the wiles of the devil

in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

I once heard a pastor who I respect (now with the Lord) tell us that we should simply ignore the devil. He wasn’t making a point for a specific context, but from what I could tell was saying this was to be our general attitude and practice as believers in Jesus. I think at certain times that can be helpful and I’ve told others the same. But it isn’t the entire counsel of God from scripture as to how we’re to approach this inevitable problem. Yes, there is a devil and there are demons. And in spite of our Enlightenment heritage bequeathed to us all that really we know better, and things like this can be explained in terms of mental illness, etc., not to deny the latter and at times even in this context, other societies in the world not only have no problem believing this, but understand it firsthand from what they have seen with their own eyes. The evil spirits can be quite demonstrative in certain contexts. But for us who are not as versed in that, it matters not at all. We also know firsthand their wily resistance so as to move us away from the gospel of Christ, from grace. They usually take the indirect way at this, chipping away at foundations in our lives, along the edges, along all of life. Though sometimes they are blatant and direct. By and by the believer especially with help from other believers and from the church will learn to recognize their presence and activity and then learn to act according to God’s will in the circumstance. Not easy, maybe even a tall order, but with the help of God by the Spirit while being in scripture we can learn discernment over time. The Lord will help us, certainly and in a sense especially the youngest in faith. It seems like as we go along, the way becomes more difficult for us. And yet at the same time through the experience of living over time we should have more to go on, to draw from in and through the faith that is in Jesus. I think it’s way past time for me to read again and draw from a resource to the church: C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters.

The most simple way to put our needed stance when it comes to the enemy and their tricks is simply to resist by standing firm in faith. The Ephesians 6 passage especially makes that clear. But it’s a resistance in Christ, in the grace and power of the gospel or good news of Christ. It is the truth which sets us free. We have to persevere through the sea of lies. The truth and love in Jesus must prevail. There are no easy steps such as one, two, three. Perhaps the most instructive passage for us to become steeped and practiced in is the Ephesians 6:10-20 passage, already cited (and linked) here. We need to be aware of the battle lines drawn and then take our stand in faith on the truth and power of the gospel of Christ.