While we go about living our lives, following the ebb and flow of daily routines, God continues to watch over us—working ever so diligently on our behalf to strengthen and build our faith in Jesus—the pioneer and perfecter of faith. As we grow in our knowledge of Him and experience more of His presence, accepting our responsibility to live the abundant godly life promised to us, we need to be aware that there is a fierce, invisible warfare being waged against us.
Our spiritual setbacks, strongholds, and struggles could be a direct attack by a spiritual adversary, a liar, a thief that seeks to steal, kill and destroy all the blessings that God is pouring over our lives. This enemy is forging weapons specifically designed to distract us; to take our eyes off Jesus and focus on anything else but Jesus. The devil is crafty, powerless and defeated, but his deception is effective when we are not focused on Jesus.
Our comfort, strength, and hope in this warfare can only be found in Jesus. Though there are weapons specifically designed to target us, no weapon formed against us will prosper (Isaiah 54:17). Furthermore, through the life of Joseph, we are comforted by his revelation that even the evil intended to harm us, God will use for good (Genesis 50:20). As we surrender our life to God, He will stand with us in battle and if He is for us, who can be against us?
As we stand with God in battle, we need to make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. We need to see to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many (Hebrews 12:14-15). This is key to our victory in warfare; we need to know who our enemy is and who our enemy isn’t.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 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.
When I worked at a well-known coffee shop in town, I went through a training course on identifying counterfeit money. What was interesting about the course is that we never got to see or touch counterfeit money. We were only exposed to the real money. We touched, smelled it, and studied it; becoming very familiar with the real deal. During my almost six years of working there, I came across a few fake bills. What was fascinating was that I instantly knew it was fake. The appearance and the feel of the fake money sent warnings to my brain that what I had in my hand was not authentic.
In spiritual warfare, we need to study the Word of God, yielding to the Holy Spirit, as He guides us and empowers us to more knowledge of Christ; the real deal. When we only focus on Jesus, we immediately know what is not of Him and come against it. We will reject every thought and silence any voice that is not that of our Good Shepherd. We know that man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).
In warfare, the enemy will target your emotions. The enemy will make it personal. He will draw your attention off of Christ and turn your attention on you. He will try to put a target sign on the people around you and turn you against them and them against you. After all, the devil knows scripture very well and is aware of the words of Jesus: “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand” (Matthew 12:25).
We, however, know that unity in Christ will ensure our victory because we are His church and the very gates of hell will not prevail against us. His Word in Ephesians 6 tells us what we need to do in preparation of warfare:
13 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.14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 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.
Notice that all, but one of the pieces of the Armor of God is defensive in nature. Only the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God is our offensive weapon. Not our words, His Word. The belt of truth is the first part mentioned. The truth is to be at the core of our being and not fitted loosely but buckled firmly. The Word tells us that we will know the truth and the truth will set us free (John 8:32). Next is the breastplate that protects our hearts with the righteousness of God and reminds us that we are not led by hearts, but that the righteous live by faith (Romans 1:17).
We move on to our feet, that are fitted with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of Peace. We are called to preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction (2 Timothy 4:2). We must yield to His Word and not be mere listeners of it but do what it instructs us to do (James 1:22). Speaking of instructions, we are then instructed to take up our shield of faith. It is faith that moves mountains, it is faith that heals, it is faith that guards you and protects you. Every morning make sure to pick up your shield and let your faith in Him keep you safe.
Now we have the helmet of salvation. It is our salvation in Christ that is the safeguard of our thoughts. It is in the mind that the battle begins and ends. It is in the mind that the battle is won. Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:2). Finally, we have the Sword of the Spirit, our one offensive weapon. The Word of God is good for instruction, correction and living in right standing with God. We are to build each other up in His love and follow His ways.
Help me to keep my eyes on you. You are my Good Shepherd and I hear Your voice. I am ready for the fight because You stand beside me. I am ready for the battle because I have Your armor on. I walk forward in Your victory. Holy Spirit give me a hunger and a thirst for more of the Word; for more of God. AMEN!
Your servant in Christ,