Spiritual warfare comes to every believer regardless of how we react; it is unavoidable. With believers dedicating so much effort to walking in love and living quiet, peaceable lives, some might wonder why battles find them. It seems to me that as long as we are living in this body, battles will come looking for us because we have an enemy that hates God’s Sovereignty and wars against anyone who belongs to His kingdom. This enemy wants to exalt himself above the authority of God. Because God promised to use everything in the believer’s life for good, the LORD uses warfare for our sanctification and as a testament to the sufficiency of God’s grace. It is written:
- And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing, I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2nd Corinthians 12:7 to 10)
The word grace in this passage is ‘cháris’ (Strong’s Definitions G5485). Strong’s describes ‘cháris’ as the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life of a believer including gratitude, favour, gift, and joy.
Listen to Part 1:
The Cosmic Warfare in the Kingdoms
Listen to Part 2:
The Armour – The Believer’s Tools
When God’s grace in the life of a submitted believer overcomes the attacks of the enemy, it demonstrates the power of God’s influence on a person. This is significant because it means that having intimate knowledge of the weightiness of our Saviour’s character based on the indwelling presence of His Holy Spirit is in itself more than sufficient strength to win any battle that is permitted in a believer’s life. Dwell on this statement for a while.
People may have difficulty believing the power of God’s illumination is more powerful than mental, emotional, and physical strongholds. The truth is, the light of God’s love is personal and it is an experience so it is transformative. Countless people have either been delivered from patterns of sin gradually or instantaneously through encountering God’s grace. His grace illuminates a heart to His love and goodness; and, at the same time reveals the need for forgiveness of sin. If someone is willing, this illumination brings an individual to receive God’s gift of salvation by accepting Jesus Christ as payment for their sin.
It is vital to know that the enemy can not attack a believer without permission. You can refer to the enemy’s complaint to God over the protection of Jobe in Jobe 1:10; and, Christ’s statements at His trial in John 19:11.
Any attack, trial, or test has a purpose that is for God’s glory and our good (Romans 8:28). In addition, it is good to distinguish between warfare and the struggles of innate human nature. Scripture states:
- My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. Then a few verses later it states: … Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. (James 1:2 to 4, and 13 to 17)
What is Warfare in the Life of a Believer?
Please read Ephesians 6, verses 10 to 24. The warfare described here is about an attack from spiritual forces on God’s rule or God’s kingdom targeting His authority and His people.
Scripturally, warfare comes from the term strateía which Strong’s G4754 associates with military service as mentioned in 2nd Corinthians 10:4:
- For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.
Other words used for military service can include an expedition or campaign (either defensive or offensive) and includes hardship and risk.
I would like to emphasize that our defensive and offensive warfare is to dismantle strongholds fighting against God’s authority; and, our weapons are not physical.
Our weapons are spiritually endowed with God’s strength. We will discuss the armour in the latter portion of this study.
Since it is unavoidable for us, we need to understand the war is already won; and as such, we do not need to be terrified by it. We simply need to understand our role and tools for the battles (or skirmishes) within the overall war. This is a matter of understanding our authority on earth as an ambassador (2nd Corinthians 5:20) of the only Sovereign King of the universe. For it is written:
- …what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:19 to 23)
Since Ephesians 6:12 tells us that we wrestle against “principalities, … powers, …the rulers of the darkness of this age, and… against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places”, we see that these powers must submit to Christ because His authority is higher. Furthermore, as ambassadors in the church, as the bride of Christ, and as His body, these forces have no power over us (provided we understand and use Christ’s authority).
The objective of warfare is to take territory by overcoming another. Since King Jesus has already won the war, our role as ambassadors is to stand our ground representing Him on the earth. Our ‘office’ is to share His messages with His authority; and, to do so in a way that reflects the character and intentions of the King. The office of the ambassador is never to give up territory; on the contrary, this role may involve extending the influence of the King.
We do this through God’s power which has been given to us because He has equipped us with the indwelling Spirit of God.
- And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28:18 to 20)
Have you noticed that God never gave humanity authority over the second heaven; the realm of spiritual forces of darkness? The LORD gave Moses a territory for the children of Israel which was physical and earthly (Joshua 1:3). When they followed the LORD’s direction to the areas given, the LORD gave them victory.
While there is warfare in the heavens, this warfare is not for human beings. Those extraterrestrial battles are fought by the hosts of heaven.
As ambassadors, wherever we are, the kingdom of God is at hand and so is His authority. Our influence with others can extend the kingdom. We are bringing the light which others may choose to also come into and then radiate. As the light grows, the darkness wanes. As disciples are strengthened, the brighter the light.
The ambassador proclaims the gospel as taught by Scripture and becomes a “sojourner” with other heavenly citizens on a pilgrimage to our homeland, the kingdom of God in heaven. While we are to love everyone, if we are moving in one direction, we cannot walk with those who are going to a different location. For it is written:
- Can two walk together unless they are agreed? (Amos 3:3)
- Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” (2nd Corinthians 6:14 to 16)
Loving others who do not choose Jesus as their personal Saviour is about the encounters we have while on assignment en route to the kingdom. The assignments should be (1) sowing the Word; (2) charitable works; and, (3) developing the character of Christ in each of us. The transaction of salvation is between the LORD and the sinner who willingly submits to the love and reign of Jesus Christ.
Our LORD never coerced, threatened, belittled, or intimidated anyone into salvation or forced compliance. He simply told the truth in love; He explained the reality of the need for salvation. When we talk about John 3:16, need to quote the full context of Scripture. This is what Christ said:
- “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (John 3:16 to 19)
The decision to accept or refuse His LORDSHIP determines which kingdom a person will live in eternally.
The Legitimacy of the Believer’s Authority
Since there are ongoing battles, how can one be assured the victory is won? How do we know we have the authority to stand our ground? If we are standing in the LORD’s legal authority, when was the war won? Scriptures states:
- For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. (Colossians 1:16)
- Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. (Colossians 2:15)
- “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Jesus conquered death, sin, and the grave and defeated the enemy of our souls when He died, rose again, and ascended to the right hand of the Father. (1st Corinthians 15:55 to 57). Praise God!
Let us take a look at the word “victory” Biblically which is the Greek word nikáō and is defined in Strong’s G3528 as to subdue. Literally and figuratively, it means to conquer, overcome, prevail, and get the victory. Here are a few Scriptures where this word is used.
- Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21)
- For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world, our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1st John 5:4 to 5)
- “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.” ‘ (Revelation 2:11)
- “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. (Revelation 21:7)
You see, for a believer, being victorious in battle has nothing to do with winning an argument against human voices, achieving a specific earthly goal, or even keeping your mortal life.
- “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. (Revelation 3:5)
- I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. (1st Corinthians 15:50 NIV)
There is only one exception to experiencing physical death which is solely conditional up the LORD’s catching believers away. But even then, this current physical form will be translated into a new body to be with God. As it is written:
- … We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies. Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: “Death is swallowed up in victory. (1st Corinthians 15:51 to 54 NLT)
If our blessed hope is to be with the LORD, then fear of death is not a defeating opposition for a believer; death has no power over us.
Make no doubt about it. The war is over the authority of God and His ownership over His creation. Sin gave the evil one a legal claim to hold human spirits in his kingdom of darkness, but Christ prevailed. Because He is loving and just, humanity has a role to play in taking hold of their inheritance in heaven. There is a real battle over the affections of our hearts and to win this battle, we need to ensure we love God above all else. If we love this world and our lives here more than we love the LORD and the future He has promised us, we are not worthy of Him and we will live defeated lives.
Being defeated in battle has nothing to do with the number of attacks amounting or the appearance of the enemy’s temporary gains.
- For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again, But the wicked shall fall by calamity. Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; Lest the LORD see it, and it displease Him, And He turn away His wrath from him. (Proverbs 24:16 to 18)
Please note this warning: Since the LORD does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11) and wants His children to love our neighbours as ourselves, our righteous LORD does not want us to take joy in seeing any human being’s demise. We may rejoice over victories but be sober-minded about God’s vengeance upon another. You see, but for the grace of God, this vengeance would be upon us.
We should never become what we oppose.
Getting back to being victorious, please consider what this is for the believer.
Victory is a spiritual triumph where no territory has been given up within the believer’s mind and freedom is maintained. It is where you are strengthened and assured of your position because your spirit remains unbroken.
This is not a matter of human capabilities; it is supernaturally endowed to ensure perseverance.
The shepherd boy David knew that to defeat the giant who was coming against the LORD and the LORD’s people, it would be the authority of God that would win the battle. Do you recall that David did not go to battle in Saul’s armour? King Saul’s armour did not fit him and David did not have any practice with it. David faced his giant based on his experience with his God.
David said to Goliath:
- “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. (1st Samuel 17:45)
The battle belongs to the LORD, and while He uses people to face the giants, He is the One who delivers the victory when we stand fast. It is written:
- “Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD’s, and He will give you into our hands.” (1st Samuel 17:47)
David knew he had to engage; he knew that he had no experience with the earthly military tools; and, even more significantly, he knew who his God was and he believed unwaveringly that God would act on his behalf. Scripture tells us to engage when an enemy force attacks “the faith”, or the laws of God. (Jude 1:3 and 2nd Timothy 2:3 to 5, 24 to 26)
Jesus taught that if we are to stand for righteousness, we are not to place our earthly obligations or the affairs of this life above the fight against evil. The response to the call must be first. We are to engage wherever God places us. Jesus said:
- … to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:59 to 62)
We know when God allows a fight into our lives and we will feel the call to follow Him to take a stand for righteousness. Not everyone has the same call at the same time.
The only way to lose a battle is to give up spiritual territory or to not fight the battle that you are called to fight. You can lose every physical thing or person in this life and remain a conqueror in your spirit and mind.
No one can take your God-given spirit from you, so don’t give it away; don’t compromise your soul for some temporary gain or relief.
It is written:
- Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (Ephesians 6:10 to 11)
- “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? (Luke 9:25)
The Description and Contrast of the Enemy
I used to try to avoid warfare like dodging a difficult confrontation. The truth is, being a believer means that adversity will find you even when you are not looking for it. If a person can escape all difficulty in this life, then they probably are not making disciples or being truthful with others about their beliefs.
Scripture tells us that we will have to wrestle over spiritual matters, and confirms for us that this fight is not with human beings, but with darkness. (Ephesians 6:12)
If a believer is walking righteously and engaged in sharing the love of the LORD, there must be opposition.
If believers shrug away from the battle because of the fear of man or the love of the things of this world, Scripture states they will be caught in a trap.
- The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe. Many seek the ruler’s favour, but justice for man comes from the LORD. An unjust man is an abomination to the righteous, and he who is upright in the way is an abomination to the wicked. (Proverbs 29:25 to 27)
Since we are wrestling with the forces of spiritual darkness, we need to understand the enemy by recognizing his qualities. Jesus said:
- The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. (John 10:10 to 13 NIV).
- You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44 NIV)
Scripture also warns that the enemy will corrupt people who ascribe themselves to be leaders within the church.
- But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them, bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed, these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping. (2nd Peter 2:1 to 3 NIV)
While I am saddened for these false teachers and those who follow them, I find it humorous when non-believers enlist the help of so-called “leaders” of the church to influence the true Shephard’s flock in a way that does not match Scripture. Jesus said:
- “Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” … “I am the good shepherd, and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. (John 10:5 and 14)
At the same time, I soberly recognize that I must keep His Word in my heart, take it seriously, and obey it so that I will not be deceived.
Now, let us consider the contrast to the enemy; our Saviour:
- And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. … There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also. (1st John 4:16, 18 to 21)
- Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. … And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1st Corinthians 13:1 to 7 and 13)
- For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2nd Timothy 1:7)
Praise God! Look around you. Can you see the difference?
What is the Battle Line?
This should be a separate study but I couldn’t avoid touching on it. The line is drawn between the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness. Every person who has ever lived will be found on one side of the battle line; it is not possible to be on both sides of the line at the same time. For the believer:
- He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13 to 14)
Two Kingdoms, Two Women, Two Judgments, Two Destinations
The kingdom of darkness currently includes those who cling to the ruler of this world and his principles.
It includes this earth and its atmosphere and the second heaven which is a boundary between the earth and God’s throne in the third heaven. Luke 4 describes how the ruler of this world had tried to tempt Christ while He physically walked on earth. Christ overcame Him by quoting Scripture from the Law or the Torah.
The fulfillment of Scriptural prophecy throughout history demonstrates that Jehovah God’s Word stands forever.
This is also another reason we are assured that God (in His timing) will bring an end to the enemy’s fight for our souls. (Revelation 11:15) Scripture states:
- “And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. (Daniel 2:44)
You see, in this dispensation of time, the church (or those called and chosen by God) is in enemy territory on the earth; waving the victorious banner of Christ to the enemy; the banner identifies where others can find refuge in the kingdom of light. Praise God!
We are God’s evidence that His grace is sufficient to change a person; evidence that faith in the resurrection of Christ conquers the power of sin; evidence the enemy has no power over God’s love, righteousness, and goodness.
It says in Ephesians 3 verses 10 and 11:
- to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord,
There are two women making war as depicted in Revelation 19:
- There is the great harlot who corrupts the earth with immorality (she is busy being engaged with the things of this world, the world’s doctrines, and false gods). She gets her power and ideas from the forces of darkness and she despises the ways of the LORD.
The other woman is the bride of Christ who makes herself ready for her union with God through devotion to God’s ways and His heart.
- She completes the work that was predestined for her to do. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)
The battle may have the appearance of intensity, but in reality, when the bride of Christ remembers that the powers, principalities, and rulers of darkness were created by Christ, the bride of Christ can celebrate when being vigilant.
We know that battle is just the sound of a created roaring lion seeking someone to destroy (1st Peter 5:8 to 9).
It is written:
- … submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
Because we are positionally seated with Christ in the heavens, we have nothing to fear.
Have you ever contemplated that the archangel Michael and his angels are the ones that evict the enemy forces out of heaven? How much more powerful is the Creator? Just think about this:
- And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. (Revelation 12:7 to 10)
At the end of this age, there will be two main judgments. Revelation 20:11 to 15 describes the judgment of the harlot. The bride’s judgment is described this way:
- For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. (1st Corinthians 3:11 to 17)
Thank God that He will purify and refine my heart purging me from the dross leaving only that which is precious to Him. He paid the penalty of my sin by His death on the cross; He defeated the power of sin rising victoriously from the dead, and one day He will deliver me from the presence of sin. I thank the LORD and willingly bow my knees now and forever. Do you?
Let us move on to the part you have been waiting for which is the practical application of the battle tools.
What are the Weapons of the Believer’s Warfare?
God has given every believer tools for the battle, and the believer has a “duty” to suit up. Suiting up means that the armour is personally yours and fits you today. Remember, God will not place you in a battle you cannot win (1st Corinthians 10:13).
No believer can stand firm or immovable against the schemes of the devil unless they are fully fitted with all of the God-provided armour.
This tells me that if any one of the tools is missing, there is a possibility that a saved and sealed believer will be rendered defeated or useless in a specific battle. While human beings are created in the image of God, we (in of ourselves) are less powerful than the angels (Psalm 8:4; Jude 1:9).
We are more than conquerors through and in Christ (Romans 8:37 and Galatians 2:20); it is about the authority in His name, His Word, and His blood. He is the one that fights for us and we stand in agreement with His Word.
- even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:5 to 8)
- But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. (1st Corinthians 6:17)
The First Tool is the Belt (To Stand)
Facts and truth are not the same things. Facts change based on circumstances but the truth remains consistent. Many people possess much knowledge or many facts but remain in the dark about the truth. What are the things that can never be changed?
- “For I am the LORD, I do not change… (Malachi 3:6)
- “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? (Numbers 23:19)
- Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)
Our LORD told us to gird our waist with truth or righteousness in the same manner His waist was girded. This is to fasten to ourselves truth that will not be shaken off despite the turbulent activity of life. On this fastened belt, everything else hangs (Luke 12:35 to 36). Speaking of Jesus, it is written:
- Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, And faithfulness the belt of His waist. (Isaiah 11:5)
- Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6)
When the lies attack the believer, we counter him with the truth. He is an accuser and a liar and the truth is not in him. So whatever evil assault comes, find the Scripture that addresses the lie and stand firm on that truth. One of his favourite lies is that believers’ sins are not forgiven which frequently renders the believer from moving forward with an assignment. Or perhaps the enemy attacks your worth and giftings. Here is what Scripture states:
- In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:11 to 14)
- the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:18 to 23)
Until we truly know that he cannot defeat us, we may shrink back and give him territory. Have you entered into a relationship with God through the only door (Jesus Christ)? If you have, you are joined to Christ and are His body. As His body, we have authority over the attacks of the enemy in the name of Jesus because of the blood of Jesus. You are His bride and His ambassador.
Since the enemy does not want you to praise God, he will stop if your response is always the worship of God. If the accusation comes, remind him what is written and then give God glory!
The Second Tool is the Breastplate of Righteousness (To Stand)
This tool you must put on to guard your heart. Your heart must be protected from pride and self-righteousness. It must also be protected against offenses whether inflicted by others or yourself as a result of the enemy’s whispers. Just as Christ forgave you, you must walk in love, forgiveness, and forbid yourself from accepting condemnation and from laying it on another. The only Righteous Judge will deal with those who come against you. Simply have faith in Him, His righteousness, and His justice.
But also remember, if it were not for the grace of our LORD, we would all be condemned because all of our righteousness is as of filthy rags. Remember this righteousness only comes after entering by the door of salvation, and repenting at the altar of sacrifice. Scripture states:
- I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD; I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only. (Psalm 71:16)
- Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2nd Corinthians 5:17)
- Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, (Ephesians 1:3 to 4)
- There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1)
- For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2nd Corinthians 5:21)
- No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is from Me,” Says the LORD. (Isaiah 54:17)
- For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17)
The Third Tool is the Gospel of Peace (To Stand)
This is the gospel of peace that both saves us and maintains unity within the body of Christ. Let us expand on these two functions of this gospel.
When we are focused on the gospel, our eyes are not fixated on the things of this earth. When a believer is preoccupied with taking care of personal affairs or seeking to satisfy their desires, then they are not standing in the authority of the LORD, they are losing territory.
They may find themselves now battling the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. This is how the enemy tempted and deceived mankind originally, and how he tried to cause Jesus to give up His authority. Of course, Jesus stood His ground, and after this test, He started to preach the kingdom of God. (Luke 4, and Matthew 4)
Believers who are not ready to share (nor actively trying to share) the news of Christ’s birth, death, resurrection, and ascension are not sharing true love. This may seem harsh to say, but if you think about it, is it love to withhold life-saving news from someone who is about to die? People can dismiss the gospel (1st Corinthians 15:1 to 11), but for a believer to shrink back from sharing the reason for our hope because of the fear of man, is actually a trap for that believer.
If we can not be bold about our beliefs, how can we stand against difficult forces and in more challenging times?
I have recently spent a great deal of time thinking about what I would say to my Saviour when He asks me about my faithfulness to His command to make disciples. I am praying for increased courage, for wisdom and to be led by the Holy Spirit in my interactions with the lost. He is faithful AND He requires us to act. Wash in the Word of God so that you can be clean; reflect the cleansing Word with others; spend time at the laver.
- And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15)
- Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. (2nd Corinthians 5:18 to 20)
Another aspect of the gospel of peace includes the unity of the Spirit. This unity of the Spirit is what keeps our peace with God, and peace with other believers. There are times when the enemy tries to make an advance on God’s kingdom by causing in-fighting; and, he usually starts it by the weapons of accusation, division, and offense. But praise God, if we focus on sharing the gospel of peace with each other, the Holy Spirit will bring conviction where it is needed to allow for repentance and forgiveness (Colossians 3:12 to 17). He will keep us knit together.
- For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, … And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. (Ephesians 2:14 to 15 and 17)
- I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:1 to 3)
The Fourth Tool is the Shield of Faith (To Defend)
Doubt can cause you to question what you believe, but fear is the disabler of faith. Even if a believer has doubts about their level of faith, belief in our LORD and His character is a shield when lifted up to protect your heart from the fiery darts or threats of the enemy. As it is written:
- “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. (Revelation 12:11)
‘Pístis’ is the Greek word for faith in Hebrews 11:1. Strong’s G4102 states that faith is the confidence and moral conviction of the truthfulness of God; especially reliance upon Christ for salvation. Words used to describe this faith include assurance, belief, and fidelity.
- Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)
In Ephesians 6:16 we learn that faith quenches all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
When speaking words of faith and drawing on past experiences where God has shown Himself faithful, the indwelling Holy Spirit extinguishes the burning effects of fear; He washes over fear with His love and His presence. His living waters refresh and restore. The attack is spiritual and cannot affect a believer unless the believer drops their shield which causes the believer to react to circumstances based on fear; perhaps give up ground. It is giving up the ground that causes harm.
Raising the shield is intentionally bringing to mind the truth of God’s character and what that means to the situation at hand. It results in worship.
It is to move behind the outer court curtains and enter into the holy place, the secret place where you are shielded by His refuge (Psalm 91).
- When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. (Isaiah 43:2)
- “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7:38 to 39)
Matthew 8 provides a great example of how believing in the LORD’s authority can result in faith that yields miracles. It speaks about a centurion’s request for Jesus to heal his servant. Starting at verse 8 it says:
- The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. “For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” … Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour.
Faith is received through meditation on God’s Word and it gains in strength through exercise.
Spiritual muscles are gained by experience; encountering the battle and staying your ground by using Scripture to shield the darts. If you know what is true, your enemy can not use lies to get you to move.
The Fifth Tool is the Helmet of Salvation (To Defend)
To protect the mind the LORD has given us His Word and His Spirit. The imagination is a powerful tool that God has given us to help us envision, create, and problem solve. If the enemy is not able to move you off of your ground, he may try to create a stronghold within you by hurling whispers of deception and illusions.
The helmet of salvation is protection for your mind. When a believer’s mind focuses on who Jesus is, on what He did for us by giving up His life for us when we did not deserve it, when we understand it is only by grace through faith that we are saved, you want to be with the One who knows you so completely yet loves you the most. Putting on the helmet of salvation is placing into your mind the hope of eternity with the source of love which helps you to deny anything that would risk that future. Scripture states it this way:
- For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, (Titus 2:11 to 13).
Since the imagination is so powerful, we need to test our thoughts to see where they are originating from; and, whether it is beneficial to continue to entertain them. As the enemy’s schemes involve engaging your imagination, we use Scripture (the logos or written Word) to test our thoughts.
- 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. (Philippians 4:8).
- For the word of God (or logos) is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
You see, there are plenty of thoughts that can be fun, thrilling, or full of fantasy that tickles our flesh and affections, but if they are not true, lovely, or praiseworthy, we are probably unknowingly allowing seeds of malcontent, revenge, jealousy, strife or slander to be planted in our hearts. Scripture tells us that because of Jesus Christ, we are one with God through the Holy Spirit, and as such, we have the mind of Christ. Therefore, we must:
- cast down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, (2nd Corinthians 10:5)
- Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
- But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ. (1st Corinthians 2:15 to 16)
Putting on the helmet of salvation is to protect your mind by having communion with Him, by eating from the bread of His presence at the table of shewbread.
The Sixth Tool is the Sword of the Spirit (To Defend and Take Ground)
The Sword of the Spirit is spoken Scripture. It is such a powerful defensive and offensive tool. Just think about the fact that our entire world was created by it. Let us take a look at the Greek in Ephesians 6:17 concerning the Word of God.
Strong’s G4487 is ‘rhema’ which is an utterance of a matter or topic (especially of narration, command, or dispute).
It is a spoken command or rebuke and when uttered by the Most-High, Creator, and Sovereign LORD, this declaration is God’s mind made into words that has His authority and power and is thereby done as stated.
When believers wield the sword of the Spirit, they are effectively speaking living Scripture into a situation through the eyes of understanding and by the power of the Holy Spirit. They are at the lampstand in the holy place and their minds’ eyes are seeing things the way God sees them.
The following Scripture uses the word ‘rhema’:
- “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. (John 6:63)
- “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. (John 15:7)
- So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)
- By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. (Hebrews 11:3)
- But the word of the LORD endures forever.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you. (1st Peter 1:25)
The Seventh Tool is Prayer (To Persevere and Overcome)
Ephesians 6:18 states that we should be:
- praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.
Prayer is aligning our spirits with our Father, the Creator of the universe, the One who knows everything, the One who is ever-present and knows the motivation and end of every soul.
Jesus said if His words abide in us, we can ask whatever we want and it will be done. Why?
Because we will be asking Christ’s words. Prayer must be the will of the Father and must be done in faith. God is not obliged to answer the prayer of an unbeliever although He may choose to do so. He has promised to answer the believer who is abiding in Christ who asks according to His will. This is beautifully laid out for us in John 15.
How can one align yourself with God if you do not believe it is possible? The good news is, that if someone has the desire to pray, that desire demonstrates some level of faith.
The LORD invites us to cry out to Him just as the Psalmists did. There was a whole range of emotion in the Psalms and we know that God did not respond negatively. In fact, our LORD preserved these Scriptures for our benefit. God already knows our hearts before we express them to Him.
You see, the act of pouring out your heart to Him is to bring our hearts back into harmony with His heart.
When people pray, it is usually because there is a desire, need, problem, or even a crisis. God’s ways are higher than ours and His wisdom solves problems in a way that is the best outcome for God’s plan; and, His answer places the ambassador into the right position to carry out their role.
The beautiful thing about prayer is that God wants to hear from us because He longs to have a relationship with His children. Scripture provides illustrations about humble prayers for God’s will and draws allusions to a sweet-smelling fragrance to Him, like a sacrifice at the altar of incense (John 12:3, 2nd Corinthians 2:14 to 15, Revelation 8:3 to 4, Luke 1:11). So He patiently listens, He soothes us by His Spirit, He strengthens us, and then He matures us. As we continue to pray, our minds, wills, and emotions become eager to see God’s will done because we know He is love, He is the highest good, and He knows better than us.
While there are some short, urgent prayers where we cry out, “Help Jesus”, this is not our normal. When we keep our armour on, we are living in a place where we are standing in a place of victory and authority.
We are watchful and have the understanding that there is an enemy and that many people are negatively influenced by him. Jesus said:
- “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:36)
Imagine the Christ (very God) prayed to the Father, “not my will, but Thine be done”. Elsewhere in Scripture it states:
- So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him: “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.” … who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, (Hebrews 5:5, and 7 to 9)
As ambassadors, we approach our King humbly and with confidence asking for God’s will to be done, for forgiveness for ourselves and others, in a spirit of love. We ask for His continued preservation and protection for ourselves, and for others. We also enjoy the incredible privilege of having this audience with our King. You see, if we have the mind of Christ, and are representing the King, our prayers express worship as well as care for anything He desires. Jesus gave us a pattern to pray in Matthew 6.
Yes, family of God, we are in a spiritual battle in a war that has already been won; we are merely traversing the narrow road home. On the way, we hold our position as ambassadors, looking for others who want directions to the kingdom. The enemy knows he has lost, and he is angry so he wants to take others with him as an assault on God’s heart. Our King has given us everything we need for life and Godliness so we stand in the truth, ready to defend, and ready to snatch from the fire anyone willing.
Putting on the armour of God helps the believer to move through the pattern of the tabernacle and brings us to the entrance of the holy of holies. This is an invitation to bow in worship at the ark of the covenant (at the mercy seat); to gaze into the beauty of the One who shed His blood to make atonement for our sin (the One we have a covenant union with). He made the way for us to approach His throne and sit with Him in His glory above all powers; to have our spirits stand victorious as a testament to His goodness by filling us with His Spirit who helps us to refrain from giving the enemy any ground. What grace!
I love how Ephesians 6 ends:
- Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen. (Ephesians 6:24)
For it is only by God’s grace that we are saved and able to engage; it is His grace that will get us home. And it is the song He has given us that produces the joy that is our strength, the grace that is sufficient in weakness.
- The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)
For those who have not received God’s gift of Jesus Christ for salvation, if you feel a nudge to believe, you should evaluate the Scripture for yourself. Please visit DESIRINGFRUITFULNESS.CA/CHOICES. There you can find 4 SIMPLE STEPS or concepts to help you ask the LORD to bring you into right standing with Him. The steps are designed to help you know why a prayer of repentance is necessary. There are no “specific words” to pray, but there is a process to coming to faith.