Given the choice, I think all of us would choose to be at peace and not at war. Unfortunately, as believers, we do not have that choice. The moment we accept Jesus as our savior the devil begins his attack. It may not feel like it but every single day we are under attack and at war. We are at war with the world, the devil, our selfish intentions, our sinful nature, our doubts, and our insecurities. The unique thing about this war is that we are fighting against an enemy that is unseen and an evil that comes from the dark world. 1 Peter 5:8 tells us, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” We must always be on watch, protecting ourselves from the enemy’s attacks. The enemy loves to take advantage of us when we are vulnerable, tired, agitated, sad, in pain, distracted, or alone. Sounds a lot like what I have felt in quarantine.
Lucky for us, we have a God that knows all of the devil's schemes and has given us the protection and defense we need to fight and stand firm in our faith. In Ephesians 6:10-18, Paul is writing to the church in Ephesus. In this passage, he tells the church of the daily war that is being fought, how the enemy works and gives all of us an instruction guide on how to protect ourselves using the resources God has given. To better understand how we can fight against the evil one, let's take a look at Ephesians 6:10-18.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people.”
We are first told that God has all the power we need to win the war and that with the full armor of God we can stand against all the evil the world throws at us. He reminds us that although we cannot see the enemy, he has control over the world and all evil. When we step into the battle, we have all the armor we need to protect us and succeed.
First, we are told about The Belt of Truth in verse 14. The Belt of Truth is connected to all of the armor and it is what keeps the armor in place during the war. When under attack we must hold on tight to what we know is true. God tells us what is true in the Bible and Jesus showed us what is true in His ministry. The enemy’s plan of attack is to whisper lies into our ears and make us believe them. When he says we are worthless you can hold onto the truth that we have great worth in God’s eyes (Romans 5:8). When he tells us we will never account for anything, God says I have a plan for you (Jeremiah 29:11). Connect everything back to the truth and you can stand strong against every lie the world tells you.
Second, we are given The Breastplate of Righteousness in verse 14. Righteousness is the act of becoming right and becoming more like Jesus. We know that becoming more like Jesus is the ultimate goal of a believer (1 John 2:6). The process of becoming righteous calls for a complete heart change. That is why the breastplate covers the heart and righteousness is at the core of our armor of God.
Our feet should be fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. We are told in verse 15 that we must be ready to stand firm in the fight and also to take the fight to the enemy. War is chaos, and chaos brings up feelings of stress, anxiety, insecurities, pain, sadness, and anger. When we set our feet on the gospel of peace, we are given peace that transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7). We can then stand firm and confident that God is in control. Our feet must also always be ready to go and fight. We fight by defending others against evil (John 15:13) and be willing to give a testimony of your belief in God (1 Peter 3:15).
In verse 16 we are given the Shield of Faith with which can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. In the time of Roman soldiers, they would dip their shields in water in order to be protected from flaming arrows from their enemies. This verse tells us that we should also be dipping our shields in water, but not just any normal water, the water of God AKA the word of God. By dipping our shields in the water of God we stay immersed in His ways. When we know the way of the Lord we know the path we should take that leads to safety and victory. (Isaiah 58:11)
The Helmet of Salvation in verse 17 is one of the most important parts of the armor. Just like we cannot function without our head, our faith cannot function without our salvation. The helmet of Salvation is used to keep our head on straight. It keeps our eyes focused on our salvation and not the war going on around us. This will give us the protection to hear but not listen to the lies the world tells us. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Finally, in verse 17 we are given our weapon, The Sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. Our weapon is not used for destruction but for the defense of attacks and to go on offense to win over others to Christ. The word of God has more power than any other weapons known to man. It is sharper than any two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). Our weapon is God’s word itself and it has the power to kill the old sinful ways and bring to life a new creation through God the Father and Christ the Son (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Our second weapon is the power of prayer from verse 18. Prayer is used to call in the highest power to stand with us. Prayer also gives us the ability to fight beside others who are immersed in a fight of their own. We should pray in the fight and praise in the victory.
Although the enemy was defeated when Christ rose from the dead, he still continues to scheme to win over souls to the dark world. God has warned us of this and gives us all the resources to stay strong during the war that is happening all around us. As believers, we cannot escape this war while we are on earth and since we cannot escape we should do everything in our power to prepare. The instructions are simple, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7.
I challenge you to suit up and fight the good fight for your soul and for the souls of others. Although we may fall at times, God is stronger than the enemy and will pick us up and dust us off. “But the LORD is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.” 2 Thessalonians 3:3.
If you are wanting to study more about the Armor of God and how we can defend ourselves against the enemy there are many studies out there. One of the studies I suggest is The Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer. Although I have not done this study myself, I have done other bible studies by Priscilla and truly enjoyed her insight and commentary on the biblical principles she is discussing. Please share in the comment if you have done this study or any other study that was helpful in understanding the armor of God.
Join us starting on May 3rd as we study the book Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver. Join the book club by following this link and entering your name and email.
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