The Wiles of the Devil: Satan's Tactics, Strategies & Schemes
- Summary: The devil is crafty. Scripture speaks of the "wiles of the devil" (Ephesians 6:11, NKJV). But God offers wisdom and victorious solutions for all of Satan's malicious strategies.
Revelation 12:9, 11 The great dragon was hurled down — that ancient SERPENT called the DEVIL, or SATAN, who leads the whole world astray....  They OVERCAME him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
- •• The “serpent” of Eden was the devil, Satan!
- • We are in an ongoing spiritual warfare against Satan. God wants us to overcome him.
- • By the blood of the Lamb, the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Word of God.
- • Another important weapon is in the next verse.
2 Corinthians 2:11 ...in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.
- •• We need to be aware of the devil's schemes and tactics. Various translations describe the wiles of the devil as his devices, his designs, his scheming, his wiles and intentions, his methods, his sly ways, his purposes, his evil work, and [I like this phrase] "what he's up to." All of these speak of our malevolent enemy the devil and his unrelenting efforts to bring us down.
- •• Let's go back in time to the Garden of Eden and examine the Bible’s first account of the cunning tactics of our most dangerous spiritual enemy.
Genesis 1:31a God saw all that he had made, and it was VERY GOOD.
- •• Satan is looking to turn “very good” things into very bad! Be aware of this scheme of the devil.
- • Take heed to your marriage.
- • Take heed to your walk with God.
- • Elders, take heed to the health of the church.
- •• Anywhere you think you are standing strong, take heed lest you fall.
Genesis 2:16-17 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;  but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
- •• The devil’s schemes? — Expect him to feature areas of “forbidden fruit.”
- • Drugs, alcohol
- • A romantic interest other than your spouse
- • Immoral acts and movies, indecent magazines, etc.
Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more CRAFTY than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must NOT eat from ANY TREE in the garden’?”
- •• Of great importance — Satan is very, very CRAFTY. Other versions say “subtle, cunning.”
- • He will rarely attack you openly, straightforwardly.
- • Because of his crafty nature, Satan’s tactics in temptation will tend to be tricky, sly, understated, subtle.
- •• Expect Satan to cast doubt on God’s Word.
- • Satan: “Did God really say...?”
- • Satan to the then-young evangelist: “Billy Graham, do you really believe that Bible is truly the inspired, faultless Word of God?”
- • Satan: “New Christian, do you really believe all that stuff those other Christians tell you from the Bible?”
- • Satan: “Does God really mean that ‘wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise’?” (Proverbs 20:1)
- •• Expect Satan to twist God’s Word.
- • Satan: “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” — Go back and see: God did NOT say that! (2:16f) God actually had said they could eat from every tree except one.
- • Satan: “Jesus, throw yourself off the temple into the angels’ hands.”
- • Satan: “You’re doing a good enough job for the Lord, He’ll overlook that affair!”
- • Satan: “Mister, the bible says, ‘Unto the pure all things are pure.’ So you just gazing at that lady won’t hurt.”
- • Satan to an unhappy wife: “God wants you to be happy, so leave that miserable husband of yours!”
- • Satan to a Christian "social drinker": “Jesus drank wine, so you should also.” But the Bible never actually says Jesus drank alcoholic wine.
Genesis 3:4 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman.
- •• Satan’s tactics? Deny and discredit God’s Word.
- • Satan: “God said you’ll die; but you won’t.”
- • Satan: “Woman, you’re just a slave to your house and family,” thus discrediting Proverbs 31 and Titus 2, which praise the virtuous woman for her domestic skills.
- • Satan: “Teens, it’s important to ‘be cool’ and to ‘go with the flow’,” thus discrediting “Be not conformed to this world...” (Romans 12:2).
- • Satan: “Cancer patient, sure, God heals, but this illness is too big,” thus denying “...[He] heals ALL...” (Psalm 103:3).
Genesis 3:5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
- •• Satan’s tactics? — to appeal to man’s covetousness, his desire for more, for better...
- • “...you will be like God...” — a failing of Mormonism
- • “Judas, here are 30 pieces of silver.”
- • “King David, you need that beautiful neighbor lady.”
Remember, against all Satan’s tactics and strategies, among your best spiritual weapons are:
- • the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ
- • the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ
- • and the word of God — Jesus spoke victoriously to Satan in the temptation in the wilderness: “It is written ... it is written ... it is written.”
In closing, may I recommend to you some additional biblical weapons for overcoming the malicious wiles of the devil at our article entitled: Spiritual Warfare: Resist the Devil and He Will Flee from You
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©2005, 2015, James H. Feeney.
Pentecostal Sermons and Bible Studies
by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.