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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 one category, he writes of four. Before he describes these evil beings, he writes for us to stand against the devil’s schemes or methods (v. 11). Using the analogy of an American football coach with a playbook to direct his team, Satan continually tries different plays against each of us that are in Christ. We should not call them "plays"; they are strategies designed to overcome and destroy your life and testimony of Christ. He observes your weaknesses and strategizes how to overwhelm you by finding a fault or 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 failed in their various attempts to draw into sin a holy man living as a hermit in the desert of northern Africa. Every effort met with failure, so Satan became personally involved in the case, angered with his subordinates' incompetence. He said, "You have failed because 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." The holy man's face immediately 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 a 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. When given an opportunity, the enemy will use people against us, 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 structured his evil forces so 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 walking with Christ are out from being under 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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