SPIRITUAL TOOLS FOR WINNING THE BATTLE
We win the battle for control over our mind as we ‘put on the whole armor of God.’ The helmet of salvation will serve us well as we move forward in our relationship with God. The Apostle Paul writes, “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 bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
Let us examine each piece of armor to understand how vital they are in the believer’s life and how to use them according to God’s purpose and power. God has divine resources for our trials, temptations, and warfare. We only need to know what is available to us and let God use them through us.
Our warfare alongside Christ: As Paul sums up the book of Ephesians in Chapter 6, he tells us that we have all the resources, all the power, and all the principles to live the Christian life. However, there is one thing left that we need to know: It will not be simple living the Christian life! The change that occurs at your rebirth is more dramatic than the change that will happen when you die.
Even though we have the power and the principles, our enemy, Satan, will try to prevent the divine purpose in our lives. So, in defining the Christian life, the best term to use would be warfare. Repeatedly in Scripture, we see the Christian life in terms of combat. Whether you are at the beginning of your Christian experience or the end of it, you are going to be in the same battle; and if you think it will get more comfortable, you are wrong!
The more productive you become as a believer; the harder Satan will work against you. It is always been a war, and it will never stop being a war here on earth. However, the longer you fight, the more victories you will gain; and the higher the strings of wins, the more confidence you will have in God.
We are the people of God, and we are set in this world to carry out the goals, plans, and purposes which God Himself designed. Because of this, God has given us tremendous resources.
PUT ON THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD
Ephesians 6: 10-12
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places]” (Ephesians 6: 10-12).
The Bible commands us “to be strong in the Lord and the power of His might.” How do we do this? In our strength? We alone are no match for the adversary. Further, the Bible instructs us to “put on the whole armor of God.” What is this? What does this mean? Notice that we must be completely armed: one or two pieces will not do. And the time to “put it on” is before the battle begins, not during when you are already on enemy turf!
“Put on the whole armor of God. . .” God’s resources and power are available to us, but we have a responsibility too. The strength is God’s, yet the commitment must be ours. The dependence upon God’s power and the obedience to put on the available armor is the only resource the believer needs.
“Put on” in the Greek means, “to put on once and for all.” You are to put the armor on and leave it on for the rest of your life. Taking it off will make you vulnerable at any point.
“. . . that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Believers are to stand firm in the power of the Lord! We are to stand firm, not attack. We are never told to attack the devil! We are told to resist him, and he will flee. So, stand firm and hold your ground. “Thus, saith the LORD unto you, be not afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s…,” (2 Chronicles 20:15).
“Finally, my brethren be strong in the Lord and the power of His might. Put on the WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
” 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.”
If you are a true believer, as defined in Scripture, and living in Christ, then you can be sure of one thing, you are going to run right into the enemy. It is impossible to live for Christ without having a conflict with Satan. Therefore, Paul exhorts us, that since we are in a spiritual war, we need to be active in the Lord by putting on the whole armor of God.
We are all soldiers of the Cross. The question to ask yourself is: What kind of soldier am I? Do I win? There is no reason to know anything but victory, and with success comes joy, happiness, contentment, and peace. That is the way God intended it.
THE BELT OF TRUTH
“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth” (Ephesians 6:14a).
The Girdle of Truth (loins girt about) protects us from Satan’s deception. The only place to find the truth is in God’s Word. Ask God to work His truth into your heart by meditating on and memorizing His Word. Truth equips the saints of God for the spiritual battle. You will not be able to stand against Satan unless you are ready to fight – and to be prepared to compete, you must be committed. So, the first piece of armor you need to have on is the belt of truthfulness.
The Belt of Truth protects God’s will and truth in the believer’s life. Satan fights with lies. Only believers have God’s truth! To stand firm in the Word of God, we believe, receive in faith, and apply His Scriptural truths.
The enemy is always coming with his lies. Jesus said that the devil is the father of all lies. He lies about God, His nature, the character of God, and about the attitude of God towards you. He tries to lie to you about God’s attitude towards sin. “Oh, it doesn’t matter. You can get by with it. God will not judge you. God will forgive,” and so forth, and he presses the point of causing you to use the grace of God as a cloak for lust, deceiving yourself.
It is critical to know the truth, for it will set you free. Use your “FOR IT IS WRITTEN” weapon and speak the truth always. If you tell the truth, it becomes a part of your past. But if you lie, it becomes a part of your future.
THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
“and having on the breastplate of righteousness” (Ephesians 6:14b).
Righteousness is being honest, ethical, humble, and fair to others. It means standing up for weaker people. The worship of God protects us when Satan attacks our hearts, emotions, self-worth, and trust in God. He accuses us of being guilty and unworthy. However, I am forgiven and accepted by faith in Christ. “Who his self-bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (1 Peter 2:24).
Here is a command in God’s Word to appropriate the weaponry to protect ourselves, or else we are sitting ducks in conflicts that we cannot avoid. So, the “breastplate of righteousness” is Godliness.
Self-Righteousness: Can our good works or righteousness protect us from the onslaught of Satan and ultimately from hell? NO!
Imputed Righteousness: Upon conversion, God clothed you in the righteousness and absolute holiness of Christ. And from that moment on, when God looks at you, He sees the righteousness of His Son.
Note this does not guarantee that we will live every moment as we ought – it only ensures that we can.
There is a difference between our Position and our Practice. Our Position is secure forever, but our Practice does not always match up. So, the basis or the foundation of the Breastplate is the imputed righteousness of Christ; but the Breastplate is only on when we are living a righteous and holy life. Therefore, HOLY LIVING IS THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Paul says in I Corinthians 15:34, “Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak [this] to your shame.” What Satan wants to find in your life is just a little crack in the dam – and that is all he needs to burst it. Remember, in the end, you are going to be victorious, so there is no sense in losing all the beautiful things that God has for you now. Pray that you would be committed to and covered with the “Breastplate of Righteousness,” which comes from obedience to God and His Word.
THE GOSPEL OF PEACE
“And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15).
The Gospel of Peace is being right with God; available and ready to spread the Good News. The enemy wants us to think that telling others the Good News is a worthless and hopeless task. However, we are to profess Jesus Christ as the Savior and leave a good example for others to follow. “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ…” (Philippians 1:27a NIV).
This gospel of peace refers to the “Good News,” that we are at peace with God – that He is on our side. It is the fact that we can stand in His resources that allows us to stand our ground against Satan when he attacks. The question is, “What is the good news of peace?” Romans 5:1-11, states that before Christ, we were weak, unrighteous, sinful, unjustified, unsaved, and an object of God’s wrath. Summed up, we were enemies of God. The “gospel of peace” is that man was at war with God, but Christ made peace for us with God.
The Sandals of Peace enables us to become peacemakers for God. The Bible says: “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). Ask God to help you recognize the value of receiving and extending the peace by faith daily. As ambassadors for Christ, we share His message of reconciliation through faith in Jesus Christ. A peacemaker resolves conflicts, not creates them.
Our peace is in Christ: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
THE SHIELD OF FAITH
“Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” (Ephesians 6:16).
Faith is being sure that God will keep His promises and protect you when tempted to doubt. The enemy attacks with insults, setbacks, and temptations. The Shield of Faith protects from fiery arrows aimed to destroy our hope in Christ. Refuse to believe the lies. Extinguish the indicators of the evil one with full assurance that if God is for us, who can be against us?
The Shield of Faith must quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. “To quench” means “to put out, to extinguish.” Notice that the shield does not just extinguish some or even most of the “fiery darts” – it puts out all of them.
The shield of faith completely covers the warrior no matter how ferocious the attack, while supplying safe cover. The protection of faith defuses two of Satan’s most deadly weapons, UNBELIEF, and DOUBT. Therefore, the “Shield of Faith” helps us to believe God’s Word and not Satan’s lies.
So, we are ready for the battle. We have the belt of commitment, the Breastplate of righteousness, and the shoes of confidence that God is on our side. Then, when the battle begins, we grab the shield and quench the fiery darts of temptation by utterly trusting God. There is no reason to lose the fight. The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 8:37, “we are more than conquerors.” If we put the armor on – we will win!
Why is faith a shield against temptation? The term faith means “believing God,” which is the bottom line of the Christian faith – everything we believe in, everything we hold to, everything we have, and all our confidence. The whole of Christianity is an act of understanding “that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6b).
Paul explains how to obtain faith, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). We need hope, we want confidence, and “without faith, it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). Faith should be a response to proven truth.
Thus, the path to growing your faith is to learn more about Him. How does one do that? First, by discovering the majesty and integrity of His Word, giving it its proper priority in your life. Second, by keeping a continuing dialog with Him in Prayer!
THE HELMET OF SALVATION
“And take the helmet of salvation” (Ephesians 6:17a).
Put on the Helmet of Salvation by believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and rose again. Believers become members of God’s army upon receiving Christ as their Lord and Savior. The Helmet of Salvation protects our minds, Satan’s primary target. As we put on the helmet of salvation, we ask the Lord to make His thoughts our thoughts by bringing every thought into captivity and obedience to Christ.
The “helmet of salvation” does not refer to “being saved.” Paul is not saying, “Now that you’re in the army and you’re fighting Satan; and now that you’ve got your breastplate, shoes, and shield – get saved!” No. That has already happened. You are not even in the army unless you are a believer. If you are in the battle against Satan, you are already with Christ so, the “helmet of salvation” does not save us; it protects us.
Salvation is the foundation of which the warrior stands and protects him from the evils of the world. [[A Psalm of David.]] “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1). Do not let him take away the hope that makes you committed.
We need to have complete confidence in our “helmet of salvation.” There is no room for uncertainty about its adequacy or the durability of its protection. This issue reveals the reality of the Cross. If our salvation hinges on anything but the finished work of Christ on the Cross, we are in deep trouble. Why should God let you into Heaven?
Resolve any insecurities you may have concerning your eternal destiny NOW. It is the most critical issue in your life. Is there anything keeping you from accepting God’s gift of salvation right now?
THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT – WHICH IS THE WORD OF GOD
“and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17b).
God’s Word is our offensive weapon. When we tell others about what the Bible says, the Holy Spirit helps people see their evil thoughts and actions and makes them change. The Sword of the Spirit protects us from lies. When tempted, trust in the truth of God’s Word. We use the Sword to attack our enemies with the Word of God. It is the only weapon we use OFFENSIVELY AND DEFENSIVELY. Find a passage of Scripture that pertains to your need, apply its principles to the promise, and stand firm in the faith. Use your ‘FOR IT IS WRITTEN’ weapon.
Spiritual warfare is a daily battle so, put on the spiritual armor of God and keep it on for it is preparation for eventual victory and great rejoicing. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
Only the Word of God can discern the thoughts and intents of the heart. Our Sword is two-edged, for battling defensively and offensively. In addition to the “pulling down of strongholds,” it protects our faith.
God’s Word is a tremendous defense against sin. John shares, “I write unto you young men because you are strong because you have overcome the wicked one because His Word abides in you” (1 John 2:14). The power of God’s Word within my heart is the most excellent defense in this spiritual battle. God’s Word hidden in my heart.
Our Sword is a spiritual weapon given to us by the Holy Spirit. Paul said to the Corinthians that, “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but spiritual” (2 Corinthians 10:4). We are fighting against “spiritual wickedness” (Ephesians 6:12b), so we need a “spiritual sword.” The Sword is available. Are you using it as a weapon to win the victory that is already yours in Jesus Christ? It comes as no surprise that Satan’s most desperate trick is to cast doubt on the integrity and authenticity of the Word of God. His first attempt in the Garden was, “Yea, hath God said?” It was all downhill from there.
Never forget, you have the authority and the power through Jesus Christ to put the enemy to flight. “Resist the devil, and he shall flee from you. Draw nigh unto God, and he will draw nigh unto you” (James 4:8). Since this worked for Jesus when Satan was tempting Him, and He is telling us to do the same, let us use the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
SATAN’S OPPOSITION TO CHRIST
God looks to draw us to obedience through love. Satan seeks to entice us to disobey through lust.
Remember, Satan’s greatest weapon is man’s ignorance of God’s Word! The truth of the Word is the pill that everyone needs but cannot seem to swallow. One certainty is spiritual warfare is a daily battle. So, put on the spiritual armor of God and keep it on in preparation for eventual victory and great rejoicing.
Resisting conformity to the world and embracing the transformation that comes in Jesus Christ is His Purpose and Will for our new life. Resist our old life at all costs. Flee youthful lusts and resist the devil and he will flee.
Renewing your mind is the opposite of the world’s conformity. The battleground between conforming to the world and transformation is within the Spirit of the believer. Christians must think differently.
The problem with many believers is they live a life based on feelings, or only concerned about doing what is comfortable. This life by feeling and doing will never know the transforming power of God because they ignore the renewing of the mind. Feelings and doing are entirely insufficient for building a firm foundation. For Paul, this transformation and renewing of our minds take place as we behold the face of God, spending time in His glory.
Three actions to win spiritual victories:
(1) Recognize the source of the attack. Is this being the enemy at work attacking me? Having recognized it, then I can deal with it by,
(2) Resisting it in the name of Jesus. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
(3) Rejoice in the triumph of the Lord over the powers and the forces of darkness, and as you rejoice, you begin to feel victory in Christ.
The victory is ours only if the armor is on. Our confidence is in the Lord; so, never take your armor off!
What a powerful spiritual weapon prayer is. In this spiritual warfare, prayer is often the deciding factor in the spiritual battle. “Praying with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, watching with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints; and for pray for me, [Paul says,] that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel” (Ephesians 6:18-19).
Praying and seeking God should be a top priority in the believer’s life. It is mentioned over 500 times in the Scriptures. Everyone can exercise this fantastic resource. It is a ministry for many, and the most crucial activity afforded a believer.
Incredibly, we each have a priority connection directly into the Throne Room of the Universe! It is fantastic to realize that this astonishing resource is so available and so rarely used. It is unquestionably the most potent weapon we could have. And it is the deciding factor in spiritual warfare.
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you…” (James 4:7-8).
Dear God, give me the wisdom and strength to resist the devil and draw closer and closer to you, for you are my refuge and in you do I trust. AMEN