Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Victory over the "Wiles" of the Devil

This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!

I would like to share with you some thoughts that I believe will help you in your spiritual warfare against the enemy of our souls. Many of you know that I love Rick Renner's Sparkling Gems from the Greek. I would like to share with you some of his thoughts today.

In Ephesians 6:11, Paul explicitly tells us how the devil operates. He writes, "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." I want you to especially pay attention to the phrase "the wiles of the devil."

The word "wiles" is taken from the word methodos. It is a compound of the words meta and odos. The word meta is a preposition that means with. The word odos is the word for a road. When the words meta and odos are compounded into one word, as in Ephesians 6:11, it literally means with a road. You've probably already figured out that the word methodos is where we get the word "method." Some translations actually translate the word methodos as the word "method," but the word "method" is not strong enough to convey the full meaning of the Greek word methodos.

Let me make the meaning of this word real simple for you. As I said, the most literal meaning of the word "wiles" (methodos) is with a road. I realize this seems strange, but when you connect this to the devil as Paul does in Ephesians 6:11, it means that the devil is like a traveler who travels on a road. He is headed in one direction and has one destination.

Let me give you an example of what I mean. If you're going to take a trip, the logical thing for you to do is get a map and chart your journey to your destination. You don't take just any road; rather, you strategize to find the best and fastest way to get where you're going. Right? It would be pretty foolish for you to jump in the car and take off with no sense of direction. Taking any road could lead you in a multitude of wrong directions. It's just better to use a map and stay on track. Correct?

This is precisely the idea of the word methodos. The devil isn't wasting any time. He knows where he wants to go. He has chosen his destination. Rather than mess around on a bunch of different routes, he has mastered the best way to get where he wants to go. He is not a mindless traveler. And when he arrives at his place of destination, he has one main goal he wants to accomplish: He wants to wreak havoc and bring destruction. Therefore, we must ask: "Where is the devil traveling, and what does he want to do once he gets there?"

Paul answers the question about Satan's destination in Second Corinthians 2:11 when he says, "we are not ignorant of his [Satan's] devices." Pay careful attention to the word "devices" in this verse. It is the Greek word noemata, a form of the word nous. The Greek word nous describes the mind or the intellect. Thus, in one sense Paul is saying, "we are not ignorant of the way Satan schemes and thinks."

But the word noemata also denotes Satan's insidious plot to fill the human mind with confusion. There is no doubt that the mind is the arena where Satan feels most comfortable. He knows if he can access a person's mind and emotions, he will very likely be able to ensnare that individual in a trap. One writer says that the word noemata not only depicts Satan's scheming mind but also his crafty, subtle way of attacking and victimizing others' minds.

I personally like this because it identifies the primary destination of the devil — to get into a person's mind and fill it with lying emotions, false perceptions, and confusion. It was for this reason that Paul urged us, "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5).

The words "bringing into captivity" are from the Greek word aichmalotidzo, which pictured a soldier who has captured an enemy and now leads him into captivity with the point of a sharpened spear thrust into the flesh in his back. The captured enemy knows that if he tries to move or get away, the Roman soldier will shove that spear clear through his torso and kill him. Therefore, this captive doesn't dare move but remains silent, submissive, and non- resistant.

However, when Paul uses the word aichmalotidzo in this verse, he writes in a tense that describes the continuous action of taking such an enemy captive. This is not a one-time affair; it is the lifelong occupation of this soldier. He constantly has a spear in his hand, and he is always pushing it against the flesh of an enemy's backside as he leads him away to permanent captivity.

Because the devil loves to make a playground out of your mind and emotions, you must deal with him like a real enemy. Rather than fall victim to the devil's attacks, you must make a mental decision to seize every thought he tries to use to penetrate your mind and emotions. Rather than let those thoughts take you captive, you have to reach up and grab them and force them into submission! You must take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ!

But if you're going to beat the devil at his game, you have to put all your energy into taking every thought captive. If you're not really committed to seizing every thought the devil tries to inject into your mind and emotions, he'll strike you again! So once you make the decision to do it, stick with it. It's time for you to take charge of your thoughts and drive his lying insinuations right out of your brain! Blessings.

Pastor Rusty


Treasure Seeker said...

good stuff. thanks for sharing!

LAURIE said...

I see that you were selected as the AG blogring blog of the week. Just wanted to pop in and say congrats! and thanks for sharing with us on the web. Your words are always encouraging and uplifting. Keep up the good work! -Blessings, Laurie

Tina said...

Thanks Pastor Rusty for emailing your newest blog postings. It came today, at the perfect time, I have been feeling down and out and I keep telling myself it is the devil trying to mess with me and put it out of my mind but it keeps coming back. This blog really hit the spot for me today, knowing that the devil is hard at work trying to steal our souls. Thanks again. Tina Smith