While focusing too much on the enemy of our souls can become unhealthy, there is a need to know how the enemy operates. Starting in Ephesians 6 we read where the enemy isn’t flesh and blood. It seems I can never hear this enough because it is so easy to be fooled into thinking family members, church members, co-workers etc. are the ones we are fighting but that is far from the truth.
Since the beginning Satan has used basically the same four things to attack God’s people and today he’s going to be exposed. His first strike at Eve in the Garden was to inject doubt into her mind about what God had said. He said to her, “Has God said…” So you see right at this moment is when Eve had to make a choice. But the enemy added a bit more to convince her to follow him when he said, “You surely will not die!” So he injected her mind with doubt and then he made what God had said sound as if it was unreasonable. Then he hit her with one final blow by telling her if she ate of the forbidden fruit her eyes would be opened and she would actually become “like” God. So we see that doubt was his first shot which lead to full on deception eventually ending with Adam and Eve hiding in fear of God because they believed a lie about who He is.
As soon as Adam ate of the forbidden tree they saw they were naked and ran to hide themselves. You see up until then their relationship with God was built on trusting Him to be a loving, caring, wonderful God but once disobedience took place their view of Him changed. This I have found is huge when it comes to understanding the enemy’s strategy. He wants to cast dispersion on God’s character. If he can get us to see God as a mean tyrant in the sky we will never find reconciliation because we will remain aloof and in fear.
We have already seen doubt is the enemy’s first punch which leads to deception. Once we are deceived and we have partook of the devil’s lie we discover he turns on us. He tempts us toward something off limits for us, gets us to agree with him and suddenly he turns on us and accuses us. He starts to tear down our identity by telling us things like—you are a fool!, you’ll never do any better!, you’ve gone too far this time!, God will never forgive you for this one! Do you see? He’s like a bully who persuades you into some disobedience and then runs away leaving you to hold the bag.
In John 8 we see Jesus dealing with the enemy as he even operated through the religious leaders of the day. Jesus announced “the truth will make you free” and the religious Jews became upset saying, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that you say, ‘You will become free?” Right away we can see they had been deceived because the story of the Jews as told in their very own scriptures is filled with the telling of Israel (Abraham’s descendants) being slaves in Egypt for over 400 years yet they claim they’ve never been enslaved to anyone. Obviously this deception ran deep.
As Jesus’ conversation with these guys continued He told them, “If Abraham was your father you would act like him but instead you’re wanting to kill me.” They could not receive Jesus’ word because they were being used by the enemy which was their father. Jesus told them they were “of their father the devil and they were doing his lusts.” He said, he was “the father of lies” so when they heard the truth they simply couldn’t receive it. Jesus clearly understood the people standing in front of Him were not the enemy but were in fact being operated by him. This is what we are called to do. We are called to fight the true enemy by seeing through those he operates in and understanding how to combat him.
My friend Sylvia Pearce says, “Don’t try to untangle the lie rather speak the truth and let the lie untangle itself.” I thought this was excellent advice because when you attempt to untangle every little detail of the lie confusion will set in and there is nothing better to clear things up than the truth. The conclusion Jesus came to in John 8 was “He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.” This may sound harsh but Jesus does have a way of getting to the point doesn’t He?
While there are many places we could turn to see how the real enemy operates let me show you just one more. In Revelation 12:10 we read where the devil is called “the accuser of the brethren.” So accusation is one more weapon in his arsenal we need to be aware of. In other words when we are being accused it isn’t God. You see God wants restoration with us therefore He has done all there is to do in order for that to happen meanwhile the enemy wants us to stay on the outs with God so he throws everything he can at us to keep us separated from Him.
Let’s do a quick review. The enemy’s tactics are to cast doubt about God’s word and character. He uses deception because he’s the father of lies. He accuses us before the Father in an attempt to cause division. One last thing I failed to mention and that is he loves to condemn us. The good news though is “there is no condemnation for those that are in Christ!” You see Christ took all of what the devil could throw at Him, died and rose again in order for us to be truly free from any bondage we used to live in. This is why the enemy’s tactics are only doubt, deception, accusation and condemnation because the best he can do is to get us to stop believing the truth about what God has done for us in His One and Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ. The only thing that stops Christ is our unbelief!