IN THE DAYS OF HIS POWER SERIES.
TOPIC: KNOWING AND OVERCOMING THE SCHEMES, DEVICES OF THE DEVIL
Rev Innocent Chukwudi Peace-Udochukwu
President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM
“Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.”
2 Corinthians 2:10-11 NKJV
We are at war! Satan hates us and wants to destroy us. We must be aware of the devil’s devices, weapons and tactics, because our spiritual life depends on it.
The word Satan, in its original signification, meant an adversary; and in its general acceptation, is made use of, to point out to us the chief of the devils, who, for striving to be as God, was cast down from heaven, and is now permitted, “with the rest of his spiritual wickednesses in high places, to walk up and down, seeking whom he may devour.” We hear of him immediately after the creation, when in the shape of a serpent, he lay in wait to deceive our first parents. He is called Satan, in the book of Job, where we are told, that “when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, Satan also came amongst them.” As the scripture also speaketh in the book of Chronicles: “and Satan moved David to number the people.” In the New Testament he goes under different denominations; sometimes he is called the evil One, because he is evil in himself, and tempts us to evil. Sometimes, “the Prince of the power of the air;” and, “the Spirit that now ruleth in the children of disobedience;” because he resides chiefly in the air, and through the whole world; and all that are not born of God, are said to lie in him.
God loves us with all His heart. We are the crowning glory of His creation. He made the earth and everything on the earth before He made us and placed us in the middle of it. The devil hates God and he hates God’s creation. The devil tries to destroy man by trying to get us destroy each other. If we are ignorant of his devices and how he operates, then we won’t recognize his handiwork and he will be able to take advantage of us. If we are aware of his tactics and his devices, then we will recognize when he is at work and then he is in trouble because we will be able to deal with him and we will defeat him. One of the ways the devil gains the advantage over us is by stirring up strife between us. Then he manages to maintain an ongoing advantage by keeping the strife fresh in our hearts by getting us to walk in unforgiveness toward one another.
“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace”
James 3:13-18 NKJV
We must be aware that when we strive with each other, that we give the devil the advantage, but when we do everything we know to do to walk in love and forgiveness by the help of the Holy Spirit, then we close of any avenue that the devil might have had and instead, we give place to the Lord, Who will defend and protect us. The blood of Jesus and the Name of Jesus will give us the advantage over the devil and that is where we want to be. He is under our feet as long as we are submitted to God and as long as we are joined together in unity and peace with each other.
The apostle Paul was well aware of the dangers Satan poses for Christians. We must follow Paul’s example and not be ignorant of Satan’s devices (2 Corinthians 2:11). The New International Version and others translate this as Satan’s “schemes.” This means we must understand the devil’s tricks and traps and examine how he uses his key weapons in individually targeted ways to attack each of us.
Tool of Satan: Pride
One of Satan’s strongest weapons is pride. Pride is always a danger, especially when things are going well, such as in times of peace and prosperity (Deuteronomy 8:11-17).
Perhaps the best example would be Lucifer himself, the one who became Satan. From the time of his creation, he had always lived under God’s perfect rule. Yet eventually his heart was lifted up with pride, and he rebelled (Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:14-17; 1 Timothy 3:6). He uses that same device on us now.
Pride is the opposite of the godly love the apostle Paul described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Pride does “parade itself” and is “puffed up.” When we think more highly of ourselves than others, it is easy to become impatient, unkind, rude and self-seeking.
When we give in to our natural selfish motivations, we naturally treat others and their needs as less important. Anything that doesn’t go our way leads us to believe we are being treated unfairly. Ultimately this leads to narcissistic thinking and behavior.
We can even fall into the trap of being proud of doing good things, as demonstrated by the Pharisee in Jesus Christ’s parable of the Pharisee and the publican. He gave the parable as a warning to those “who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others” (Luke 18:9).
The self-righteous Pharisee prayed “thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all I possess’” (verses 11-12). Jesus emphasized that “everyone who exalts himself will be humbled” and extolled the humble, repentant tax collector (verses 13-14). (Read more about this important example in the article “The Pharisee and the Tax Collector.”)
“They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”
It is clear from our text that every one of the saints in heaven was assailed by Satan. How could there be a victory without a battle? They were all attacked by one or other of the dragon’s heads and horns. When you suffer from a fearful temptation which almost staggers you, count it no strange thing; be not dismayed as though a new temptation had befallen you. That fiery dart had been aimed at other men’s hearts before it was caught upon your shield. If the insinuation should happen to be profane and blasphemous to a very high degree, so that you condemn yourself and say, “No other human mind could ever have been defiled with so foul a suggestion as this,” do not despond, for such suggestions have been injected into the minds of the purest, even as the worst of thieves may seek to enter the house of the most honest man in the city. Even to those who at this moment are without fault before the throne of God it happened while here below that horrible temptations assailed them. Satan always has been since his fall a tempter of the worst order, and ever since he first beguiled our mother Eve he has gone on to ensnare men’s souls with the same craft, the same cruelty, the same falsehood, the same impiety against the Lord. It will help you if you reflect that you are not alone, and the pathway which you follow was trodden by the most honored of the elect of God. Paul, who won provinces for Christ, nevertheless had his messengers of Satan to buffet him, and had to stand against doubts and scars insinuated by the old serpent, even as you must stand. If you could have examined the celestial victors one by one as they entered within the pearly you would have found them all covered with scars: though now they bear neither spot, nor wrinkle, nor any such thing, they had all of them in the day of their flesh to feel the cruel tooth and fang of that infernal serpent; not one of them traversed a clear course and took his throne unchallenged; neither will you conquer without conflict. For you also if there be no cross there will be no crown; therefore, be not astonished if you are attacked in all ways.
But all Glory to God because Satan is no longer allowed to accuse us in heaven. What led to this change? Verses 10-12 give the answer: “I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, ‘Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him [because of] the “blood of the Lamb…”
What conquered the Dragon? What work silences his accusations? What act disbarred him from God’s court? Jesus’ death on the cross and Jesus’ enthronement in heaven (cf. John 12:31). The cross is where Jesus dies like a Lamb for our sins; and the enthronement is where Jesus applies the benefits of his death. Think about it! What sins can Satan accuse you for if Jesus’ blood washed them all away (Rev 1:5)? What certificate of debt can he hold over your head if God took that certificate and nailed it to the cross (Col 2:14)? None! His accusations fall flat.
More than that, they were perfect in their consecration. “They loved not their lives unto the death.” They gave themselves up, body, soul, and spirit, to the cause of which the precious blood is the symbol, and that consecration led them to perfect self-sacrifice. No Christian of the true type counts anything to be his own. He who really knows the power of the blood of Jesus says, “I am not my own I am bought with a price”; and to him to live or die, to be poor or rich, to be sick or in health, to be in honor or in shame, is not a matter of choice—he is his master’s own, and has given himself up unreservedly, loving not his life even to the death. I trow that this is the spirit in which to preach Christ’s gospel. Brethren, we shall never see the gospel come to the front so as to conquer the dragon till we bring it there in this spirit. When God shall raise up among us men and women who live only to prove the power of the blood of Jesus Christ, and live for nothing else; who tell out the Saviours name, and show in their lives what that blood has done for then, and are ready to die to glorify their Lord, then will come the times in which the song of victory shall be heard, then shall the travailing woman have her reward, and then shall the dragon be covered with everlasting shame! May God bless you this morning by giving you to know the power of the blood for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
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