Here’s a true story from Queensland, Australia. One night a patrolman sat stealthily in his car outside a popular tavern in the expectation of writing someone up for drunk driving. Sure enough, late that evening, a man staggered out of the tavern and looked for all the world like a prime candidate. After trying his keys in no less than four wrong cars, the man finally found the right car and pretty much fell into the driver’s seat. He just sat there motionless for a long time even as other patrons came out of the bar and drove off. The patrolman sat hidden in his car and watched it all happen, all the while thinking to himself, “Just start that car, mister, and pull out onto the highway. Then I’ll have you.”
Finally the man did start his car, but he followed that up by turning the windshield wipers on and off, switching the turn-signal lights on and off, and blowing the horn. It was all quite a sight. Then he put his car into gear, rolled forward a little, stopped, put the car in reverse, and rolled backward a little. Other people were now leaving the bar and getting into their cars, and the patrolman feared the guy might actually cause an accident right there in the parking lot.
It took some more time, but the man did at last get his car headed in the right direction and eased slowly out onto the highway. The patrolman immediately started his car, turned on his flashing lights, and pulled the guy over for a traffic stop. He had the driver get out of the car and take a Breathalyzer test on the spot, a test the outcome of which seemed to be in no doubt. To the patrolman’s amazement, however, the Breathalyzer indicated no evidence whatsoever that the man had consumed any alcohol. Somewhat embarrassed, not to mention downright confused, the patrolman said to the driver, “I’ll have to ask you to accompany me to the Police station because evidently this Breathalyzer equipment is broken.” To that the man replied, “I doubt it. Tonight I’m the designated decoy.”
It’s a sad fact that Satan (usually working through his fellow fallen angels who do his bidding) can cause us to chase all kinds of false decoys that aren’t God’s will for our lives. He deceived Eve into thinking that eating the forbidden fruit was the right way to go (Genesis 3:1-6; 1 Timothy 2:14). He disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). He is full of schemes (Ephesians 6:1; 2 Corinthians 2:10-11). He snatches away the word of God from those who don’t understand it (Matthew 13:19). He lays snares for pastors (1 Timothy 3:7). He blinds the minds of those who do not believe the gospel (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). He deceives the whole world (Revelation 12:9). He walks about seeking people to devour (1 Peter 5:8). If he was bold enough to tempt the likes of not only David (1 Chronicles 21:1) but also Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11) in his attempts to deceive them to get them to miss God’s will, don’t think that he won’t do the same to you.
How can you resist his deceptions? According to Ephesians 6:10-20, you must put on the whole armor of God. From the top down, that armor looks like this:
- the helmet of salvation on your head (Ephesians 6:17): Experience salvation by believing in Jesus.
- the breastplate of righteousness covering your chest and heart (Ephesians 6:14): Repent of your sins and live a righteous life.
- the belt of truth around your waist (Ephesians 6:14): Cling to the truth of God’s word as a means of resisting Satan’s deceptions.
- the shield of faith in one of your hands (Ephesians 6:16): Use faith as a defensive weapon to fend off the flaming arrows of doubt in God’s word that Satan shoots at you.
- the sword of the Spirit in your other hand (Ephesians 6:17): Use God’s word as an offensive weapon to strike blows against Satan’s lies and deceptions the way Jesus did when Satan tempted Him.
- the gospel as your shoes (Ephesians 6:15): As you move through life, tell others about the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Finally, once you have every part of your armor in place, you should pray, pray again, and then pray some more (Ephesians 6:18). You see, Christian, praying without wearing your spiritual armor leaves you exposed to Satan’s deceptions, but wearing your armor without praying hinders God the Holy Spirit’s guidance regarding how to wear your armor most effectively. It’s not that prayer replaces the need for your armor. What prayer does is fortify your armor to the uttermost. The praying Christian soldier who consistently wears the whole armor of God is the person Satan has the most trouble deceiving, and that’s why you and I would do well to be such people.