It seems that lately there is a great deal of spiritual warfare going on. It always exists, but there are times when it rears its ugly head more than others. Every week or so there is a new “problem” that arises. Jason and I are experiencing it in our own lives, but I also see it happening in some of our friend’s lives too. They have been asking for prayer as they are struggling with battles of their own. So, I wanted to address this issue and share some Scripture that will hopefully give comfort to those of you who may be on the front lines fighting the enemy. I know they have been giving me solace as of late.
Satan seems to bring up these fires, as some call them, as a distraction. He wants to get our minds off the real battle, which is fighting for souls; sharing the Gospel with everyone. He also seems to bring about these issues during times when we are tired both physically and spiritually. When you are in the trenches for the Lord, Satan takes notice, and though we require sleep, he does not. We can not work 24/7 of course, but we have to stay consistent in order to be victorious.
Ephesians 6:11-18 says, “Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. Stand therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s Word. With every prayer and request, pray at all times in the Spirit, and stay alert in this, with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.”
This is such a comforting passage for me. It is certain that spiritual battles will come our way. Here, we are told how to prepare and face them. I love that God reminds us that we need protection in the fight. We require armor for the war. I also like it that Paul points out our enemy. Satan is the opponent. Though, he often tries to make it seem like our neighbor, our church, our spouse, our children, or another person is the one we should be waging war against. He is the culprit, and we can not be distracted by his lies or use of others. We have to put on the full armor of God in order to be prepared to take a stand. This is so striking to me. Sometimes I think we rush into a battle with our mouths blaring against someone who is not the opponent. We are defending ourselves, but we are not taking a stand. The appropriate way to battle spiritual warfare is to note our enemy, put on our armor, and take a stand for Christ in the war that wages for the souls of our families and our communities.
What is this armor? God does not leave us in the dark. He lays it out clearly. Verses 14-17 describe what we should wear. We need to be equipped with the truth. The truth is the Gospel; God’s Word, and Scripture says that the truth will set us free (John 8:32). I find it interesting that the truth is our belt. What does a belt do? It holds things up and keeps them in place. The truth gives us a firm foundation and does not allow us to be swayed in other directions. It keeps our walk with Christ on track. We are to have righteousness on our chests. What is in our chest? Our hearts. It is so important for our hearts to be right with the Lord; especially when battling Satan. He knows our weaknesses and uses them so effectively. We have to guard our hearts and cover them with the righteousness. We have to live lives of purity in order to withstand his schemes. We are to have sandals of the Gospel on our feet. We are to be going. We are to take this message of hope to the nations. Shoes are no good if you never go any where. The Gospel has a purpose, and that purpose is to be carried out in us. We are to go and share with everyone. In every situation we are to have our shield of faith. Faith is so important because it grounds us. We firmly believe in something that can not be seen or physically touched. We know it in our hearts to be true. That faith must be unwavering. A strong faith quenches the darts of Satan. No matter the turmoil he throws our way, our faith can not be shaken because we know that God is bigger and in control. We have to have the helmet of salvation. If we do not have a personal relationship with Christ, we will never we able to stand against Satan because he already has our soul. We have to have Christ in us to fight for us. Finally, Scripture tells us to take the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s Word. When we have hidden Scripture in our hearts, when we know it in our minds, when we can say it and proclaim it over situations in our lives, it is a powerful weapon. It becomes a sword that cuts and pierces the darkness. It slashes away at the enemy. It is an offensive weapon. We are not shying away from the battle. No, we are charging Hell with the greatest weapon we have: God’s Word. Satan can not stand under the preaching of the truth. Remember when Jesus was in the wilderness? How did He fight Satan? How did He respond to the enemy’s half truths? He battled him with the Word, and He was victorious! (Luke 4:1-13)
I find it so intriguing how Paul finishes. He says to pray all the time in the Holy Spirit. He tells us to stay alert in praying and to lift up all the saints. Prayer is key. We have to be in tune with the Holy Spirit if we expect to win in spiritual warfare. We have to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), and we have to remember to lift up those struggling in our prayers. Through prayer, the Holy Spirit strengthens us and guides us. Through prayer, lives are changed.
God has not abandoned us. He promises to never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), and He has left us the comforter; the Holy Spirit (John 14:16). He has given us His Word which instructs us on everything including how to be in the battle and on the front lines. I want to leave you with one more passage of Scripture that encourages me. Matthew 5:11-12 says, “Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of Me. Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” When Satan uses people to attack us, we are to take joy because we are suffering for the cause of Christ. We should be glad because if we were not working for the Lord, Satan would leave us alone. Be encouraged that the persecution you are experiencing will be rewarded by your heavenly Father. God takes notice, and He is there. I hope you will be lifted up by the Words of our Lord. If you are going through a time of spiritual warfare, remember who your fighting, put on your armor, and pray. God is with you in the trenches. Blessings to you this week!