God is good and that He is good to me.”
A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
by Martin Luther
A mighty fortress is our God,
A bulwark never failing;
Our helper he, amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great,
And, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.
Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side,
The Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that might be?
Christ Jesus, it is he;
Lord Sabaoth, his name,
From age to age the same,
And he must win the battle.
And tho this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph thro’ us:
The Prince of Darkness grim,
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure.
For lo, his doom is sure,
One little word will fail him.
That word above all earthly pow’rs,
No thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
Thro’ him who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindreds go,
This mortal life also;
The body they may kill:
God’s truth abidest still,
His kingdom is forever.
The following devotional illustrations are all from Our Daily Bread (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Shrike System Ephesians 6:10-18 April 4, 2006
The ancient sport of falconry used trained hawks or falcons in the pursuit of wild game. When the “educated predator” was allowed to fly, however, it often rose too high for human eyes to see. So a hunter often carried a small caged bird called a shrike. By watching the antics of the little bird, the man could always tell where his hawk was, for the shrike instinctively feared the predator and cocked its head to keep it in view.
Christians desperately need an alert perception similar to that of the shrike to detect their spiritual enemy. Our adversary, Satan, “walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Our responsibility, according to the apostle Peter, is to be sober and vigilant. In other words, we’re to be always on the alert.
It would be nice if God had giant sirens to warn us of an attack by the devil. But He doesn’t operate that way. Instead, we must read the Bible regularly, meditate on its truths, maintain a prayerful attitude throughout the day, and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Only then will we be sensitive to an imminent assault by the evil one, and be armed by grace to meet it. —Mart De Haan
The devil is clever, deceiving us all,
He cunningly causes the strongest to fall;
But we his sly methods are sure to discern
By making God’s warnings our daily concern. —D. De Haan
He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. —1John 4:4
The Angel Of Music Ephesians 6:10-18 May 28, 2006
In Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical The Phantom of the Opera, a young chorus girl named Christine Daae receives voice training from a mysterious musician she calls the “Angel of Music.” Christine believes this is the angel her dying father had promised to send to complete her musical training.
As the plot thickens, we find that her mysterious mentor is really a demented man who wants to carry her away into a bizarre underworld beneath the opera house. What the girl thinks is a supernatural agent sent by her beloved father is really a madman who wants to possess her for his own ends. The “Angel of Music” is evil masquerading as good.
The believer in Christ also faces an evil one who masquerades. One of Satan’s key strategies is to look like someone who is good. Paul told us, “Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light” (2Corinthians 11:14). The Greek word translated as “transforms” means “to change appearance, masquerade, or disguise oneself.”
In preparing us to face the evil strategies of the devil, God has provided all the equipment we need to stand our ground. Protecting ourselves with the armor of God unmasks the evil that opposes us and stabilizes our spiritual walk (Ephesians 6:10-18). —Dennis Fisher
When you’re making a decision,
Evil sometimes wears a mask;
Trust the Lord for true discernment—
He’ll give wisdom if you ask. —Hess
God’s armor is tailor-made for us, but we must put it on.
Blackbeard March 22, 2006 Ephesians 6:10-18
As a young man in the late 1600s, Edward Teach joined the crew of a British ship that was headed to the Caribbean. Much later in his nautical career, he managed to capture a merchant vessel and turn it into a 40-gun warship. Teach soon became known as Blackbeard—the most feared pirate in the hemisphere.
Blackbeard had some success as a pirate, but his “career” abruptly ended when he encountered a contingent of the British Royal Navy. In a desperate battle, he and his fellow pirates were killed, putting an end to their terrorizing exploits.
Long ago in the heavenly places, an angel fell into spiritual piracy. Lucifer was a cherub who stood in the radiant glory of God (Ezekiel 28:11, 12, 13, 14, 15). But his own self-love replaced love for his Creator. Desiring to be like the Most High, he led a rebellion and was cast out of heaven (Isaiah 14:12, 13, 14, 15). Today he and his henchmen are doing whatever they can to commandeer the lives of human beings (Luke 8:12; 2Cor 4:4).
Even so, we don’t need to be afraid. Satan is a dangerous enemy, but Jesus sealed his ultimate fate when He rose from the dead. And He has given us everything we need to withstand the devil’s attacks (Ephesians 6:10-18). —Dennis Fisher
And though this world with devils filled
Should threaten to undo us;
We will not fear, for God has willed
His truth to triumph through us. —Luther
He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. —1John 4:4
My Achilles Heel Ephesians 6:10-18 July 17, 2001
Nobody is temptation-proof. Even mature Christians have weaknesses in their spiritual armor that make them vulnerable to a wounding attack by the enemy of their souls. Our pride can provide the very opening needed for the sharp thrust of a satanic dart. So can the love of money, a quick temper, a critical tongue, or chronic impatience.
What, after all, is temptation? It’s any enticement to think, say, or do something contrary to God’s holy will. It may be a weak impulse or a powerful urge. It’s anything that’s against what God approves or desires for us.
The ancient Greeks told a story of a warrior named Achilles. His mother had been warned that he would die of a wound, so she dipped him as an infant in the river Styx. That was supposed to make him invincible. But she held him by one heel which the protective waters didn’t cover. And it was through that heel that he received his fatal wound.
Each of us must ask: What is my Achilles heel? We need to know our weaknesses, where we could easily be wounded spiritually. Then, as we rely on the Lord for His help, we will be protected from “the fiery darts of the wicked one” (Ephesians 6:16). —V C Grounds
Leave no unguarded place,
No weakness of the soul;
Take every virtue, every grace,
And fortify the whole. —Wesley
Our greatest weakness may be our failure to ask for God’s strength.
Courtesy of preceptaustin.org