In Ephesians 6 there is a word which describes the volume of ways the enemy can attack us, distract us, sway us, stop us. The enemy is out to steal, kill, and destroy. He will do whatever he can to steal from us, kill us, and/or destroy us. Two weeks ago we looked at how he tells us ‘we don’t have what it takes’. Last week, we discussed what is on our ‘whiteboard in hell’. This week we look at the ‘the schemes of the devil’. Eph 6:11. We wrestle against schemes of the rulers, authorities, cosmic powers, and spiritual forces. But before we look at some of the schemes, ‘the methodias’ (Greek) of the devil, let me remind you that, ‘you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.’ 1 John 4:4. And, ‘No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.’ 1 Cor. 10:13. So, as you read this, remember…if you are His, you have what it takes, He is in you through His Spirit who is greater. He will provide each of us a way of escape when the enemy attempts to sway, distract, stop, or shoot at us.
Below are just four ways satan works. This is not an exhaustive list. He has many many methods and will intertwine them. But, there is a way out. He is a Person, not a method.
Don’t just stand there and endure the onslaught!
Lies – In the garden satan lied to Eve. He said, ‘did God say…?’ Genesis 3:1. Satan will attempt to dissuade you. He will bring in to question what God says. He will attempt to keep you from believing the truth as ‘true truth’ in its complete form. The more you know our Father personally over the years, the more you will know His voice and know His truth and His love. You can take the way of escape from a lie, or suggestion of mistruth. Jesus did this three times at the end of His forty days in the wilderness. Mark 1:13. Get to know Truth (the Person of Christ).
Distractions – Israel did not obey God. They did not drive out the Canaanites from the land, so ‘they shall become thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you.” Judges 2:3. Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” 1 Corinthians 15:33. Those around you who do not follow Christ will distract you from following Christ. This does not mean you don’t care for those who don’t know Christ. You must love your neighbor, and see that you show Christ to them in your actions and words. But do not let them distract you from being who you are, and following Him closely. Focus on His ways, no matter the distractions.
Lures – ‘Some of your own men will come forward and say things that distort the truth. They will do this to lure disciples into following them.’ Acts 20:30, 31. ‘Everyone is tempted by his own desires as they lure him away and trap him. Then desire becomes pregnant and gives birth to sin. When sin grows up, it gives birth to death.’ James 1:14, 15.
Other people and your own desires will be used by the enemy to lure you away from following Christ. ‘Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.’ James 4:8.
Passions and pleasures – The world and the flesh offer alternatives to Christ. The enemy will do what he can to use them to draw you away from following Christ. ‘So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 2 Timothy 2:22. ‘For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.’ Titus 3:3-7. Whether we are new followers of Christ or have been for some time, the enemy will go after us using the things of this world.
Flaming arrows – These can be large or small. Click here to read “Flaming Arrows”.
As you follow Christ closely you will hear His Spirit, Who He promised would come to those who follow Him. ‘When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.’ John 16:13.
The more you intentionally follow more closely to Him, the more you will be able to avoid snares. Though in my opinion, you will not arrive at perfection till the day you cross over to be with Him. You will struggle against these things. So fight the good fight.
‘Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.’ James 4:7-8.