What are the Weapons of the Believer’s Warfare?
God has given every believer tools for the battles they face, 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). To learn about this overall war between the two kingdoms, please refer to the blog called One War: Two Kingdoms, Two Women which is part one of this study.
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)
Please read Ephesians 6:10-24 as we will review this topically using cross-references.
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?
- “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 (Isaiah 54:17). 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 (Romans 8:1 and John 10:9) 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)
- 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)
- 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)
The Third Tool is the Gospel of Peace (To Stand)
This is the gospel of peace that: (1) saves us; and, (2) 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 (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. Who is Christ to you? What does your relationship testify to? 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 believe 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.
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 ended my prior blog with this ending and I think this is key to grasp when standing firm in the battles of life. Ephesians 6 ends with:
- 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)
If you have not placed your faith in Jesus Christ as your personal Redeemer and you sense a tugging at your heart, it’s probably the Holy Spirit beckoning you to meet Him. You can use your own words to tell the LORD you believe and ask Him to fill your heart with the knowledge of Him and the power to choose freedom over sin.
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