Know Your Enemy

2 Corinthians 2:11- “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”

There is a popular story about an inquiry to a banker regarding how the bank could detect when certain paper money was counterfeit. The banker explained that they did not teach the bank tellers all about the aspects of counterfeit money; rather, they trained them to be so familiar with the feel and appearance of real money that they could detect anything other than the genuine article. This narrative has been cited to support the fact that we need not spend any time learning about Satan or his cohorts; instead, all of our time and energy should be devoted solely to learning about Jesus. The lesson from this story indeed has great wisdom and merit. Any effort we devote to learning about God and His ways is time well spent—Jesus is the “genuine article”—the true Savior; and Satan is a counterfeit, always trying to present himself as the one to be desired.

However, Paul explained that they (the believers) were not ignorant of Satan’s schemes—they recognized the characteristics of Satan’s counterfeit tactics. The point isn’t that we should become obsessed with investigating the dark ways of the enemy, but rather we should be aware of those ways to the extent that Satan cannot gain an advantage over us and thereby deceive us. The Scriptures clearly teach that we are wrestling with evil powers and we must be on guard against them; indeed we are to expose them (Ephesians 5:11 & Eph. 6:12). We learn from the Bible, for example, that Satan disguises himself as good and desirable (2Cor. 11:14; Mt. 7:15); he is a liar (John 8:44); he inspires false teachers (2 Peter 2:1-3); and he will produce signs and wonders (Mt. 24:24).