Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
— 2 Corinthians 2:11
I don’t like talking about the devil, but time after time the Bible warns us that the devil is like a roaring lion who roams about, seeking whom he can destroy (1 Peter 5:8). Whether we like it or not, the devil is a real personality who is looking for ways to destroy our lives. Since the Bible frequently warns us about this sinister enemy, we need to know:
- How the devil operates.
- How to identify the devil’s attacks at their very onset.
- How to block and stop his devilish assaults.
- How to prevent repeat attacks from occurring in the future.
In Second Corinthians 2:11, the apostle Paul wrote a verse that is teeming with insight to answer these questions. He wrote, “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”
Paul clearly understood that Satan was constantly seeking ways to take advantage of people. The word “advantage” in this verse is the Greek word pleonekteo. This word means to outwit; to trick; to take advantage of someone through some sinister or sneaky means. It is a compound of the word pleon, which means more, and the word echo, which means to have. Together, these words form the word pleonekto, which denotes a desire to have more, more, and more. It is a form of the word pleonexia, the Greek word for greediness. In this case in Second Corinthians 2:11, it pictures someone whose lust for something is so intense that he will take any actions required to obtain what he wants.
Because Paul used this word about Satan, we are alerted to the fact that Satan desperately wants something in his control. He wants us! The devil will use any method necessary to take advantage of us and get us under his control. He will deviously and artfully endeavor to outwit us, trick us, dominate us, and ultimately take us as his hostages. That is why Paul said, “…We are not ignorant of his devices.”
When you have an enemy who hates you this much and who wants to destroy you, you can’t afford to be ignorant. In Paul’s case, he and his team were invading new territory with the Gospel all the time. Paul knew that Satan wanted to hinder and even stop them and that it was therefore essential for him to understand the way the devil operated. He had to be able to discern whether he was facing a mere human problem or a planned demonic attack.
Likewise, you need to know if the storm you’re facing right now is just a natural problem that will blow over, or if are you facing demonic turbulence sent from hell to disrupt God’s plan for your life. You can’t just shut your eyes and hope the problem will work out by itself. If this is an attack from the devil and you do nothing to stop it, it will not simply go away. On the contrary, it will actually increase and become more intense. That’s why being able to recognize Satan’s game is so important!
The word “ignorant” in Second Corinthians 2:11 is the Greek word agnoeo, and it refers to one’s ignorance or lack of certain facts. However, it also includes making mistakes or errors due to a lack of understanding. It is the picture of an uneducated person who, due to a lack of knowledge, is prone to arrive at mistaken conclusions. The word agnoeo depicts someone who is in the dark or without a clue. Because this person lacks understanding, his conclusions are faulty, erroneous, and misguided. This is where we get the word agnostic, the official name used to describe individuals who claim they don’t know what they believe. So when someone claims to be agnostic, he is literally claiming to be ignorant!
An example of this kind of ignorance is often seen when a person is diagnosed with a terminal disease sent from the devil, yet the person believes his sickness comes from God. Because the sick person is ignorant of the fact that Satan and not God is the author of sickness and disease, he mistakenly concludes that his sickness must be God’s will for his life. This ignorance is so devastating that it could possibly lead to that individual’s premature death. Do you see how dangerous it is to remain ignorant about how the devil operates?
This is the reason Paul says, “…We are not ignorant of Satan’s devices.” Paul and his companions had carefully observed how the devil operates and the primary methods he uses to attack. As a result, they knew how to recognize the onset of an attack when Satan started maneuvering to frustrate their plans. Paul and his team were definitely not in the dark about the devil; hence, the enemy found it much more difficult to take advantage of them.
Paul had to learn these things because he faced problems with people, religious leaders, governmental leaders, and even with friends. He was thrown in prison, cast into the sea, and beaten during moments of persecution. Traps were constantly being set for his capture, and he constantly had to be on the lookout for people who tried to use him and take advantage of him. Paul couldn’t afford to be in the dark spiritually about the way Satan operated — and neither can you!
But notice what Paul says next: “…We are not ignorant of Satan’s devices.” The word “devices” is the Greek word noemata, derived from the word nous. The word nous is the word for the mind or the intellect. However, when the word nous becomes the word noemata, it describes a mind that is scheming, calculating, conniving, devious, shrewd, sly, or clever. This is very significant because it alerts us to the reality that Satan isn’t just hoping to hinder us; he is incessantly scheming and conniving to injure or deliberately mess up a person’s plans, health, marriage, business, and family. The enemy doesn’t really care how he accomplishes his evil plan; he just wants to find ways to ruin whatever that person holds dear.
Thus, the word noemata denotes Satan’s insidious, malevolent plot to attack and victimize human beings, clearly demonstrating that the devil loves to captivate and ultimately destroy human beings. If this devilish process is not aborted by the power of God, it is only a matter of time before Satan puts the last touches on his plan to take captive a person, family, church, ministry, business, organization, or even an entire nation!
When you put all of these words together, it expresses this idea:
“Satan can forget it if he thinks he is going to pull the wool over our eyes! We know how he operates, and we understand the way he schemes and connives to take us out.”
So don’t shut your eyes and ignore the fact that the devil wants to bring about your downfall. Instead, open your eyes and allow the Holy Spirit to teach you how to recognize the devil’s operations so you won’t fall prey to him any longer. Then you’ll be able to say, “Devil, I know this is you attacking me, so I am telling you to leave now in Jesus’ name!”
My Prayer for Today
Lord, I thank You for opening my eyes and illuminating my understanding to recognize Satan’s attacks against my life. Thank You also for giving me the understanding to know how to stand against these demonic attacks. I am so grateful that You have sent the Holy Spirit to be my Teacher and Guide and to equip me to stand against every assault that comes against my life, my family, my church, my business, and all my relationships. Armed with the power and insight of the Spirit, I never have to allow the enemy to take advantage of me again. So I open my heart today, and I ask the Holy Spirit to teach me everything I need to know to stand against the wiles the devil wants to employ against me.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I declare that I am not ignorant of Satan’s devices. Because the Holy Spirit is my Teacher, I know how to recognize the onset of Satan’s attack as he starts maneuvering to frustrate my plans. I am not in the dark about the devil; therefore, the enemy finds it very difficult to take advantage of me. Because my mind has been illuminated to see how the devil operates, his evil plots against my life are aborted by the power of God! I will not be taken down by any strategy the enemy tries to use against me.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. Are you aware of areas in your personal life where you are currently falling prey to the cunning plots of the devil? Can you think of some ways you have been susceptible in the past to his repeated tactics?
2. Have you really looked at Satan’s repeat attacks on your life to see what you can learn about the way he attacks you?
3. Since awareness of your enemy is so important, what are some ways you can be more prepared for his attacks, all of which are designed to bring ruin in your life?