Beneath the surface of the visible world, a battle rages in an unseen realm. Dark, wicked, supernatural powers seek to rule the world by force. The carnage and the casualties lie all around us.
This isn’t a physical battle, though. It’s spiritual. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,” Paul says, but “against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12).
In this battle, Satan’s weapons aren’t bombs and bullets. They aren’t his raw power or demon possession, either. His chief weapons are lies and deceptions.
Yes, Satan can harm us physically and often does. We see this in Scripture. Most of the spiritual warfare we encounter, though, is not a power encounter against Satan’s physical attacks. Rather, it’s a truth encounter against his spiritual lies. Therefore, we don’t respond with spiritual chest-pounding but rather with a gracious, sound, and measured proclamation of truth.
Remember who Satan is. Jesus calls him “a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). He says there’s no truth in him. He warns us that our battle is against a deadly foe who lies, cheats, and steals.
The devil’s deceptions—Paul calls “schemes” in Ephesians 6:11—are sophisticated strategies he uses to gain a foothold to exert his influence over people.
Satan preys on those not ready for combat, and his plan is working. Currently the culture is in the crushing grip of three of Satan’s cons: moral relativism, religious pluralism, and sexual progressivism.
The results of his schemes are everywhere. For example, many of the commercials during the Olympics this year featured gay, lesbian, and transgender people in relationships—quiet lies of Satan coming into our homes on prime-time television. Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Disney all feature movies depicting similar themes.
Tragically, even our children are targets. In 2017, Disney introduced a lesbian couple in a cartoon feature, “Doc McStuffins.” Last year, I was watching “The Babysitters Club” with my daughters when Netflix introduced a little boy character who believed he was a little girl.
Most recently, “Blues Clues” had a “family pride parade” hosted by a drag-queen. The celebration highlighted families with lesbian mothers, gay fathers, and parents who are non-binary, trans, aceflux, bisexual, and pansexual. The creators even included a cartoon beaver with chest scars from a double mastectomy. Missing from the celebration was a traditional family. All these programs were TV-G, by the way.
The normalization of gay and lesbian parents and transgender children is just one example of the kind of schemes Paul talks about.
So, how do we resist the lies and deceptions of Satan? Paul tells us.
In Ephesians 6, Paul counsels us on how to combat the lies of the enemy that hold the rest of the world captive: “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm” (Eph. 6:13).
Paul exhorts Christians to “stand firm” in opposition to the enemy. This is important. It’s vital that in our Christian lives we do not compromise our theology or our morality. Now is not the time to bend or bow to cultural pressures.
Paul lists five pieces of armor in this passage, but I want to focus only on the first one. He tells us to fasten the belt of truth around our waists (Eph. 6:14). “Truth” here refers to God’s truth that readies us for battle.
As you and I fasten on the belt of God’s truth, we are strengthened to resist and to counter deception. In another passage, Paul indicates that truth is the weapon that’s “divinely powerful” and capable of destroying “arguments…raised against the knowledge of God” (2 Cor. 10:4–5).
The Christian worldview accurately reflects the way the world really is. Yet Satan “has blinded the minds of the unbelieving” (2 Cor. 4:4) who are “held captive by him to do his will” (2 Tim. 2:26), making it impossible for them to see reality. When we confront the deceptions of the devil with truth, though, God helps us expose the lies.
There is a battle raging. We have a powerful enemy who seeks to devour, but we have a weapon that is more powerful and allows us to fight back—the truth. Armed with the truth of God, we can withstand Satan’s assaults. As ambassadors for Christ, we can stand firm against the devil’s lies in the culture.