Christians have victory over every assault and scheme of the devil, but we must arm ourselves with the proper armor that is described in Ephesians 6:10-18. In spiritual warfare as in human warfare, the key to victory is to know your enemy–and to know his strategies. The first step for any soldier in training is to learn about the strategy and weapons the enemy will use against him. James says, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you”(James 4:7b). Think of that! This clever, cunning strategist who has held the world in defeat for centuries, will flee from you when you learn, like the apostle Paul, not to be ignorant of his devices.
The Lord Jesus Christ put his finger squarely upon the strategy and the tactics of Satan when he said, “The devil is a liar and a murderer from the beginning,” (John 8:44). The strategy of the devil is to murder and to destroy. What does “destroy” mean? It means to create chaos, to tear down, to lay waste, to ruin, to make desolate. It’s his delight to smash, to mangle, to twist, to mutilate, to disfigure, to darken and blast in every way he can. The tactics the devil employs to accomplish this destructiveness is through deceiving, lying, distorting, counterfeiting, play-acting and masquerading, by illusion and fantasy. This is what Paul calls “the wiles of the devil.”
The attacks of the devil against true Christians are indirect. That is why they are called the wiles, meaning deceit, of the devil. Wiliness means deviousness, something not obvious, difficult to detect-satanic suggestions through the natural, commonplace channels of life. This indirect approach comes largely through two avenues. One is what the Bible calls “the world,” and the other, “the flesh.” The most basic of these two channels of approach to subverting the Christian life is “the flesh.” The Apostle Paul in Romans 7:18: “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.” is where the devil attacks us indirectly, through the essential character of human nature, distorting it and twisting it, changing it from what God designed it to be. We are subject to the influence (we cannot be possessed or completely defeated) of these world rulers of present darkness through our mind, our feelings, and our actions, through our intelligence, our emotions, and our will. These are simply the channels by which human beings are moved, whether for good or for bad. Both God and the devil appeal to us and seek to move us through these channels: emotion (the heart), mind (the intelligence); and the will (the power to choose). You may say, “If the devil and God both move us by the same channels, what is the difference?”The difference is simply this: The devil moves to create imbalance, and eccentricity. He tries to move us to extremes. God moves us toward balance, harmony, and beauty. The difference is not how they work, but the direction in which they move. God calls us to be whole, balanced persons, full of the Holy Spirit’s power.