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Satan’s Schemes and Strategies

In our daily meditations the last few days, we have been looking closely at the unseen world around us and those that inhabit that spiritual plane. Paul the apostle writes that in that realm are at least four different categories of spiritual beings that are at war against God’s creation and kingdom:

10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12For 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 (Ephesians 6:10-12).

Paul the Apostle could have written that our struggle was against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms, but instead of the one category, he writes of four. Before he gets to describe these evil beings, though, he writes for us to stand against the devil’s schemes or methods (v. 11). If I may use the analogy of American football with the coach directing his team using a playbook, Satan continually tries different plays against you; However, we should not call them "plays"; they are strategies designed to overcome and destroy your life. He observes your weaknesses and strategizes how he may overcome you by finding a fault, a bent in your character, similar to a lion prowling around: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Let me give you an example:

There is a fable that Satan's agents were failing in their various attempts to draw into sin a holy man who lived as a hermit in the desert of northern Africa. Every effort had met with failure, so Satan, angered with his subordinates' incompetence, became personally involved in the case. He said, "the reason you have failed is that your methods are too crude for one such as this. Watch this." He then approached the holy man with great care and whispered in his ear, "your brother has just been made Bishop of Alexandria." Instantly the holy man's face showed that Satan had been successful: a great scowl formed over his mouth, and his eyes tightened up. "Envy," said Satan, "is often our best weapon against those who seek holiness."[1]

Do not underestimate the knowledge that Satan and his evil angels and demons have gained over thousands of years as they have watched people go about their daily lives. He knows how the human mind thinks. Remember, our enemy is not limited to the earthly life of seventy years; he has been at this from the Garden of Eden.

The Greek word translated into English as struggle in the passage at the top of the page (v. 12) is the word palē, which means to wrestle swaying back and forth. It carries the thought of two individuals in hand-to-hand combat, each trying different maneuvers to pin the other into submission. Paul writes that our struggle or wrestling is not against flesh and blood; in other words, people are never our enemy. The enemy will use people against us when given an opportunity, but the Christian must not retaliate against that person. It is not flesh and blood that we fight against; the fight is against unseen spiritual forces in the heavenly realms. Being aware of these things is essential for us to understand. See the opposition for what it is. The REAL battle is with the enemy of our souls. The Lord will give you the strategy to overcome evil with good. Ask God for His plan.

John the Apostle wrote:

We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one (1 John 5:19).

I believe John is writing that Satan has so structured his evil forces that countries, regions, towns, villages [the whole world], and yes, even people, have some level of enemy personality controlling what goes on under their sphere of influence. In referencing the entire world under the control of Satan, John the Apostle is talking about the world system set up by Satan against God. Those who are walking with Christ are out from his authority and control (Colossians 1:13). The only way he can influence us is in the area of our minds if we will allow him. In our meditation tomorrow, we will take a closer look at the Greek words Paul used to describe the four categories of evil spoken of in Ephesians 6:12, or you can click the link below to read the in-depth study today.

This meditation is a shortened version of the study: Know Your Enemy, found in The War Against Satan and Demons series.

[1] Edited by Michael Green, 1500 Illustrations for Biblical Preaching, Published in 1982 by Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Mich. Page 121.


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