Secrets of the Lord's Prayer: Identifying the Devil's Playbook
"but deliver us from evil." (Matt. 6:13b)
Last week, we learned about how to use God's armor to defeat attacks by the Devil. This week, I want to help you understand the Devil's own playbook. You can know what schemes he is running against you so you can win. For past articles in the Lord's Prayer series, click HERE.
Satan has a playbook with specific plays or schemes he runs against us. If the Devil is attacking you, he is most likely attacking you in one of these ways. I use a sort of pull-down menu that opens up my discussions with God about what the Devil is trying against me. This is, what he (the Devil) will try to embroil you in. Knowing the scheme, or play from his playbook, you can prepare yourself to win by praying about how to defeat these various schemes he is running.
Let me take you through a quick understanding of these major schemes. Then have a time of prayer with God about these. Go through each one and have a dialogue with God about whether the Devil is using this one or that one against you and what you should do to prepare for this scheme. Continue the discussion until you have a whole game plan for how you are going to defeat this plan of the Devil. Put on the full armor of God and battle to freedom and victory.
This is the scheme of the Devil as the tempter. In Matthew 4:4, Jesus was led up by the Spirit of God to be tempted by the Devil. In that temptation, the Devil tempted Jesus with food, with power, and with glory. Jesus passed each test by turning away from the desire and staying true to God’s plan and timetable. When the Devil comes as tempter, he wants to use a desire in your life to pull you off the straight road. He may use any desire in your world that can derail the plan of God. It could be food, sex, power, popularity, money, comfort, ego, or a hundred other things. There is often nothing wrong with the desire that the Devil is using in certain situations, but it is wrong at the time or in the way that it is being used on you. If temptation is an issue for you, my book Mission Possible-Winning the Battle over Temptation is available to you with forty or so practical ways to defeat temptation. You can also take a video course, which can be accessed through the Principles to Live By website, www.ptlb.com/mission-possible.
This is the scheme of Satan where he lives up to that name. The name “Satan” means adversary - opponent. In this scheme, he will oppose you and come against you as you try and do something good for God. The opposition may come through a person, an institution, a group, or directly. It will be there to move you off the plan you are pursuing for and with God. Do not be moved from what God has planned to accomplish. That is how you win.
This is the scheme of the Devil where he really is a devil. The word “devil” means double-tongued or forked tongue. This scheme is where he spreads rumors, gossip, slander, and accusations. He is trying to get you to move off of the path that you are on and onto a path of revenge and anger. This is often a refining path in which all kinds of things are said about you that are not true. You can answer truthfully, but it doesn’t always stop the attack.
This scheme of the Devil is when he becomes the roaring lion using fear to drive you away from something good and positive. Fear can be a debilitating emotion. We want to move away from the source of the fear, yet often that is exactly the opposite thing that God wants you to do. The Devil comes as a roaring lion to roar at you so you’ll leave where you should stay in order to get you to move in the opposite direction of where you should be going. In the wild, a lion roars when it is trying to drive a gazelle toward the real hunters. It is counter intuitive, but the gazelles should run toward the sound of the roar because that is the escape route. Dig into 1 Peter 5:8 and see how the roaring lion wants to devour you and not have you make the impact for God you could make.
Anger / Bitterness-Dragon
This scheme of the Devil is where He comes to make you angry and bitter. He comes as the dragon to fill you with fire that melts the relationships you need with the people that would love you. The dragon scheme is where he gets you to raise your expectations of people to unrealistic levels, or he wants you to nurse bitterness and grievances until you can’t stand the very people who may be the keys to your future.
Spiritual Power-Angel of Light
This is the scheme where the Devil comes as an Angel of Light offering spiritual power or secret revelations that others do not have. The Devil wants you to be amazed and side-tracked by spiritual nonsense so that you do not pursue the true goals of life (loving God, others, and yourself, righteously). It is always amazing that those who fall for this scheme always end up becoming harmful to others or arrogant and destructive to the relationships they really need.
Perversion-Beelzebub, Prince of Darkness, and the Underworld
This scheme of the Devil is to expose people to the thinking, benefits, and practices of perversion. In this way, he can persuade people get used to wickedness to stay connected to this world. It is the world of gangs, corruption, perverse sexuality, imprisonment, occult rituals, slavery, humiliating power over others, and violence. It seems like it offers lots of benefits initially, even though most realize it is a horrible world to enter. Perversion traps its victims in a dark world where people serve very base and wicked impulses.
Pride-God of this world
This is one of the favorite schemes of the Devil, where he wants to increase your own natural self-focus. He wants you to feel justified for making everything about you. He wants you to pursue arrogance, superiority, and ego, and then believe it’s okay. Every overbearing leader and bully is caught in this scheme and thinks that he is right. The Devil wants you to believe that you are the god of your world, in complete control and able to treat people poorly because of how important you are. He will inflate your sense of self or the desire for importance.
Pray and ask God how you can break free from his deceptive schemes that seems like you are making progress, but you are really hurting people and missing God’s best. For a further discussion of the schemes of the Devil, see my book The Schemes of Satan.
Next week, I will wrap up this series on the Lord's Prayer by refocusing us off of Satan and back on the God, with the phrase "For Thine is the kingdom and power and glory forever. Amen." This is the perfect verse to end with. Feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, your greatest life is just ahead.
In His service,
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