Put on the full armor of God, so that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
Why do we tend to wander away from the God we love? Another reason for our departure from the faith is that we have an enemy who is out to destroy us. His name is Satan.
In Ephesians 6:12, the apostle Paul writes, “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.” Living a God-honoring life is difficult. Paul says it is a struggle. The word “struggle” refers to a wrestling match. In Paul’s day a wrestling match was a life-and-death match in which the loser would be executed. That’s the kind of struggle Paul said the Christian life is.
In this struggle, our greatest obstacle is not another person but a spiritual power. I think Paul pointed that out because he knew our tendency to blame other people for our problem. Some of you would say, “My struggle is with my spouse who doesn’t appreciate me. My struggle is against that boss who mistreats me every day. My struggle is against my friend who has wronged me.” Paul said, “No, our greatest obstacle in life is not another person, flesh and blood. It is a spiritual power, Satan himself.”
And notice verse 11 of Ephesians 6. Paul says, “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.” Satan is not only real, but he has a scheme to destroy you. Satan has a plan to destroy your marriage. He has a plan for the rebellion of your children. He has a plan to ensure your departure from the Christian faith. He has a scheme he is working out in your life. It’s very important that we not be ignorant of Satan’s schemes.
How do we battle against Satan’s schemes? First, we need to understand what the Bible says about Satan’s schemes against us. And you’ll find that Satan always uses the same temptations to lure God’s people away from God. It’s always a desire for money or a desire for pleasure or a desire for success. If we’re going to battle Satan successfully, we must become a student of Scripture to know how Satan works.
Second, we need to be a student of ourselves as well. That is, we need to understand which temptations are most likely to succeed in our life. I remember reading about a hunter in Africa who had spent all day tracking a lion in a big-game expedition. At the end of the day, he finally tracked down the lion and pulled out his rifle. He was about to pull the trigger when something prompted him to look behind him. To his horror, he saw another lion about to pounce on him. The irony was obvious. The hunter had spent all day hunting, but while he was hunting, he was also being hunted. The same thing is true with you and with me. All of us are hunting something. We’re hunting success. We’re hunting possessions. We’re hunting pleasure. But never forget, while we are hunting, we are also being hunted by our adversary. That’s why 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
If we’re going to be successful in battling Satan’s plan for our destruction, we have to be a student of Scripture, and we also have to be a student of ourselves to know the weak points in our armor so we can take special care to strengthen those areas.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Coming Home to the Father Who Loves You” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.