If I was to ask you, “How is the devil scheming against you today?” How would you respond? Are you aware of what he’s up to in your life?
Now I don’t know your exact situation, but I can take a guess at what you’re struggling with.
Your job may be in jeopardy and your finances are already tight. You’re trying to pay off your credit cards, but just can’t seem to make any progress. Some unexpected bill always seems to pop up at the worst possible time.
It seemed like your spouse was changing (for the better), but then it happened again. You caught him in a lie. She said she’d drink less, but you came home and found her passed out. You both said you wouldn’t let the little things get to you, but they did and you said some things you regret now.
You found drugs or condoms in your teenager’s bedroom.
You found pornography on the computer. Again.
Iraq. Afghanistan. Iran. North Korea. Egypt. Libya. Who’s next?
You thought you’d be married by now. Or divorced. You just didn’t think you’d still be in the same circumstances.
The mole turned out to be cancer.
The United States is $14 trillion in debt. By the time you finish reading this post, the debt will have increased by another $8 million. It’ll be up $4 billion by this time tomorrow. With no end in sight.
Here’s what I know–one or more of those situations hit close to home for you. Something in that list causes you worry or fear or anxiety.
So here’s how the devil schemes against you–he tries to get you to focus on the circumstances instead of on God. That’s one of his most powerful schemes. He deceives you into thinking everything is spiraling out of control. He deceives you into thinking you won’t be able to handle whatever is in front of you. He deceives you into thinking God won’t look out for you or meet your needs or be true to His promises.
But Satan has no power. His only real power is in the lie. To combat lies, you use truth.
In Ephesians 6, Paul wrote:
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
You and I are not strong enough in ourselves to combat Satan’s lies. We are only strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. We must know the truth to be able to take our stand against the devil’s schemes.
12 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.
We do not fight against people. Your neighbors or co-workers are not your enemy. Now does Satan use unbelievers to advance his purposes? Absolutely. And when that happens, we must stand on the side of truth (always in love). But remember, our battle is against unseen evil beings who are intent on deceiving you.
If they can deceive you, then they can discourage you. To discourage means: to deprive of courage, hope, or confidence; dishearten; dispirit.
When we believe Satan’s lies rather than God’s truth, we are deprived of courage, hope and confidence.
13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
The armor of God consists of the basics of our faith:
We must know the truth, the Word of God. Sermons are great, but usually only comprise about .3% of your week. Add in some good podcasts from men like Mark Driscoll, Matt Chandler and Erwin McManus and you’re getting ahead. But there’s no substitute for studying God’s word, the Bible, on your own.
The gospel gives us peace with God. It gives us right standing with Him–righteousness. We are no longer His enemies or under His wrath. (Read Ephesians 2:1-10) Satan would like you to believe none of that is true.
Faith is believing God. Of course you can choose to believe your circumstances, but that only leads to discouragement. Remember, Satan wants you focused on what you see. When you are focused on what’s happening around you, then God will appear small and unconcerned.
Be aware of the devil’s schemes today. Don’t allow your mind to do whatever it wants. Filter thoughts and ideas and messages from the world through the truth of God’s word. When something doesn’t line up–reject it. Don’t allow just any old thought into your mind.
It’s not easy to believe the truth and reject the lies, but what’s the alternative?