Knowing How Your Enemy Fights
I realized today that I am a day behind in my current study, Twisting the Truth, by Andy Stanley. The study revolves around a video (that I still have not watched…), and then it gives 5 devotional-type assignments for each day of the next week. I didn’t realize this right away, so I started reading and writing about the first session, and then yesterday I wrote about what was supposed to be Monday’s daily assignment. So, today I’m going to catch up by reading over and writing about yesterday’s and today’s assignment. Fortunately for me, they are very closely related.
The assigned passage to read for these 2 days is Ephesians 6:10-12. Allow me to share:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Paul encourages us to “be strong in the Lord.” His reasoning is that, as we’ve talked about the last 2 days, the devil is working hard to knock us down. And the devil isn’t exactly fighting fair – Paul calls what Satan is doing “schemes.” It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that these “schemes” are actually deceitful trickery, but I did a little word study on this passage, and what I found was pretty interesting.
First, in order to use Strong’s concordance for the word study, I had to look up the verse in the KJV. Here, the word “schemes” is translated “wiles”:
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (emphasis added)
Seeing the word “wiles”, I couldn’t help but think of Wile E. Coyote. If you’re familiar with the old cartoon, it’s not hard to see that the way Wile E. Coyote works against Roadrunner is exactly how Satan works against us. In every single Roadrunner cartoon, Wile E. Coyote comes up with some plan that will allow him to catch Roadrunner (who is very, very fast). He puts his plan into action, and he lies in wait, hoping to catch Roadrunner off-guard. He’s never successful, but his methods are crafty, all the same.
The word “wiles” in this Ephesians 6:11 is translated from the Greek word methodeia, which you can probably see has to do with following a method or a plan. But it also can be used to mean “to follow craftily, frame devices, deceive” and can deal with “cunning arts, deceit, craft, trickery” (Thayer’s Lexicon, BlueLetterBible.org). Satan’s methods to bring us down are exactly this – to deceive through well-thought-out, crafty schemes, aimed at tricking us into doing things that are harmful.
This kind of warfare is probably the hardest to stand up against. Satan’s attacks aren’t “shock and awe” and full artillery to your face kind of attacks. They’re secretive, below-the-radar, hidden roadside bombs kind of attacks. And if you watch the news, you know that most of our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are killed by these kinds of attacks – not full-out fire fights. The only way to fight against this kind of attack is to be prepared ahead of time. Paul says “put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand.” Putting on the armor ahead of time is the only way to stand.
A lot of times, we forget about Satan and the fact that he’s against us. We get too wrapped up in our lives to even see that we’re being attacked. That’s exactly where Satan wants us to be – oblivious to him and his wily schemes. On top of this, I think Satan likes to get us to fight against each other. Jesus made a great point when He said “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand” (Matthew 12:25). Satan knows this, and I think he sets us up to fight against each other, so that we’ll fall. But Paul was clear when he wrote “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” We only help Satan out when we fight amongst ourselves as Christians. We must remember that our true fight is against the devil and his minions – the spiritual forces of evil.
What is your take on a Christian’s struggle against Satan? Have you ever had a time when you felt like the devil was fighting you or something you were doing? Please share!