"Take your stand against the devil's schemes."
- Ephesians 6:11 NIV
Once we trust Christ as our Savior and are filled with the Holy Spirit, the devil has no authority or jurisdiction over us. Even so, he can still have a tremendous influence on our lives by using the weapon of deception. And one of his most devastating tools is "spiritual smokescreens." Let me give you a classic example of how Satan uses these tactics, so that you can be on your guard against them.
Years ago, my husband, Joe, and I had some serious problems with our neighbors' children, who intimidated our sons and did significant damage to our house and property. Ever since then, my husband has been overly sensitive to apparent attacks on our home. The devil is keenly aware of this, and he does his best to use it against our family. Last Saturday, when our mail lady delivered our mail, she asked my husband if he ever found out who had tied explosives to our above-the-ground pool and tried to blow it up. This incident happened two years ago, so her question seemed to come out of the blue. When my husband had to admit that we never did discover the culprit, she said, "You have some bad kids in this neighborhood." This was the first step that Satan took in creating a spiritual smokescreen against my family.
Next, during the wee hours of that very night, my husband was awakened by a very loud bang. He jumped out of bed, and heard voices whispering, and then feet fleeing, and he was convinced that whoever it was, was up to no good. Satan was setting my husband up--to get him upset.
Then, the following morning, Joe went outside to look for any signs of damage to our home or property. He came to me sometime later, holding huge branches that he said someone must have ripped from our trees. I told him sternly, "Now don't go looking for trouble where there is none." And after closer inspection, Joe discovered that the broken branches were from a tree down the road that belonged to a neighbor who was having work done to his property--and that no attack had been made on us after all.
The devil uses spiritual smokescreens to make things look much worse than they really are. If we're sick, Satan will try to convince us that we're not going to get any better. If we're having financial problems, he'll try to make us think that we're going to lose everything. If we're experiencing relationship troubles, he'll attempt to convince us that we're going to be rejected. If we don't commit our situation to God, and trust Him for His protection and help, we will buy into the devil's lies, and rob ourselves of the blessings that the Lord had in store for us. The Bible says that we are to be on guard at all times, "so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes." (2 Corinthians 2:11 NASB) If my husband had not been aware of the devil's tactics in his situation, he would have acted rashly and opened the door to all kinds of trouble. Thankfully, he saw through the enemy's schemes, and refused to take the devil's bait.
The next time you are faced with what could be a spiritual smokescreen, turn to the Lord immediately in prayer, and ask for His discernment and help. Claim His promises for protection and provision, and praise Him for His faithfulness. Take any appropriate, practical steps that the Lord leads you to take. Then rest in the peace and security that belong to you in Christ!
Prayer: Lord, teach me how to be alert for spiritual smokescreens. Give me the supernatural wisdom and discernment I need to recognize them the moment they come my way. Thank You that as I stand against the strategies of the devil, and put my trust in You, I will gain the victory each and every time!
- J. M. Farro