“Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against the 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.”
If we think Satan (the devil) and demons are fictional, therefore being ignorant to their subtle but deadly schemes to lure us away from God, then he is achieving his goal. Christians must be aware that every day they are caught up in an ‘unseen’ battle to which most people are oblivious. The Christian life is a battleground, not a playground. Our enemy, Satan, is real, ruthless and sneaky. He is the prince of this world and has power and control of it (1 John 5:19). He has blinded those who don’t believe in Jesus (2 Cor 4:4). He and his army of demons have immense power in this dark and corrupt world. We are described as sheep to the slaughter (Ps 44:22), prey of a prowling, roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8-9) and lambs amongst hungry wolves (Luke 10:3)! By ourselves we have no hope against this formidable opposition and will be devoured spiritually, emotionally and therefore physically. However as Christians we are not left to fend for ourselves, for God in all His might and power has given us all we need to stand up and taste the sweetness of victory daily, using our trials as a means of developing our character (Rom 5:3-4)!
Be a Soldier for God
As powerful as these evil forces are, they don’t stand a chance against our awesome God (1 John 4:4). Satan is still under God’s authority (Job 1:8-12). God in all His fullness lives in us (Col 2:9), along with His power to stand firm (2Peter 1:3)! God has called us to put on His armour, just like a soldier would when going into battle. To send people onto the battle frontline unarmed and unprotected would be suicide. God has given us practical ways in Ephesians 6:14-18 to fight victoriously against this enemy.
We are to put on the belt of truth and breastplate of righteousness, which is to know and apply God’s truth, ensuring pure motives are present in our hearts and developing a changed lifestyle that highlights the righteousness that Christ has given us. We are to have feet fitted with readiness to spread the good news of Jesus and flee from situations/environments that will lead us astray. It shows wisdom, not cowardice, to be honest about our weaknesses and run from enticing situations. We must never over-estimate our strength to resist the devil’s temptations, hiding behind the excuse of being a ‘witness to the world’, and go to places and hang out with people who we know are likely to lead us astray. We are to pick up our shield of faith that will protect us from Satan’s arrows of bitterness, guilt, loneliness, self-pity, despair, anxiety, greed and failure. Satan will prey on where we are vulnerable, but our faith in God’s provision in our lives will protect our hearts and minds. We are to put on the helmet of salvation, which is the knowledge of our secured adoption as a child of God through our faith in Jesus. We must guard the thoughts that enter our minds, acknowledging what is not from God. God’s truth highlights Satan’s lies. We are to pick up our weapon, the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Like any soldier, we must learn to use our sword to be effective in battle. That is to read the bible daily, learning how to apply it to our lives, setting us free (John 8:32)! Finally we must pray constantly for God’s work in our lives and the lives of others.
In God’s Strength – Satan Doesn’t Stand a Chance
Where are you weak and vulnerable? Where and whom are you spending time with that is leading you away from God? What armour do you need to equip yourself with to start winning these daily battles? A witnessing Christian is a victorious Christian, therefore Satan will do all he can to inhibit us growing into the likeness of Jesus and doing His work. However we must never lose sight of the truth that if God is for us, who can be against us (Rom 8:31)? If we stand firm in God’s strength, Satan doesn’t have a hope and will run in fear from the power of God within us (James 4:7-8), resulting in us experiencing the priceless blessings of turning weaknesses and trials into prominent virtues and sweet victories; growing in character and in our relationship with God!
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 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.