Satan’s Mind Games
“Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.” II Corinthians 2:11
I’ve made it through Romans (finally), read 1 Corinthians, and now I’m in 2 Corinthians. I must admit that reading these books has greatly encouraged me. They remind me once again that we are all human and that all humans make up every congregation. That doesn’t excuse us for being us, but it does allow some breathing room.
Here’s a note from Albert Barnes on Romans 2:11 that I thought was very good.
“For we are not ignorant of his devices - We know his plans, his thoughts, his cunning, his skill. We are not ignorant of the great number of stratagems which he is constantly using to injure us, and to destroy the souls of people. He is full of wiles; and Paul had had abundant occasion to be acquainted with the means which he had used to defeat his plans and to destroy the church.
“The church, at all times, has been subjected to the influence of those wiles, as well as individual Christians. And the church, therefore, as well as individual Christians, should be constantly on its guard against those snares.
“Even the best and purest efforts of the church are often perverted, as in the case of administering discipline, to the worst results; and by the imprudence and lack of wisdom; by the rashness or overheated zeal; by the pretensions to great purity and love of truth; and by a harsh, severe, and censorious spirit, Satan often takes advantage of the church, and advances his own dark and mischievous designs.”
That’s quite a thought — Satan OFTEN uses the church (us folks) to advance his dark, mischievous designs.
When looking at passages, I like to see how the older translations present it. This is what I found.
For the word “devices” …
Wycliffe 1382 = thouytis (thoughts)
Tyndale 1534 = thoughtes
Coverdale 1535 = thoughtes
Matthew’s 1537 = thoughtes
Great Bible 1539 = thoughtes
Geneva 1560 = enterprises
Bishops 1568 = thoughtes
KJV 1611 = devices
It’s very interesting to me that the word “thoughts” is used before the KJV used “devices.”
Here’s a note from MacArthur’s study Bible building on the idea of our minds being the express concern of Satan.
“The devil wants to produce sin and animosity that will destroy church unity. He uses every possible approach to accomplish this - from legalism to libertinism, intolerance to excessive tolerance. Paul used a different word (but with similar meaning) for “devices” (wiles) in Eph. 6:11. It, along with the words for “take advantage” and ‘ignorant,” strongly implies that Satan targets the believer’s mind, but God has provided protection by unmasking Satan’s schemes in Scripture, along with providing the counteracting truth.”
His take on this verse is very insightful. He shows that one of Satan’s most effective strategies is to “target the believer’s mind.”
My own original thought on this verse was that Satan plays mind games with us —
How: Satan knows us so well that …
Why: he can use us against ourselves and, hence, each other.
That’s mind boggling to me.
We forget that Satan isn’t playing hopscotch with us. He’s playing life and death. The stakes are high for him and he doesn’t mess around. He’s out for blood … our blood.
Perhaps one of the most significant reasons Satan is so effective against us is that he knows us better than we do.
What I mean by that is this ….
If we don’t take the time to evaluate ourselves in relation to God and how His Word assesses us then we will be ill prepared against the wily ways Satan comes after us.
We think we know ourselves and our spiritual condition, but do we really? It would do us good to regularly remind ourselves that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 19:9.
Unless we’re in His Word, how are we to measure, examine our own personal lives? Since we tend to evaluate ourselves better than we actually are ... that makes us fair game for Satan to launch his attacks and actually play “mind games” with us.
Don’t you ever wonder how we Believers can do and say such stupid, unbiblical things all in the name of God and not realize we’re actually pawns in the hands of Satan “to produce sin and animosity that will destroy church unity.”
But first Satan has to start with us. He has to “produce sin and animosity that will destroy” us on a personal level. Then he simply launches us on his mission to reek havoc and mayhem wherever we go … all in the name of Jesus no less.
So what do we do?
Well, surprisingly God has given us a special Tin Foil Cone to place on our heads to combat the intrusive Satanic wave lengths that bombard our minds.
Okay, maybe not a cool tin foil cone. However, we ARE told in 1 Corinthians 2:16 that we have the mind of Christ.
“For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.”
So there’s two minds at work here. Satan’s mind and Christ’s mind. I think it’s easy to figure out who is the stronger of the two. It, in the final analysis, falls to us as to which one will gain the ascendancy over us.
Let’s start here —
*We are called upon by God’s Word to take stock as to our true spiritual condition before Him.
“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” 2 Corinthians 13:5.
Once that is settled, we can move forward to no longer being so easily derailed by the wiles of the Devil. He’s real. He’s powerful. But, he’s not stronger than the God that lives within us.
**The next step is to let God do His work in us by means of His Word through the Holy Spirit’s promptings within us.
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
***And perhaps most importantly — remember that Satan is an angel of Light. He doesn’t always use the deep, dark, dirty things to snare us.
More often then not, he’ll use our own well-meaning pursuit after God to snare us. It’s during our quest to know more of God and His Word that we are the most vulnerable against Satan’s devices.
It only makes sense that Satan won’t sit idly by as we endeavor to become increasingly conformed to the image of Christ. He’ll leave us alone until … we actively, energetically throw ourselves into the pursuit of our Heavenly Father. This is when we become a threat.
We can’t let Satan play mind games with us. Know yourself better than your enemy does. Satan knows the Word of God better than we do. If he tried to trip up Yeshua (by misuse of the Word) after His 40 days in the wilderness, you can be sure he’ll use our own biblical ineptness to our own demise.
Let’s sharpen our Sword and claim back some of the ground we’ve lost.
It may be easier than you think.