for we are not ignorant of his schemes. 2 Corinthians 2:11
Schemes – Can you read the devil’s mind? If you knew what the devil was thinking, would it be an advantage to you in your quest to be obedient to God? Too often we think Satan attacks us by reading our thoughts. But, according to Paul, we know something about Satan’s thinking. We can read his mind, if we pay attention in the school of hard knocks.
The Greek word that Paul uses is noemata (plural of noema). It means “thoughts, concepts, understanding and mental devices.” Of course, the Biblical principle, “As a man thinks, so is he,” applies to Satan as well. Satan thinks as a rebel against God, and consequently, his actions display every form of chaotic rebellion. If I pay attention to the displays of his outward behavior, I can learn something about his thinking, and that gives me an immense advantage; for if I know how he thinks, I can be aware of his seductions before they blossom into reality.
Paul uses another crucial word in this verse. “We are not ignorant.” Unfortunately, most of us do feel ignorant about Satan’s strategic thinking. We feel blindsided in the battle against evil. We feel as though we get caught off guard. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Paul uses the Greek agnoeo, a verb that means “not to recognize or perceive.” Do you see something important about this word? It has the same root as “schemes” – noeo. We might translate this as “we are not unthinking of his thinking” or “we perceive of his perceptions.”
Knowing what Satan is thinking is not as difficult as it seems. How do you know what another person thinks? You look at the behavior and draw conclusions, right? Only sometimes you are mistaken. You read them wrong. But that doesn’t have to be the case with Satan. Why? Because God’s Word tells you exactly how to read his thoughts. His behavior hasn’t changed in millennia. The Bible makes his motives and actions very clear. If you pay attention to what God says about the father of lies, you will never be mistaken about his thinking. You can play mind games with him and win every time.
What characterizes Satan’s thoughts? For starters, Satan has a fairly limited arsenal. He uses the desires of physical reality. He’ll parade all sorts of tantalizing enticements before you. He uses ego and pride. He uses envy of possessions. But the strategy remains the same. We have all experienced these moves in the school of knocks. We all know exactly what his schemes are because they have been a part of our lives. There truly is nothing new under the sun. And since we have all experienced how Satan operates, we don’t have to be in the dark about what he will do next. He uses the same tactics over and over. All we have to do is recognize his thinking the instant it happens. Of course, that’s something we can’t do if we are playing by his rules. But life in the Spirit brings immediate awareness of Satan’s deceptions because the Spirit knows the heart of every man (and fallen angel). So, the more we listen and obey the Spirit, the quicker we perceive Satan’s thoughts. Take the offensive! Don’t let Satan dupe you into believing that you are in a losing battle. His tactics are plain enough for any believer to see – before he employs them. This is a battle you can win. Learn from your own experience and you won’t be ignorant.
Topical Index: Spiritual Warfare