Equipping ourselves with the full armor of God
As Christians, we are at war every single day—not in a physical battle but a spiritual one. In Ephesians 6, the Apostle Paul tells us that all believers are engaged in active combat against unseen evil forces that are the source of so many of the problems we see in our world today and experience in our own personal lives. When we become a follower of Christ, Satan and his demonic forces wage a battle against us and relentlessly search for weaknesses in our walk with God. They try to attack us with lies and temptations to cause us to stumble and falter in our faith.
While we certainly shouldn’t underestimate the power and reality of these evil powers and principalities, we need not fear Satan or approach spiritual warfare with a sense of defeat or uncertainty. Jesus, our Commanding Officer, defeated Satan at the cross and in doing so, he holds the keys of death and Hades and the power of sin no longer has any power over us. This doesn’t mean to say that the enemy doesn’t attempt to stir up trouble in our life. To our defense, God has fully equipped us with six pieces of spiritual armor that are our strategies for victory against any trial or temptation we may face.
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from 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. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should."
The Belt of Truth – Satan is the author of lies and deception and in order to fight him, you will need to wrap yourself in the truth of God’s Word. Make it a daily habit to read and study the Bible and dedicate yourself to memorizing and internalizing Scripture.
The Breastplate of Righteousness – Remember to guard your heart, always! Satan will often try to play on our emotions, self worth and trust in God and will try to convince us of being guilty and unworthy of God’s love and grace. Protect your heart with the breastplate of righteousness and commit yourself to a life of righteousness by having a heart that continually seeks after God.
The Shoes of the Gospel of Peace – Wherever you go, ensure that you’re ready to share the good news of the Gospel. Use every circumstance—even a negative one—as an opportunity for ministry or to share your testimony. By sharing the life-changing news of the Gospel of Peace, you will recruit members into the army of God.
The Shield of Faith – The enemy will shoot fiery darts of insults, negative thoughts or temptations that are meant to cause hurt and suffering. Anticipate these shots and stand in your unwavering faith in God, which will act as a shield that cannot be penetrated.
The Helmet of Salvation – The mind is its own battlefield and we must be vigilant about what knowledge and thoughts consume it. When we regularly set our minds on the salvation we have in Christ, we remain focused on the hope we have as followers of Christ and God’s promise of eternal life. When this is our focus, we can easily remember that our trials—no matter how tough--are brief and that one day, Satan will be permanently cast into Hell and all our earthly troubles will be a distant memory as we spend eternity with our Saviour. When we focus on our salvation, we can overcome our current struggles without being overcome by them.
The Sword of the Spirit – Pick up your sword—the Holy Bible. While the other pieces of the believer’s spiritual armor are defensive in nature, the Sword of the Spirit is offensive. God’s Word is sharper than any two-edged sword and has the incredible power to defeat evil. When Jesus was tempted three times by Satan in the wilderness, Jesus quoted Scripture, which caused Satan to flee. The Word of God is the truth and even Satan cannot argue against it. Make sure you’re familiar with God’s Word and use it to speak against any lies Satan tries to throw at you.
While not a physical part of the armor of God, prayer and supplication to God is our ultimate war tactic. Satan cannot stop us from praying nor can he stop God from answering our prayers and so when we pray regularly and with perseverance--even when it doesn’t seem like our prayers are being answered—it has real power in the spiritual realm. We see confirmation of this in the Book of Daniel when a prophetic message from Heaven is delayed due to spiritual warfare but Daniel’s fervent prayers allowed for the message to be delivered. Pray often and pray with perseverance!
Putting on the full armor of God is not only important, but it’s absolutely necessary to be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. As Satan roams the earth like a roaring lion seeking those he can devour, he preys on Christians who are weakened by not wearing their full armor and therefore can be susceptible to his attacks. Just like you wouldn’t leave your house if you were half-dressed, you shouldn’t start your day without putting on the full armor of God. Satan will have difficulty going up against someone who trusts the Word of the Lord, lives a righteous lifestyle, has a zeal for sharing the Gospel, daily reminds themselves of their salvation and eternal hope, and who has God’s Word written in their heart and mind. Every morning, remember to suit up for battle and dress for spiritual success!
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