Spiritual Warfare: It used to scare me at first whenever a SECURITY ALERT came through on my email when we lived in Lagos, Nigeria. These alerts were sent out from either my husband’s company or the U.S. Consulate warning us of possible danger. But, the more alerts I received, the less scared I became. I got used to them as just part of life and didn’t put much weight into them.
Some of these security alerts consisted of the following warnings.
- An increasing trend is hijackers trailing unsuspecting victims. Some are robbed and some are unfortunately held for ransom;
- Criminals side brush unsuspecting vehicles or hit them from behind to force drivers to stop, after which they are robbed or kidnapped;
- Be extremely vigilant and develop a situational awareness that may enable you to avoid victimization;
- Avoid night time traveling;
- Keep a low profile and dress unassumingly;
- Be alert at all times – don’t ignore any suspicious circumstances.
The last alert is the most general alert and probably the most important alert as it involves how we were to live every day of our lives in the country we were living in at the time.
As I pondered these alerts, I thought about how similar these alerts are to a Biblical alert we read about in the Scriptures.
Paul, the author of Ephesians, urges us to put on the full spiritual armor of God. Paul wants us to understand that we can fight the fiery darts of Satan who is very active in trying to trip us up and lead us away from our trust and dependence on God.
We may not live in a country with evils such as ISIS, suicide bombers, extremists, and beheadings. However, we are all surrounded by the wiles of the devil. Satan might be attacking us in the form our idols, our fleshly desires, a false gospel, physical afflictions, selfishness, friendships with the world, addictions, media, or worldly wisdom – just to name a few. We need to recognize the methods Satan uses to attack us and stand firm against his schemes. No one has given us a more wise strategy for living than God.
In Ephesians 6:10-17, the apostle Paul says to put on the whole armor of God:
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:10-17 ESV).
Let’s take a look at the individual pieces of the armor of God. Below you will find a fact, an action, a verse from God’s Word, and a quote from The Christian in Complete Armour by William Gurnall—a 1600 English Puritan and Anglican clergyman that believed in standing firm in Christ by using the graces listed in Ephesians 6.
Fact: God’s truth will keep us secure in Christ.
Action: Confess all known sins and get rid of all deceptions and commit yourself daily to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Bible: “Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth.”
Quote: Love for God makes the soul inquisitive to find out what is dear to God so it can express tenderness to truth and thereby give love to Him.
Breastplate of Righteousness
Fact: Satan is trying to attack us with lies or reminders of our past sins.
Action: We must guard our hearts against Satan and live for the righteousness of Christ by being obedient to God’s ways and will.
Bible: “and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,”
Quote: Righteousness and holiness are God’s protection to defend the believer’s conscience from all wounds inflicted by sin.
Fact: Satan will put obstacles in our paths. He wants us to stumble.
Action: Prepare yourself through Bible study, prayer, meditation, confession and more, so you can confidently walk in Jesus’ ways wherever you go and wherever He may lead you.
Bible: “and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.”
Quote: God does not want the saint to stand still and fret or to have to be coaxed to move but to follow Christ voluntarily, as a soldier follows his captain. Yet Christ is not like a general who drives his men into battle whether they want to go or not . . . A heart full of grace will follow Jesus into the wilderness of affliction as willingly as a lover goes with her beloved into a quiet garden to enjoy his presence. By His Word and by His Spirit Christ satisfied the Christian, making him want to be with Him anywhere.
Shield of Faith
Fact: Satan will try to put doubts in our mind. Hold on to your faith.
Action: Trust that your faith will defend all the unholy darts that may be projected upon you.
Bible: “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;”
Quote: Faith is the only messenger which can bring good news from heaven to the heart. It is faith that proclaims the promise, opens Christ’s riches, and pours out His name to increase love in believers. Whenever faith wins the character of Christ out of the Word and presents Him to us in all His loveliness, we are sweetly drawn to Him.
Helmet of Salvation
Fact: Our thinking needs to be protected because Satan loves to make us doubt our salvation and God.
Action: We must be sure that Jesus is our security through salvation in Christ. [If you are unsure about your relationship with Christ, understand that we are all born with a sinful nature, but when we repent of our sins and ask Jesus to be part of our life, we can have the assurance of salvation and eternal life.]
Bible: “and take the helmet of salvation,”
Quote: As a Christian soldier you must always stand in a defensive posture with your armor on, ready to defend the treasure God has given you to keep and to repel Satan’s assaults.
Sword of the Spirit
Fact: The Word of God is our weapon against the attacks of Satan.
Action: Read and study the Bible. It is God’s tool to prevent Satan’s strongholds and thoughts from infiltrating into our lives.
Bible: “and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,”
Quote: As the sword defends the soldier it offends his enemy. Thus God’s Word is a killing sword as well as a keeping sword. Not only does it keep the believer from surrendering to external temptation but it kills his inward lusts and completes the victory.
If we are not in prayer, our reliance on God is diminished allowing spiritual warfare a much easier access to our lives. We must pray for the mind of Christ. Set aside time every day to pray and listen to God’s Word. Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.
And as Paul concludes, he says, “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.” Ephesians 6:18-20 ESV
In Nigeria, it didn’t take me long to learn how to conduct myself in Lagos. For survival, I learned to be bold. I learned to walk with confidence. I learned how to talk to those who tried to intimidate me. I learned not to walk in the streets alone (if ever).
When I maneuvered through Lagos’ Murtala Muhammed International Airport all by myself one day, I found I was able to hold my head high, shuffle through the crowd, ward off swindlers, tow my baggage, and reach my destination. That day I knew I had accomplished a feat many foreigners fail to achieve—to feel confident in their walk!
It’s the same when Christ-followers trust in the God of the Armor. We soon feel confident in our walk with Christ. We can hold our head above inconsequential disagreements, controversial church strategies, and/or misinterpreted theology. We can move through the crowd with discernment. We can experience godly tranquility when Satan’s fiery darts come at us. We will have the knowledge needed to handle our past, present, and future experiences and attacks. But, most of all, we will have faith that our destination with Jesus Christ is secure and one day we will be living in glory with Him in Heaven.
Just as our Nigerian security alerts warned us how to proceed even before any unknown danger might occur, so does the Bible warn us how to be pre-prepared against the schemes of the devil, because we never know when he might attack. It is so easy to become ensnared in the devil’s traps, and the best way to be on guard is to put on THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD—even before the temptations and evils come upon us. This can be accomplished by following Ephesians 6:18-20 with a sincere and longing heart to please our Lord and Savior.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7 ESV
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:15-17 ESV
Lord Jesus, let me trust wholeheartedly that you have the power to fight off the fiery darts of Satan. Allow the Gospel of Jesus Christ be saturated in my mind and being. Teach me how to put on the whole armor of God daily. Refresh me with your word and through my prayers. Let me adore, honor, and love you all the days of my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
God Bless and please share this message as an encouragement to others,
Member Inspirational Writers Alive #IWA; Bible Gateway Blogger Grid Member #bgbg2
If you are hooked and want to read Part 1-3 of this SPIRITUAL WARFARE series, please click below.
Gurnall, William. The Christian in Complete Armour: a modernized abridgement of the Puritan classic by William Gurnall. Carlisle: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2017.
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