Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
— Ephesians 6:11
What I am about to tell you is so simple — yet it is also life-changing and revolutionary. I want to help you understand how the devil tries to work in the realm of the mind and emotions. If you grab hold of these truths, they can set you free from the devil’s lies forever!
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.
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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!
My Prayer for Today
Lord, I don’t want the devil to fill my mind with insinuations and lies. My mind belongs to You, and the devil has no right to flood me with false perceptions, vain imaginations, or lies about who I am or what I will never be. I refuse to let him operate in me any longer! You have provided me with the helmet of salvation, and by faith I put it on to protect my mind against the devil’s assaults. He can strike as hard as he wishes, but Your Spirit and Word protect me!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I confess that I bring every thought into the captivity of Christ! When the devil tries to invade my mind with lies, I capture those lies and drive them clear out of my brain! Rather than fall victim to the devil’s attacks, I seize every thought that he tries to use to penetrate my mind and emotions. I grab each lie and force it into submission! Because I stand firm on the Word, the enemy’s lies are not able to exert any power against me.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. Can you think of one area in your mind where Satan repeatedly tries to attack you? What is that area, and how long has he been attacking you in this area of your thought life? Has it gone on for a day, a week, a month, a year, or for many years?
2. When you feel heavily assaulted in your mind and emotions and you need someone to pray with you, is there someone you know you can go to for prayer and support? If so, who is that person? If not, don’t you think it would encourage you to find a friend to whom you could talk and who could help you resist the lies of the devil?
3. What is the most successful tactic you’ve learned to shut the devil up when he’s trying to roar loudly inside your head?