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How would I have heard God? My grief over my grandmother’s passing would have overtaken me. When I got the news that they were going to take her off the ventilator my whole world crumbled. I knew I was being attacked, but I still wanted to wallow in my thoughts. The thoughts that made me selfishly think that instead of bringing her out of her pain, she should live in it just for me.
And isn’t that so easy to do? Sometimes we are so blind in our emotions and pain that it’s just so natural to let it overtake us. But there is a spiritual side to everything. God sees our pain, but Satan does too. And unlike God, Satan wants to keep us in our pain, to keep us in our sin, our misery, our temptations, and fears. And he has an army working behind the scenes to make sure their strategy is unbeatable. But isn’t God just too good? He gave us an outline on how to defeat our enemy in His power. Because if we were to stand alone, we might as well surrender. But thanks be to God for His instructions.
Knowing the power we are fighting against and why we need the full armor of God
Ephesians 6:11 says to “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (NKJV) The word wiles means schemes. That means that Satan and his army don’t just decide one day, “Hey, let’s mess with this person’s life today”. No, they lie in wait. They watch and see our weaknesses, the sin we are tempted by, and how much of our own strength we think we can use compared to God’s.
And this army isn’t weak. This isn’t something to casually dismiss. These were God’s angels. Angels He made for His own glory, His own army. Ephesians 6:12 says “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
Does that verse impact you as much as it does me? And if I didn’t know who I belonged to, it might even frighten me. “Flesh and blood” seems like nothing compared to what we have to deal with spiritually.
These demons have power.
Power to whisper in your ear so that no one else can hear. The power to remind you of that thing your husband/wife/mom/sister/friend did last week so that your smooth evening turns into a monumental fight. Power to tempt your friend to use just a little bit of ecstasy. The power to grab your wife’s or husband’s attention to look to their right and be tempted with lust and adultery. Power to bring up your insecurities before you take a bite of your favorite cake. The power to remind you of that juicy gossip you just heard and want to tell all your friends. Power.
The best defense against the power of an evil army
Thank You, Jesus, that You give us the power we need to fight. To stand up against this evil.
Ephesians 6:13 says “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day and having done all, to stand.” A common view of “the evil day” is that any great spiritual contest in a believer’s life could be in view here. This paints such a vivid picture for me. Of someone at the end of a horrible battle, standing strong. Obviously tired, and ready to go home but they have hope in their eyes and pride in their hearts that they made it through the end of the day alive. I’ve felt like this many times. Have you?
An example of spiritual testing
So how can you get to the point where at the end of the day, you’re still standing?
How can you prepare yourself to defeat all of this wicked power?
Ephesians gives us the perfect instructions to put on the full armor of God.
I love how Paul refers to it as armor. Just like getting dressed in the morning, we need to put on our spiritual armor.
Belt of Truth
“Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth” Ephesians 6:14a
Breastplate of Righteousness
“Having put on the breastplate of righteousness” Ephesians 6:14b
Paul was writing from prison, where he was extremely familiar with Roman armor. In those times, a breastplate went all the way around their front and back so that they were protected on all sides. It was made of metal or hard leather for protection. I’m sure that no soldier would ever want to step onto the battlefield without one. They would be completely vulnerable.
The righteousness in this context is not talking about the righteousness we inherit as Christ’s child. It refers to our righteous character and what we do as believers. If our life is riddled with sin, we will be left vulnerable to spiritual attacks. It’s easy for Satan to keep someone down who’s already in sin.
Put your shoes on to be ready to run and spread the word of God
“And having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace” 6:15
Do you know how to give the gospel? Are you ready to share the hope that you have with anyone and everyone? The Romans wore hard, studded shoes. This verse could mean that the gospel is the foundation we stand on, or that we need to be ready to spread the good news. I believe it means both. I’m sure Paul didn’t mean either or. He used feet as an illustration of what we stand on, and he said “preparation of the gospel.” We need to be prepared.
Shield of Faith
“Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” Ephesians 6:16
A shield is to be used to protect oneself from all attacks, that’s why the term “above all” is used here. Your faith is essential to get through any battle. Knowing Who is on your side, Who has more power and Who wins, in the end, is important. I can imagine that Paul was referring to the flaming arrows that were thrown at Roman soldiers in battle, but their shields were fireproof. The attacks of Satan cannot penetrate the faith of a believer when they have put on the full armor of God.
Helmet of Salvation
“And take the helmet of salvation” Ephesians 6:17a
The Roman helmet was designed intricately to protect the soldier’s head and make him look taller and more impressive. Without our salvation we have nothing. Nothing to guard us against the attacks of the evil one. Like a helmet, our minds can rest assured in the safety of our salvation. Without our surety, our minds are left to wonder if we are even able to be equipped to fight.
The Sword of the Spirit
“And the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” Ephesians 6:17b
This is my favorite. It is our only offensive piece of armor. Hebrews 4:12 says “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow” I picture the sword as something we build by reading God’s word. Because carrying our Bible around, although useful- does not stop Satan’s attacks. Reading our word, and building up our knowledge of God’s word is what we fight with. But if we don’t read and if we don’t know Scripture, how can we tell what’s truth and what is a lie when we are tested?
Our sword represents what scripture is needed depending on the situation we are in.
Find a verse to fight
When we are being brought down with thoughts of insecurities or lies that are being whispered in our ear, we can remember that we can think of Philippians 4:8. “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things”.
In moments of grief, temptation, lust, addiction..there is a verse. There are instructions for everything in His word. And what’s most miraculous about this, is that even if we don’t remember everything, when we read we feed the Holy Spirit inside us. And when we are in the midst of a trial He will remind us of the scripture we need. But He can’t remind us of something we’ve never read before. We must know our word. It’s called our daily bread for a reason.
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” Ephesians 6:18
Where would we be without prayer?
This verse is often missed when explaining the full armor of God, but it is essential.
In the midst of our battle, or in the praise of it being over, we should be praying. And we shouldn’t just be praying for ourselves. Knowing that our experience with trials is not just limited to a few individuals, we should be praying for all the saints. For them to call on the hope of Christ and arm themselves with the armor of God. God doesn’t sit on the sidelines and watch as we are tested, He is there waiting for our reliance on Him.
We may not be tested every day, but we should be prepared always. Satan knows when our armor isn’t on-it makes us an easy target. Let us practice truth, righteousness, and unwavering faith. We should be ready to give the gospel and know the word of God. Let us rely deeply on our salvation. And finally, let us pray constantly. Pray to remember to put on our armor every day and stand firm against the evil forces.
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