Ephesians 6:10-11 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can make your stand against the devil’s schemes.”
Armor is protective clothing with the ability to deflect or absorb the impact of projectiles or other weapons that may be used against its wearer.
You probably wouldn’t wear armour unless you suspected you were under threat of attack or you had plans to go into battle. Common armour used today would be helmets or bullet proof vests.
It’s interesting the ways the Bible uses metaphors such as armour to help illustrate the spiritual state of our position. The very suggestion to put on the armour is an indication of a spiritual threat. The fact that there is a threat is one that many have already overlooked. It seems to me that if there is a threat this means there is an enemy, so it would do us well to understand who our enemy is and the tactics this enemy uses in battle. Once we have identified the nature of the threat, we can then understand why it is necessary to be prepared.
The Enemy Threat
1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”
Peter makes it quite clear who is the enemy of God’s people. Satan, also known as the devil is referred to as diablos in the greek. His very name means slanderer or false accuser who unjustly criticizes to hurt (malign) and condemns to sever our relationship with God. Now, to be perfectly clear, Satan is a created being. He does not possess the attributes of God so he is not omniscient(all knowing), omnipresent(everywhere at once), he is not all powerful(omnipotent), and he doesn’t have control over anything that is under God’s jurisdiction. Satan had a beginning and he will have an end.
When we see spiritual evil being exhibited around the world, this isn’t satan in all places at once, these are evil spirits that are under the direction of satan as their leader. Someone may exclaim “Satan made me do it”, or “They are possessed by Satan”, these are generalized statements attributing blame to a single individual but is not indicative of his direct action.
Because Satan as well as all of the demonic forces that reside under his direction are created beings, they are limited in their capacity to injure, influence, and exert power. Secondly, since we have millions of examples of Satanic influence in people’s lives throughout history, we can see the patterns, techniques, and tactics that he employs.
Matthew 4:1 “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”
Questions like, why does Satan want to ‘tempt’? What is he ‘tempting’ us to do?, and What does he use to ‘tempt’ us with? have been asked for years. The answers to these questions are found in God’s Word.
* Satan is our adversary, or our opponent. Whatever victory we are trying to win, whether it is a race or a battle, he and his forces are the ones we are battling against.
1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
* Satan’s methods of temptation are meant to catre to our human nature. Whether it is a desire for knowledge, strength, power, or anything that pertains to the flesh, he uses our weaknesses to draw us into a reliance on things that pertain to the flesh.
Matthew 6:13 “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
* Satan takes peoples failures and then uses them to create shame. If you have failed, he reminds you of your failure. He will continue to remind you even if you have changed or not failed in that area for years.
Psalm 37:32-33 “The wicked watches the righteous,
And seeks to slay him.
The Lord will not leave him in his hand,
Nor condemn him when he is judged.”
* Satan accuses you before the Father. Just in case God might show us mercy or grace, Satan tries to remind Him that we are under judgement.
Revelation 12:10 “And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.”
If you were in a court of law and were the defendant before the judge, Satan would be the plaintiff bringing accusations against you.
Ephesians 6:14-17 “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness arrayed, and with your feet fitted with the readiness of 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. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
To prepare ourselves from the onslaught of the enemy and as preparation for an offensive, we have to gird ourselves with spiritual armour. This begs the question….where do we get the armour and who supplies it?
Those questions can be answered with one proclamation.
Romans 13:14 “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.”
Our supplier of spiritual armour is Jesus. The armour itself is not only supplied by Jesus, it embodies His presence in us. So then, how does Jesus go about supplying us with His armour?
Galatians 3:27 “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”
To be baptized into Christ is to be immersed into His presence through salvation. The more you walk with Him, the more you become like Him. The more you become like Christ, the more you exhibit His strength and the qualities of His power.
Colossians 3:12 “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with hearts of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”
These spiritual clothes are attributes of the Spirit of Christ. To take on these qualities means we have to put off this world and put on Christ. The ways of the world are elements of Satan’s schemes to weaken you and make you vulnerable to attack. If you seek after the elements of the world, you have to put off the elements of Christ, there is no in between. You can’t say you are in the army of the Lord and likewise live in the camp of the enemy. We have to stand firm on the elementary teachings of God’s Word and incorporate them into all that we are. We must become separate from this world…in it, but not of it.
1 John 2:16 “For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not from the Father but from the world.”
All that the enemy represents is all that is ugly in this world. The world will encourage you to pursue that which it condemns. Sound familiar? Satan will tempt you toward lust, pride, or some other fleshly indulgence, only to turn and accuse you of failure.
We must prepare ourselves for these attacks, and God has given us the means to do so.
Weapons of Warfare
Belt of Truth; Truth is administered by girding your loins or waist. To gird is to prepare oneself for something difficult or challenging. As you prepare for a situation, plan on letting Truth be the emblem of your approach. This character trait is a moral virtue that will lead your way, it will protect you from accusation, and it will be the standard by which you live. Regardless of what you think it will entail, Truth should dominate your thoughts with each discourse. It can be difficult to tell the Truth but know that it is the Lord leading you through the haze of worldly confusion. John 8:31-32 “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Breastplate of Righteousness. The breastplate protects the heart. Where the heart is vulnerable is in the region of sin. Sin is the antithesis of righteousness. By following God’s moral law, you submit to His righteousness and walk according to His way. Righteousness as it pertains to God is His perfection. You can only be perfected by Jesus Christ and it is by accepting His sacrifice for sin that you can be washed white as snow and made perfect before the Father. If you are not a follower of Christ, you cannot attain righteousness, it is impossible through the law and therefore your heart will be exposed to attack. As you enter into battle, let God’s standard of goodness lead your way. Study the 10 commandments, post them on your gate post or doorway if you have to, make sure they are etched into your pattern of living. Proverbs 4:23 “Guard your heart with all diligence, for from it flow springs of life.”
Feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel. The Gospel is simply the good news. The good news is to know that though we were dead in our trespasses and sins, Jesus has paid the redemption price and we have been offered freedom from death. When we go, we go forth as ambassadors of the King. You must know the King’s edicts and be able to report His declarations. It’s important you express His message accurately and boldly for those who hear need to know it’s Truth. It is this gospel that brings light to the nations and declares freedom to the prisoners. Isaiah 52:7 “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” There are so many in chains, many that are bound by sin…hopeless and lost. You have the hope they seek.
Shield of Faith. Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the assurance of what we hope for and the certainty of what we do not see.” What do we hope for?—Salvation–Jesus–Heaven. We cannot see spiritual things with the flesh, we have to trust and see with spiritual eyes. This isn’t blind faith, it is reasonable trust in God whom we can know and experience daily. The more we abide in Him, the more we see the attributes of His presence in our lives and in others. Our strength is in knowing that we are in His hands and regardless of what happens to our bodies, we are kept in Him. When the enemy fires at us, it is our assurance in Christ that sustains us—He is our shield. Jesus is the one who defends us against the arguments of the accuser. We are not condemned, accusations that are false are just lies that are meant to weaken us. We can trust God’s promises…they always remain true. It is likewise our security in Christ that extinguishes all threat of death…in Christ is life and hope.
Helmet of Salvation. Salvation is simply deliverance. Jesus has delivered us from eternal damnation of sin. The consequences of sin leave a mortal wound that this world cannot close. Our thinking, which includes our conscious understanding of where life truly resides is completely transformed upon salvation. A head wound is often fatal and yet as long as the warrior for Christ is protected, the enemy cannot inflict us with anything of real substance. The question of whether you can remove this salvation is one that is highly debated. You cannot save yourself, this helmet is not one that you can acquire on your own….it is given to you. If the King grants salvation, only He can remove it. I see no where in scripture that says He removes His seal of divine ownership. Revelation 3:5 “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.”
The Sword of the Spirit. The Spirit of God uses the Word of God for power in our lives. If we don’t embrace this weapon or learn to wield it accordingly, we will have very little by which to attack the enemy or fight back. Many of the items of this armour are typically used in defense, the sword is used in offense. When we use this sword, we can expect it to offend people. It shouldn’t come as a surprise when the world is repulsed by the use of God’s Word. We should not shirk from using it freely in countering all the attacks of the enemy. We can use it for defense, then we can use it to cut down the false arguments and wisdom of this world. 2 Corinthians 10:5 “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,“
Staying ready means being prepared for every attack. We can’t always anticipate where the enemy will approach from but we can know that whatever he throws at us, we will be prepared for it.
As a final reminder…being equipped for spiritual warfare is as simple as putting on Jesus. Every aspect of God’s armor is an aspect of God’s deliverance, His strength supplied, and is a reflection of His love for you. He will lead you into the battle He wants you to fight, He will show you when it’s time to raise the defenses because He is our commander in chief.
If you take your battle orders from Christ you can be sure He will supply you as you go.