The “Brave New World” of the 21st Century requires a “Brave New Discipleship” strategy.

Are You Alert to Satan’s Strategies?

Posted on: July 11, 2017



It does no one any good not to operate on the basis of truth. Being in touch with reality is an essential part of a well-ordered life.

As Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) To the degree that we do not know the truth, we are vulnerable to ignorance and deception.

That being said, the pursuit of truth… and the elimination of lies… is a major objective in the Christian life.

But it is not easy. The apostle Paul says, in Ephesians 6:12, that in this life, we do not struggle against flesh and blood, but against a cast of spiritual enemies, commanded by Satan, in a spiritual war. In that war, Paul says in verse 11, we are to “stand firm against the schemes of the devil.” The word “schemes” means, “strategies, wiles, deceptive methodologies.”

The point is that, as in all warfare, a central strategy is deception: trick the enemy so that you can gain an advantage over him and win the battle.

This is no surprise, of course, because Satan has two defining characteristics:

  1. He is a deceiver: John 8:44 says that Satan is, in his very nature, “a liar and the father of lies.”
  2. He is a destroyer: Revelation 9:11 gives Satan the name, “Apollyon,” which means “destroyer.”

Satan deceives in order to destroy!

He has two strategies:

  1. To keep us from learning the truth
  2. To deceive us into believing lies even if we have been exposed to the truth

His goal is to get us to believe that what is false is true, that what is bad is good, and that what is wrong is right, with the end goal of this strategy of deception leading to our destruction.

So it is of major importance for us to be alert to what lies we might be believing. It is an ongoing task, a daily challenge.

In this battle in which we all find ourselves, whether we want to be in it or not, we have two corresponding strategies of our own:

  1. Learn the truth
  2. Work hard at actually believing and accepting the truth we do know.

It is all too common for Christians to know truth, but not believe it. Any number of times, I have had to accept the fact that if I read something on a true/false test, I would answer “true”, but in reality, I didn’t really believe it.

My favorite example is Philippians 4:9 – “My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” If I saw that framed as a question on a true/false test, I would answer, “true.” Yet the raging anxiety that sometimes rises up when threatened with financial, or health, or circumstantial crisis tips me off that I am not deeply embracing that truth.

When that happens, the enemy says, “Gotcha!”

We must learn to use our negative emotions to alert us to truth that we may not be believing.

When fear, anger, or worry rise up and grab us by the throat, it is time to ask ourselves, “What lies are we believing?”

We may need counseling to help surface the truth we are missing. Other times, we may discover it through conversations with wise friends, through reading books, through studying the Scripture, or through prayer and meditation.

Then, we must find Scripture that speaks to that truth, memorize it so deeply that we can say it as fast as an auctioneer (as a way to measure if we have it memorized deeply enough to help us), and then take that Scripture through our minds repeatedly throughout the day, day after day, alert for new insights and trusting the power of repetition to renew the mind.

Neuroscience tells us that it takes approximately 30 days for the brain to rewire itself with a new truth. As we recite the Scripture repeatedly over time, the Lord renews our mind. And, as Romans 12:2 says, as our mind is renewed, our lives are then transformed.

It is not quick, and it is not easy, but it is possible for us to gradually weed out the lies we believe and replace them with healing truth. It is a lifelong process, but one that pays increasingly great spiritual dividends. As we wash our minds, over and over again, with the truth of Scripture, the Holy Spirit transforms our lives and bears His fruit in our hearts: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Next week, we will look at some of the specific lies that the enemy tries to get us to believe and act on. Until then, we can be alert to Satan’s strategies to deceive and destroy, and commit our selves to seeking out the truth that will set us free.

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