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The Schemes of The Devil

Ephesians 6:11 (ESV) – Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.

There are tactics and schemes in all sorts of fields. Football and hockey teams have schemes and designs for how they run their defense or offensive systems. These schemes are a set of principles and strategies for success in their respective sports. There are military tactics that teach best practices for how to set ambushes, clear buildings, or endure interrogation. These tactics are specific instructions, plans, and approaches for success in these missions. Schemes and tactics are purposeful, organized approaches for success in whatever field is in question. The Scriptures teach that Satan has schemes and tactics in how he operates in the world. 

Our text today highlights this reality. Paul is writing to the church in Ephesus and is closing his letter to them. He emphasizes the reality of spiritual warfare by saying, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.”

To put on armor is an active preparation for battle. Paul instructs Christians to armor up in order to stand against the schemes of the devil. There is a spiritual battle waging around us and Satan attacks with ferocity. The armor of God is intended to help us against those assaults. But notice the phrase “stand against the schemes of the devil.” Paul implies here that Satan doesn’t operate randomly or from the hip, but instead has schemes. He says in another passage that Satan has “designs” (2 Corinthians 2:11). This means that Satan runs plays and tactics to cause us to stumble. His temptations are calculated and methodical. He knows how to set traps that devour people.

A few of the schemes Satan loves to run…He loves to question the authority of God’s Word. He loves to isolate believers from community, so they are easily devoured. He blinds people to the consequences of sin. And he pounces on the suffering and trials of people to cause them to question God’s love and power.

This lesson teaches us not to underestimate our foe. He is real. He is intentional in his desire to kill, steal, and destroy believers (John 10:10). He is a deceiver and accuser of the brethren. His tactics and schemes are not new, but they are effective. We need to be wise and cunning as we navigate this life. We need the armor of God donned and active. Satan will not fight fair. So be mindful of the schemes of the devil.

Reflection & Journal: 
- What are some possible schemes and tactics Satan uses?
- How does this passage inform us about the way Satan seeks to attack believers?
- How can we don the armor of God and stand firm against Satan’s schemes?

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