10 Weapons in the Devil’s Arsenal

arsenal

The Christian life is a fight, and it is one not against people but against the forces of darkness in our world. Our enemy is vicious but also sneaky, in that he doesn’t always attack us in ways that are obvious. When some people think of the devil showing up, they picture spinning heads and moving furniture and ghostly figures on the wall. While that can happen, most of the time the devil tends to be more discreet than that. His tactics are clever and cunning, and unless we are aware of what they are, we will be susceptible when he shows up to strike a blow.

Here are 10 weapons in the devil’s arsenal:

1. Lies

John 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

The devil was, is, and always will be, a liar. He hates the truth and it is in his very nature to contradict it. He uses falsehood of all kinds – from blatant lies to clever deceptions – to disrupt God’s plan for our lives, and the only way we can fight back is to know the truth, and have the truth set us free (John 8:32).

2. Temptation

Matthew 4:1-3 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. [2] And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. [3] And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”

The devil can’t make anyone do anything, but he loves to put temptation in our path in order to get us to lure ourselves into sin. He tries to pull us away from God by introducing into our lives things that compete for our devotion and affection. Like a donkey chasing a carrot around, he simply dangles something enticing before us and lets us do the rest. In order for us to resist temptation, we must see it for what it is: something that is giving us a promise it can’t deliver on, and rely instead on the sure promises of God’s Word (1 Corinthians 10:13).

3. Twisting Scripture

Matthew 4:5-7 [5] Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple [6] and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” [7] Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Isn’t it remarkable that in his temptation of Jesus, the devil quotes the Bible? The reality is that Satan knows the Scriptures inside and out – he simply hates what he knows and misuses it to take advantage of ignorant people. Many people believe they have a saving relationship with Jesus when they do not, simply because they have been deluded by false teaching. One of the devil’s most clever tactics is to promote his lies inside the Church, and he uses bad Bible teaching to achieve this purpose. We can only keep ourselves from being led astray in this manner by knowing the Bible for ourselves (1 John 4:1).

4. Doubt

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”

Satan can’t force you to believe anything, but he can ask questions that cast doubt on your beliefs. This was his tactic in the garden when he deceived Eve, and it all begin with a simple question: did God really say…? The subtlety and slyness of the question caused her to overthink it, and suddenly she began to doubt God’s trustworthiness. In order for believers to overcome their doubts, we need to be honest about them, take them to God in prayer, and feed our faith with the truth of God’s Word (Romans 10:17).

5. Accusation

Revelation 12:10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.”

If Satan loves to accuse people, we sure give him plenty to work with! Every sin we commit gives the devil another thing he can try to accuse us of: What a terrible thing you did! God can’t possibly forgive you for that. There’s no hope for you. You say you’re a Christian but really you’re a phoney. He can sling accusations our way, but the only way for us to not be rattled by them is to appeal to the Supreme Court of heaven and let Jesus, our defense attorney, fight for us. And because our standing before God rests on our forgiveness through confession and the blood of Christ, we are cleared of every charge the devil can bring (1 John 1:9).

6. Pain

1 Peter 5:8-10 [8] Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. [9] Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. [10] And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

This prowling lion has an appetite for one thing: faith. He is hungry to take from people their faith in Christ and one of his main ways of trying to do that is through suffering. In the midst of pain, we often get angry at God, doubt his love for us, and even walk away from him for a season of time (or worse, permanently). But the struggles of this life don’t have to shipwreck our faith. The Bible warns us that hard times are coming, that God will use them for good, and that we will be richly rewarded for all that we suffer when we reach the homeland of heaven (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

7. Pleasure

Deuteronomy 28:47-48 Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joyfulness and gladness of heart, because of the abundance of all things, [48] therefore you shall serve your enemies…

Proverbs 30:8-9 …give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, [9] lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the LORD?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.

Just as Satan can use pain to attack us, he can conversely use pleasure to lull us to sleep. It could be true that more people are kept from faith in Jesus in North America because of pleasure than because of pain. When we live in abundance, good health, and general ease and comfort, who feels the need to cry out to God? Who feels compelled to acknowledge him and honour him above all? Rather than withhold good things, sometimes the devil will fill our lives with them in an effort to get us to forget how desperate we really are and how badly we need God’s grace. We can only stay alert and desirous for God in the midst of abundance when we understand how badly we really need him (Luke 12:13-21).

8. Unforgiveness

2 Corinthians 2:10-11 Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, [11] so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.

If God takes great delight in forgiving others, then the devil takes great delight in fostering bitterness towards others. Satan has great contempt for forgiveness probably because God has not and will not offer it to him. And our enemy goes to great lengths to see that we not only fail to ask God for forgiveness, but also that we harbour unforgiveness towards those who have wronged us. Nothing can kill a tender heart towards God quite like a spirit of unforgiveness. The way we can ensure that never happens to us is to see the ways that others have wronged us as puny in comparison to the way we have wronged God. And if he is willing to forgive us a debt of 10 billion dollars, then we can forgive someone else of a 10 dollar debt (Matthew 18:21-35).

9. Isolation

Matthew 4:1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

The devil loves to strike us in our moments of weakness, and we are perhaps never weaker than when we are alone. A person who is in isolation cannot draw on the help of another, and they are a sitting duck for someone as crafty as Satan. He pounces in our moments of vulnerability because he gets the most traction out of it, but we can combat this by being people who are in fulfilling, healthy, and uplifting relationships with other believers, especially in the context of a local church (Hebrews 10:25).

10. Fear

Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;

Fear is one of the most controlling emotions a person can experience. The devil uses this to his advantage by encouraging fear in our lives. We fear all sorts of things: circumstances, other people, the future, things we can’t control, and so on. Yet God does not want us to live our lives in fear, but rather in the confidence that he is with us and the love that comes from our relationship with him (1 John 4:18).

Know your enemy, thwart his tactics, and make him powerless in your life!

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