The Enemy's Tactics
Ephesians 6:10-12 - Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
The book of Epehsians was written to Christians, not to unblievers; and it was not just written to a few, but to all believers in the church. He tells us here that the enemy is plotting against each one of us; not just the preachers, but each one of us. He tells us to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. I like the word that Paul used there, schemes. That lets us know he's using premeditation and forethought. He actually thinks out ahead of time what will work and what will not work.
Whatever your struggle may be it's going to start with a suggestion, a thought, and it typically has to sound really good or no one would take it. Christians need to realize that their head is such a tool for the natural; but for the spiritual, it's a real problem because that's the vehicle he's going to use on you. The Spirit of God doesn't dwell in your head, He dwells in our spirits. In order for the enemy to redirect your life, he has to affect your thinking. He has to get you to start thinking different.
Discerning between what is coming from your head and what is coming from your spirit is not always easy to do. It doesn't matter how long you've been a Christian, how long you've been filled with the spirit, how long you've been walking with Jesus, it never gets easy because it can go back and forth. Sometimes you're sharper, sometimes you're not as sharp in the things of the Lord.
A lot of factors go into how sharp you are in things of the Lord: how much you've been at church, what your week was like, did you have to deal with a bunch of crazy people all in one week. All of these things can affect what happens to your head and if he can get your head to take the controls and get you to make decisions with your head instead of with your heart then he will win every time - every time.
The devil doesn't really have authority over you. He cannot make you do anything. He has to trick you or talk you into it. It starts with thoughts, even innocent thoughts. It's not necessarily an issue with things like drinking and drugs; it can just be an issue of misdirection for your life because you pursue other things. When the enemy offers you a thought, it is not random. He's offering it because he thinks you're going to respond to it. The enemy watches you. He learns what will work with you to trick you.
Ephesians 6:13 - Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
This doesn't necessarily mean a single day. The evil day, might be a week, it might be a month, you don't know; and the enemy has stepped up his effort because he knows the time is short. You have to resist as long as the situation goes on.
So, it starts with emotional or intellectual attacks to try and direct or guide your life. There are many things that seem so innocent to us, but actually they are a big deal to the Lord.
Ephesians 6:14-17 - Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Now, there is no need to break these things down. He's simply talking about being prepared. He's talking about stuff that will help you win. He's referring to a Roman soldier and saying just like that soldier has protective gear, so do we. I want to focus on verse 16: In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. What is a flaming arrow? What is he shooting at you? Thoughts. He's trying to get you to think a certain way so that you will act a certain way so he can direct you a certain way.
I want to encourage you to make sure you don't have an offense with any person because you are putting yourself out of fellowship with God and you are opening the door wide open for yourself to be totally deceived and misguided. The devil wants you upset at somebody or something constantly if he can.
I John 2:11 - But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
To God, hating someone just means you don't love them. And notice it says he does not know where his is going, but he's still going; he just doesn't know where he's going. He thinks he's going one place but he's not.
Think about how easy it for satan to hurt people. All he has to do is get you to embrace a thought.