trying to understand the tricks of the devil

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

2 Corinthians 2

We live in a world in which evil dwells. Evil. Yes, evil. One of the many reasons I don’t subscribe to our modernist secular worldview which like any other such paradigm in vogue, affects us all, even if simply in our reactions to it, although it’s impossible for some of the “world” not to get into us since we are bent to sin as well as in Jesus to righteousness.

While other factors must be considered (psychological, sociological, etc.), I believe without a doubt —even though the evil of these are happily well hidden in our modernist mindset and world— in a spirit world of both good and evil. In the world on the one side is God in Christ by the Spirit accompanied with created spirit beings called angels, who do God’s bidding. On the other side, but not equal at all even to the angels they oppose are fallen spirit beings who once were angels but are now called demons, whose leader is the chief demon or spirit being:  Satan, also called the devil. These beings are well known in many areas of the world, but are well hidden for the most part, where we live. Even though they continue their evil work, in some ways better in the concealment.

My goal in life is to along with others in the church understand the ways of the Lord better, what God’s will is in and through Jesus, and to focus on our Lord. And in so doing to follow his way along with the people of faith, the family of God.

In this present life, we are up against and in opposition to the world, the flesh and the devil. And there’s one source of victory over that, only one. The gospel and Jesus Christ, or the gospel/good news which is Jesus Christ in his person, life, works, teaching, death for our sins and resurrection for new life, his ascension to the Father’s right hand at the supreme place of power with the promise of his return when salvation will at long last be forever complete. Nothing else holds water or is in line with God’s will apart from that.

And so, necessarily we have to face the evil, often hidden but breaking out here and there all the time. The secular academy wants to deny such evil unless it directly affects them. But we in Jesus must learn to see through the deceit of Satan, to recognize something of his work, and in and through Jesus, to stand in opposition against it.

God gives us the strength, especially in our weakness and God gives us the light or insight, especially in our darkness and ignorance. God gives us what we need both individually in our circumstances and especially through the church, through others. Including angels. We have to be humble in knowing our dependence on God at every turn, while at the same time refusing to back down or run from the spiritual evil which can assault us. Even while we try to be wise as to what is good and not good in how we work that out in word and deed. A tall order. And no set formula. Something in which we live and receive the insight needed within the context of life.

Our Lord Jesus is now present with us by the Spirit. God is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Jesus is our Emmanuel, God-with-us.

And so we go on, knowing we’re in a spiritual battle to the end in this life. Sometimes it is obvious and we catch all too good a glimpse of its ugliness. At other times, in fact a good share of the time in our society (though often we ought to know better), we only have inklings of the evil splashed throughout. We do well to learn to see through what might appear to be good, but in fact at heart is evil. And much more.

And we must remember that some of the evil can indeed be us, or in us. So that the light of God in Jesus is necessary to expose the evil not only out there, but in here, in we ourselves, so that we can confess our sins and receive God’s forgiveness and cleansing in and through Jesus.

We must realize what we’re in, what we’re up against, and the great salvation that is now ours in and through Jesus our Lord, the way of the cross in death and resurrection in and through him.