The Spiritual Warfare Battle Plan - The Wiles of the Devil
Spiritual Warfare Battle Plan
The Wiles of the Devil
In combat, the first instinct is usually not the correct move, unless experience has honed your instincts. Someone who’s been shot at before instinctively gets down when shots are fired. Someone without that experience looks around and ends up shot. Simple, really. Inexperienced soldiers think like themselves in a combat situation and end up overtaken by the enemy. A combat soldier has learned to think like the enemy and is less likely to be caught off guard.
Spiritual warfare is no different. When most people are under attack from the devil, they just react and walk right into the trap, which is why it is so important to have a spiritual warfare battle plan. Knowing the enemy is critical to that plan. The internet is flooded with books about spiritual warfare, many of which are clueless as to what actual spiritual warfare is. There are blogs, videos, podcasts, and books supposedly helping you “wage a good warfare.” I’d be alarmed if someone is giving you THE spiritual warfare prayer. Almost always, people making these claims don’t know that the Bible has to say about spiritual warfare, or they take spiritual warfare verses out of context.
Me, I’m just simple. You can spend a ton of money on all of that junk if you want, but trust me: you’re better off learning about the enemy so that you can be prepared for the wiles of the devil because that’s what we’re told to stand against.
The Tactics of the Enemy
Distraction is still one of the most effective battle strategies, despite it being the oldest. Throw a rock away from your position. When it lands, it creates the sound, and the person you’re attacking looks in the direction of the sound. That’s when you strike. Simple. Get people distracted, and then go do whatever you want. The inexperienced leader will weaken his defenses by sending extra recruits to check on the noise. Now at least one area is vulnerable. Attack there and keep moving. That won’t work on the experienced veteran. He will sniff out the distraction and predict the attack to come from the other side.
Satan knows how to distract people and make their defenses weak. He knows how to put up a smokescreen, keeping you focused on the smoke while he moves his forces into position. He is like a fisherman. He knows how to bait the hook for just the right fish. But he’s not God. He’s nowhere close. He can’t be everywhere at the same time, he can’t see everything, and he doesn’t know everything. Which means he can be defeated.
So how does he distract us?
Simple. He uses our own lusts against us. This is laid out perfectly for us in the book of James, chapter one:
“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:13-15).
He lays the trap, baiting it just for you, and you run to the bait because you see something you desire. That’s when the trap falls. Do you see the pattern? He doesn’t come attack you with a pitchfork. That’s not the kind of battle we’re talking about. He’s not going to show up at your door with a shotgun. He’s going to put people in your path, things on your TV, whispers in your ear. He’s going to offer you the things you already want, and he’ll do it with subtlety. Then when you bite, you’ll sin of your own volition, and the wages of sin is always death (Romans 6:23).
And can we just take a time out to say that not all lusts are created equal? It’s largely because of the culture we live in, but when you say the word lust people tend to think of one thing. Well sure, Samson fell because he lusted after women, but Eve took a piece of fruit because she lusted after forbidden knowledge. Judas lusted after silver. Lust is simply something you desire strongly. It might be as simple as you wanting to skip church services because you lust after sleep. It’s not always going to be sexual or obvious.
So now that we’ve established how cunning the devil is, let’s learn more about his tactics so that we can prepare our defenses against his attacks.
He Longs to be Worshiped
It’s strange the way Satan has hidden himself throughout history. There are some passages in scripture that seem to be referring to a prince or a king of a nation, but then things are said in some of those passages that simply cannot be applied to a human king. I think one of the reasons for that is that Satan has positioned himself in a place where he can be worshiped. I don’t know if he is going full out and possessing these kings, or if he’s just around them, manipulating them. I can’t speculate too far into that, but I don’t see another way of explaining passages like Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28, because they get pretty weird.
The Fall of Lucifer
In Isaiah 14:4, God says a proverb will be taken up against the king of Babylon, and then it goes into the detail of the king dying and going to hell. Straightforward so far. It then talks about other kings in rejoicing in the fact that such a powerful king has become just like any of them. Straightforward so far. Then it says:
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:12-14).
Granted, most of what’s said regarding the king of Babylon in that chapter is definitely referring to Nebuchadnezzar, but he was never called Lucifer, and he never fell from heaven. Nebuchadnezzar was also a pagan king with no understanding of God. He surely would not possess knowledge of what heaven was like, so I doubt he would have said anything about the “sides of the north.” The only logical (and it’s still pretty far out there) explanation is that this is referring to Satan when he fell from heaven. But why was he thrown out of heaven?
The Anointed Cherub Cast Out
In Ezekiel 28, we get another prophecy against a king, this time the king of Tyrus. We start off with a king being told that he’s going to be punished for declaring himself a god. Hey, a lot of kings have done this throughout history. Normal for the most part. But it goes off the rails pretty quickly. This king is said to be wiser than Daniel. That wisdom has been used to gain great power. I mean, Daniel was human, so that’s not indicative of this king being Satan…but Daniel did have supernatural wisdom given to him by God. So, there’s that.
And then this happens:
“Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire” (Ezekiel 28:13-16).
There’s probably been some old kings, but none of them were thousands of years old. Not only that, but the garden in Eden was closed off to man and then lost in the flood. No humans were there except Adam and Eve. But there was one other person in that garden. We don’t need to guess because scripture tells us it was the serpent, and Revelation 20:2 tells us the serpent is Satan. I’m just telling you what it says, folks. If your preacher, priest, professor, or whomever says that’s not referring to Satan, don’t believe it. Comparing scripture with scripture makes it plain and obvious. If you need more proof, he was called the anointed cherub. Multiple passages from the Bible (Exodus, Isaiah 6, etc.) tell us that the cherubim cover the throne. This individual was “upon the mountain of God” and “walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.” This individual was cast “out of the mountain of God.” It’s not referring to a human. It’s Satan.
But what both of these passages have in common is that they show Satan for what he is: a fallen creature who desires to be worshiped as God. He has planted himself in the powerful kings of the past, so there is no reason to believe he is not still doing that. 2 Corinthians 4:4 calls him the god of this world. He’s the prince of the power of the air, Ephesians 2:2. When he tempted Jesus, he offered him the kingdoms of the world, and Jesus DID NOT look at him and say, “They’re not yours to give.” He has exalted himself, and he longs to be worshiped, so be careful what sort of accolades you bestow on man. Be careful how wonderful you think some king, president, or leader is. Worship God, and place no other gods before him.
He is a Counterfeit to the True God
Remember in Isaiah 14 when Lucifer said he would be like the most High? Well that’s exactly what he meant. He not only wants to be worshiped as God, he wants to be him. If you start pulling back the layers in scripture, you start to see the pattern of counterfeits. You recall Jesus warning there would be many “false Christs?” Let’s look at just a few examples of how Satan counterfeits God.
God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. These three are one. The word “trinity” isn’t in the Bible, but the fact of the trinity is clearly laid out in scripture, no matter what anyone says. So-called scholars have tried for hundreds of years to discredit 1 John 5:7. One, it is supposed to be there. Two, even if it wasn’t in the Bible, the rest of the Bible makes it clear that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one. There’s no time to go deeply into that here, but take some time to study Isaiah 9:6, John 12-14, and Matthew 3 among many other places.
The devil has his own, counterfeit trinity. In the book of Revelation, the beast is raised up to rule the nations, and the false prophet is his mouth piece. They are both raised up by Satan. Revelation 13:4 says the dragon gives power to the beast, and the people will worship the dragon. This is the unholy trinity, manufactured by Satan to deceive the nations into worshiping him, but that trinity will be broken:
“And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Revelation 20:10).
Satan has no originality. He is going to copy Christ in the latter days. He will be wounded and rise again. He will use that marvel to convince people to follow him, and he will set himself up in Jerusalem as a false Christ.
Jesus had his apostles. They were given power and preached his gospel. Satan has false apostles. They transform themselves into the apostles of Christ. As in, they declare themselves to be apostles. When Christ’s apostles were performing their ministries, they did so under the power and authority of Christ. He appointed them to be apostles. Again, Satan is a counterfeit to everything Jesus does. Jesus has a gospel; Satan has a false gospel. Jesus gave his apostles power to perform miracles; Satan’s false apostles perform false miracles. Just take a look at 2 Corinthians 11:13:
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.”
These are Satan’s ministers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. Listen, beware when people claim to be an apostle in these times. The book of Acts makes it very clear what the qualifications of an apostle are, and no one meets those requirements anymore. If someone claims to be an apostle, ask him or her if he or she was there during the baptism of John and was a witness to the resurrected Christ. I don’t mean that individual has received Christ as savior and now is a witness for Christ. I mean actually saw him, bodily resurrected. Because when Peter stood up in Acts 1 and listed out the qualifications of whom would take Judas’s place, those were the qualifications. There were more than twelve apostles, but they all met those standards. One one was born out of due time (1 Corinthians 15:8). That’s Paul, and he met the qualifications of an Apostle in a unique way. He may have been with the pharisees during the baptism of John, but he was certainly there. He also saw the resurrected Christ on the road to Damascus. These people claiming it now are false apostles.
As I mentioned above, Satan will have a false Christ that will be “resurrected” in the tribulation. Revelation 13:3 spells this out plainly:
“And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.”
This is where false teachers come in and try to convince you that that verse is referring to a kingdom or a city. Maybe it’s Rome or something like that. The problem with that is the rest of the chapter, the rest of the book of Revelation, and common sense. If the entire chapter refers to him as a man, and then gives him a number at the end of the chapter that’s the number of a man, why would it be anything else?
Because Satan wants to hide in plain sight. He wants you to question God’s word, the same way he got Eve to fall in Genesis three. Read Revelation 13:3 in its context, and it is plainly a man. Verse 11 of the same chapter brings the false prophet forward, another man with the power to bring fire down from heaven and other miracles. What is his purpose? Why does he have those powers? To cause the people to worship the beast (the resurrected man). What was the point of the miracles the apostles of Christ performed? To cause people to believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Who was he trying to convince? The Jews because the Jews require a sign (1 Corinthians 1:22).
They are waiting for their messiah to come and restore the kingdom. They are blind to the fact that he already came, so Satan is going to come and convince them that he is their messiah. They don’t realize that the foretold prophecy of Psalm 16 was fulfilled. If you’re still not convinced that the beast will have a false resurrection and be worshiped; if you’re still not convinced that a false prophet will mimic the miracles of the apostles to deceive people into worshiping the beast; if you think the beast is a city or a kingdom or a nation: what do you do with this verse?
“And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Revelation 20:10).
There are many other ways Satan counterfeits God (the mark, false light, a lion, false gospel, etc.), but we’ll move on for now.
The Enemy is a Master Thief
I’ve met a lot of people like Satan. Their thinking is truly warped. If they can’t have something, or if they can’t get something through honest means, they just take it from someone else. That’s Lucifer. Can’t have the worship and adoration of man? Take it from God through deception. Can’t have eternal life, blind the minds of the people who can so that they never receive it. Can’t have peace? Steal from those who do. Can’t have the kingdom of the earth? Steal it. Jesus made it clear in John 10:10:
“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
This is where I want to just try and get as practical as I can with you for a few minutes. Satan is on a short timetable. It seems like forever to us. It’s been thousands of years, and it’s almost like the Lord is just never going to come back. I mean Paul thought the Lord would return in his lifetime, right? We’ve been saying the Lord is coming back for two thousand years. Well, there’s an entire study just into the prophetic time clock that would take way too long to explain here, but let’s just sum up by saying that thousands of years are like a day to the Lord (2 Peter 3:8). Satan’s time is running out, so he’s doing his best to amass as much as he can before the clock stops. His goal is pretty simple: get people to worship him and curse God.
He will steal your joy
You know how to achieve fullness of joy? Be in fellowship with Christ (1 John 1:1-4). You know how you lose that joy? Get out of fellowship with Christ. Begin to question God in the wrong way, out of fellowship. I don’t mean asking what this verse or that verse is saying. I mean getting to where you doubt the power of prayer, doubt the truth of God’s word, doubt the presence of the Holy Spirit, and doubt whether you should serve God. May I remind you that Satan got Adam and Eve questioning God, and the result was them kicked out of the garden where he walked with them in fellowship?
Our problems pile up, and we tend to blame God, and then we question his love for us. We lose our joy because our fellowship has been stolen.
He will steal your peace
There is only one group of people on the planet that should have peace, and that’s the people who have been redeemed by the blood of the lamb. The people who have received the peace that passeth all understanding (Philippians 4:7). We are one with the one who spoke peace to a storm, and the storm was stilled. We are one with the one who conquered death, the grave, and hell. And yet we so often live a life full of care, worries, and fear. We look at the storm waters and sink when we should be water walkers! We forget that we are to be careful for nothing (Philippians 4:6). We forget to cast our cares upon him (1 Peter 5:7). We forget that “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).
We forget. And, sometimes, we quote those verses in the midst of our troubles without any resolve. Brethren, Satan may be able to steal many things, but cannot steal your soul. If you are saved by the grace of God, it is sealed unto the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30). Don’t let him steal your joy or your peace. Don’t let him steal your family through worldly possessions and fleshly desires. Don’t let him steal your marriage through strife and pride and vainglory. Don’t let him steal your passion through burdens. Rejoice in your sufferings, realizing that, when you are weak, he is strong!
I said at the beginning that inexperienced soldiers think like themselves and fall to the cunning of the enemy. They are easily distracted by the things the enemy wants them to focus on. On the other hand, seasoned veterans of battle have conditioned themselves to think like the enemy and therefore anticipate the attack.
I’m not suggesting that you focus on Satan and spend your time trying to figure out his mind. No. No. No. An emphatic no. I’m simply saying that you need to be aware of his tactics so that, when you are distracted, you can understand the attack. So:
Be careful what you fix your eyes and heart on. Don’t be fooled into worshiping something other than God.
Don’t be fooled by the counterfeits of the devil.
Don’t allow Satan into your home or heart, because he will rob you blind of your blessings.
When trials come, remember the one who endured the greatest trial of all on your behalf. Remember the crown of thorns beaten into his brow. Remember the beating he took. Remember the nails driven into his hands and feet. The solitude he had to endure, alone and naked on that cruel cross. Remember the Father turning his back on his own son and leaving him in darkness so that you would never have to walk in darkness again. Think on these things, and live.