One of the most masterful of all of Satan's "devices" is to plant the thought in the minds of men that he is actually not real but is only a figurative method of defining evil. By doing so he is able to go about sowing lies while men sleep unaware of his pervasive power to deceive even the very elect if it were possible. In this scheme he would make truth to appear as less than true and seldom of an absolute nature. He would equate his own perversions of the truth with the truth and even attempt to supplant the truth by making himself into an angel of light. In this scheme the consideration of what is true and what is evil becomes relative and is mostly just an exercise in semantics and situational ethics. The definition of truth and evil become subjective to the intellectual pursuits of men. If something seems to be good then it must be good especially if it makes men happy, and there couldn't possibly be anything right with something that clearly makes men unhappy.
Another device is to convince those who nonetheless believe he is real to consider that he is just as eternal as GOD. This line of thinking involves considering him as co-equal with GOD. Satan is considered as being the cause of all "evil" or "bad" things (as men define them) while GOD is the cause of all "good" things. In this view he and GOD are locked up in a sort of life and death struggle with the outcome of all events constantly in jeopardy. He is willing to even allow men to think that "good" will ultimately triumph as long as they raise him in their own minds to the same level as the True GOD. This is called "dualism" and seems to be, more or less, the prevailing thought among most so called "christians" (in these modern days), which they share with all pagan religions.
Yet the scripture seems abundantly clear that Satan is a created being (see Luke 10:18; Isa. 14:12) designed by GOD to carry out HIS purpose in the earth while doing so with a perfect hatred of the truth of GOD and desiring to destroy the SEED of the LORD.(see Gen.3:14,15; John 8:44; Acts 13:10) HE is GOD's devil and like a dog on a leash can go no further than GOD "allows" him to go in order to fulfill HIS greater purpose in the earth.(see Job 1:12;2:6) His ultimate destruction is already revealed and he is yet "allowed" to roam the earth as a roaring lion, knowing that the everlasting chains of hell await him.(see Rev.20:3;7-8;Jude 6).
All events that transpire in the earth occur according to the ordained purpose of Almighty GOD. "But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased." (Psa 115:3) "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things." (Isa 45:7) "Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it." (Isa 46:9-11) GOD doesn't have any subcontractors, but HE does use the evil designs of men and Satan to accomplish HIS purpose in the earth. (see I Kgs. 22:22,23; Deut.2:30; Ezek.14:9) "Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain." (Psa 76:10)
So, Satan is very real and is even now plotting and scheming to destroy the kingdom of GOD and all of its heirs. His success in this endeavor is an absolute impossibility since the LORD has already demonstrated HIS destruction and overthrow of Satan's principalities and powers, when HE "made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it" (Col 2:15) by HIS death on Calvary and HIS resurrection from the garden tomb. But make no mistake he is yet a very able adversary of the saints and GOD has purposed that he will continue to aim his fiery darts at us until the day of our change. GOD could have kept him chained forever but it has pleased HIM to loose him for a season of time until HE has winnowed HIS wheat and purged HIS gold.
Satan most definitely has many "devices" or schemes whereby he would intend our destruction and make a mockery of GOD before our eyes. But Paul said we are not ignorant or blind to those schemes nor are we unequipped to do battle with him for we have been given armor, a sword and a shield which quench all of his fiery darts. Our flesh (which has a strange affinity to Satan's devices) would whisper to us of the lack of necessity to engage this defeated foe or it would provoke us to focus our attention on matters of flesh and blood, such as outward moralism, dead letter theology and unlearned questions, patriotism, times and seasons, or religious traditions.
Paul said, "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled." (II Cor 10:3-6) It is interesting to note that the word which is translated "thought" in this verse is the exact same Greek word "noema" which is translated "devices" in the text that we are looking at. (i.e. II Cor.2:11)
The major venue where this warfare (which the awakened sons of GOD are involved in) takes place upon is the battleground of our minds. Paul said. "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace." (Rom 6:11-14) We are to "reckon" it to be so, or let our thought process dwell upon the very fact that we are not the servants of sin but have been made righteous by the blood of the LORD JESUS CHRIST. GOD uses the exhortations of HIS word to stir up our minds. (see II Pet.3:1; Phil.4:7; Heb.12:3; II Cor.11:3)
Paul said "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:" (Phil 2:3-5) Satan's most desired "device" is that of trying to move our "thinking" away from the contemplation of CHRIST to any number of other issues. Many of which may be of some benefit but keep us back from that which is most profitable.
"Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;" (Phil 3:8-10)mam