In Ephesians chapter 6:11 we are told to stand against the wiles (KJV), or schemes (ESV) of the devil. The devil is very real, and as he is the adversary of Christ, he is also the Christian's adversary. The devil is a spiritual being, and operates in a realm that we can not enter physically, but his power is able to affect the physical realm we live in. Being "strong" in the Lord (vs.10) is to be strong in a spiritual sense. The armor of God spoken of in chapter six is spiritual armor, not something we can touch with our hands. The devil affects how we live here, but our battle with him is spiritual, and he is very real.
How does the devil affect us in this life? How do we recognize his schemes? Now, what I am about to say will get some people revisiting their personal understanding of the doctrine of angelology and anthropology. They will differentiate between the credit we give the devil for our sins, and the sinful flesh we all have to deal with. When I sin, I have to take responsibility for it. The devil did not make me do it, as some people choose to believe. However, there are certain anti-God philosophies in this sinful world system that are the brainchild of a "created" higher being, and that being is the devil, Satan. So, what are some of these philosophies?
For children living at home, if you want to effect change, rebel (6:1).
- Place great value in things that make you happy, and you'll have a good life (6:2,3)
- If you want children to obey you, humiliate them (6:4).
For servants and masters (perhaps we could use employee/employer) (6:5-9)
- In order to get ahead, you must see everyone as your competition.
- Just do what you have to do, nothing more.
- In order to get things done, you must instill fear in your employees.
This is nowhere near an exhaustive list of worldly philosophies, but it is a popular sampling that represents how Satan can affect us in this physical life of ours.
Children are told to "obey" their parents. Why? Because the sinful nature so easily wishes to follow a worldly philosophy. Fathers are told not to provoke their children to anger. Why? Because we can get results in this worldly method. It works, but it isn't right. Bond servants are told to serve masters as if they were serving Christ Himself. Why? Because serving like this goes against the grain of an addictive worldly philosophy, and we need to be reminded of godly principles. Masters are told not to threaten. Why? Does it not get the job done? It does, but it's not right.
We are in a spiritual battle and it affects our life here, where the rubber meets the road, in the home and in the workplace, in school, and at church meetings. It involves relationships. It breaks or enhances unity, and it requires that we are prepared to fight, equipped, armed, and dependent on Christ.