Spiritual Warfare is a Reality
We are surrounded by a world that operates on hard facts, a world that views the spiritual side of life as unimportant or a myth. Spiritual War seems unreal in todays world of megabytes and cell phones. Yet it is very much a reality and very much a vital part of our life.
Paul wrote letters to the Ephesian church warning them about the enemy of their faith. An enemy that must be fought on a spiritual battlefield, rather than a physical one. Paul used descriptions of the dark worlds powers to describe the enemy and its forces. To Paul this was a real struggle grounded in truth.
“Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the world powers of the darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared your stand. Stand therefore, with truth around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with the readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is Gods word. With every prayer and request pray at all times in the Spirit, and stay alert in this, with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.”
Belt of truth
To gird our waist means to move out of a comfortable and relaxed position and prepare for confrontation. Most people don’t like confrontation, and we tend to avoid it. To gird our waist with truth means that we must prepare to confront the enemy, each day, in whatever form that it may be. We should be prepared with the truth as it is in the scripture, and revealed by the Holy Spirit. As we spend time with Jesus every day, He prepares us for the day ahead, and this is the key of being ready and girded.
To secure everything that would allow us to stumble or fall while moving around quickly in the everyday battle that Christians get. Like any military we should always be trained, alert, and ready for battle at any time. Jesus is the foundation of our spiritual battle. He is the truth that stands against us and the deception of Satan. Jesus is the very basis of life. Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the father but by me.)
“Stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”
1 Peter 1: 13-16
“Therefore gird up the loins of you mind, be sober, and hope to he end for grace that is too brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, not following yourselves according to his former lust in your ignorance. But as He which has called you is Holy, so be Holy in manner of conversation, because it is written, “Be ye Holy, for I am Holy.”
Understanding that the spiritual battle ground of the Christian faith is found within the mind, is critical if we are to defeat the enemy.
We can not fight a battle if we do not know where it is.
The enemy attempts to control our thoughts, this is where the fiercest battles occur and the average Christian doesn’t even know it. This is even more true for non Christians who are oblivious to the war.
C.S. Lewis a renouned Christian author, once wrote a book dealing with and explaining this very concept.
The book was called ‘The ScrewTape Letters’. The book tells the story of how an older and wiser demon mentors and coaches a younger demon in the art of winning human souls for hell. ScrewTape gives tips on how to prevent Christians from influencing the minds and thoughts of other people. This is the only battle ground of interest for demons, it must be controlled to prevent us from finding God.
All it takes is a simple distraction to take our mind off of God. The enemy is always hiding in the corners waiting to ambush us with any chance he can get. Just the simple daily things that we come in contact with can take our minds off of God and make us worry and stress over things that are not important.
When we find ourselves in this place, we need to redirect our thoughts, put our minds back on God, and get back on track.
We can travel along the highways and roads, and we go anywhere we wish to go, but when we get off of them we often find ourselves lost or confused. God word is like the roads and highways in our mind, if we get off His word, we will be lost and confused and we will often scramble to find a way out, without God there is no way out. We need to get back on the road, back on the highway that is God. Only then can we continue to go forward in the truth of Him.
Psalm 23:1-6 says,
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in the path of righteousness for His name sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff they comfort me. You prepare a table for me in he presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil, my cup over flows. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life. And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Breastplate of Righteousness
The breastplate was made of leather with brace rings woven onto the fabric overlapping to allow movement, but able to stop an arrow or blade from entering the upper body. It was designed to protect the vital organs of the body. If our organs are hit with a blade or an arrow we will surely die quickly. So no professional solider would dare go into battle without it. The breast plate protects us as we go out to face a battle or confrontation. It protects our vital organs, particularly our heart, which is susceptible to spiritual damage. Righteousness simply means right standing, before God. This is achieved by having a good relationship with Him. We get this by spending quality time with Him in prayer, getting to know God as we would a person we love. Walking in obedience, being lead by the Holy Spirit, and in tune with the scriptures.
Christ lives in our heart, when we accepted Christ in our heart we gave our life to Him. The faith that we have as Christians is found within our heart. Christ has created in us a new heart, the old us is passed away. We do not have a heart of stone or ice anymore; He has softened the stone, and melted the ice. He has given us a new heart, a heart for Him and his glory.
Our heart is the most important part of who we are. It is the center of our being, where the real us resides.
Proverbs 27:19 says,
“As the water reflects the face, the heart reflects the man”
Proverbs 28:26 says,
“He that trust in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks wisely will be delivered.”
The heart needs to be protected for these reasons. If not we will be following our heart, instead of leading it. People forget that the heart and emotions are shallow, fickle, and unreliable. The heart can fluctuate depending on the circumstances. It’s corrupt. The truth is our heart and basically selfish and sinful.
Jeremiah 17:9 says,
“The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it.”
Matthew 15:19 says,
“Jesus said, ” Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders”
Salomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 10:2
“A wise mans heart will lead him to the right, but a foolish mans heart will lead him to the left.”
Just as our heart can lead us to the wrong path, it can also be lead to truth, love, and kindness. The breastplate is worn to protect the heart from the darts, daggers, and arrows of the enemy. Just like in life when the heart stops and dies, we die ,we cease to live. If our heart is often clouded then attacked by the enemy. This happens because we have not protected the heart, causing us to die spiritually.
Sandals or Gospel of Peace
These are symbolic with going out. When we go out we need to be able to meet the needs as we come across them. The fact that Jesus was prepared to die in order to provide our salvation means that we should at least know what to say to someone who has not yet found salvation. The Gospel of Peace gives us the peace to confront issues as they arise, and will allow us to walk in peace and not in fear. The sandals allow us to be ready for any terrain, any battles that we may come up against. Ready to walk, sprint, run, climb, or jump, into any situation that may arise. And do it knowing that we have the peace of God with us as you go forth. Without shoes a military a solider would not be able to stand against the enemy long, and would soon be defeated. The battle is never on smooth even ground, the enemy always attacks where he has the advantage thus allowing for an ambush. In a rocky wooded area we can not run or move quick enough to take cover and will parish in the open.
Shield of Faith
The shield is a vital tool of our armor. The shield is roughly 4ft tall by 2ft wide. Made of laminated wood covered in leather and a bronze ring around the edge. The shield of faith is very important. A shield refers to protection; faith refers to knowing and believing in God and knowing His direction for us.
For example. If God came to us and told us to pack up and move to a certain place, we would expect to do it. Some people would come to us and say don’t be stupid, your crazy, you have gone nuts or do you really think God wants you to do that. The fact that we know what God has spoken to us protects us from the arrows or doubt and the hurt that would other wise hit us.
Faith is the aspect of believing in something not seen. We cannot always see the arrows and the bullets coming at us from all directions. But we know that they are there, just as we know that God is always there watching over us. Shields were primarily used for personal protection, but could be used with others to form a wall in front around and above to guard against attack.
Jesus died on the cross for us, He covered us with His blood. The shield covers us from the arrows and darts of the enemy, just as the blood of Jesus covers us from the sins that we have committed and the attacks of those sins. Jesus has shielded us, He is our shield and He is our protection from the enemy and all the attacks, including protection from ourselves. Because we can not do it on our own, we have all tried, just as we have found that it does not work. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again getting the same results.
Helmet of Salvation
The helmet was made of bronze to protect the head and the side of face and checks. It had a leather strap that would wrap around the chin, to hold it on during combat. It had a shelve on the back to protect the neck and back from arrows falling from the sky and a small bill on the front to protect he face slightly. The helmet was lined with either leather or wool to make it more comfortable while wearing for long periods of time.
The knowledge we have lives in our hearts but also is instilled in the mind. If we are in a battle and can not think or reason we cant fight. We will be held captive to our mind not being able to move or react. If we are hit in the head we will be at the mercy of our enemy. The mind is the most powerful weapon that there is, but without it being protected it does us no good. Today the military still uses helmets made of Kevlar, if a solider goes out into battle without it shrapnel, rocks, sticks, anything can deal a fatal blow.
To put on our helmet means to have a good knowledge of Gods word, through regular reading and a close personal relationship with Him. And having a full understanding of God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the word of God. The helmet is one source of total deliverance.
Sword of the Spirit
The sword was about 24 inches long and 2 inches wide sharpened on both sides. The short sword was the best used for close quarter combat of thrashing and stabbing. The sword was carried in a wooden scabbard on the right side attached to the belt.
The creek word (Rhema) is the term that Paul is talking about. The Rhema word of God is the living actual spoken words of God. The words that God gives us to deliver to someone when they need it, to give direction or reassurance etc. to someone. Think of it in this way, (God is in heaven, He sees something here that needs his attention, He says I will send Samuel my prophet to deliver a message or Moses to lead my people out of Egypt. When He sends someone to do something such as this it is called the Rhema word of God (the living word of God). The sword of he spirit is just that the living word of God.
When Jesus was tempted three times by Satan he repelled Satan all three times by quoting the word of God.
When David faced Goliath, Saul fitted him with his armor. But the armor would not fit so David went without any, we can not wear another person’s amour it will not fit us. We must prepare and put on our own amour daily.
When Daniel was thrown into the loins den he had his amour on.
When Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego were thrown into the furnace they put on their amour before entering.
How to pray on the armor
The Belt of Truth around my waist I put on the belt of truth. Father, I commit myself to Jesus as the foundation of my life today. With your strength Lord, I will resist the temptation to stand on any worldly foundation. Jesus, you alone are my foundation for any situation that will arise today. (John 14:6)
The Breastplate of righteousness… On my heart I put the breastplate of righteousness. I can fight any battle today because of the righteousness of Jesus, not own my own. Jesus I declare that you are my righteousness and that through the victory of the cross I can stand victorious against temptation, sin, and the attacks of the enemy. (2 Corinthians 5;12)
The Shoes of Readiness and Peace… On my feet, I put on the shoes of the gospel. Father, prepare me by helping me know Jesus in a deeper way. Let your word the guiding light for every step I take today and let the knowledge of the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection be my source of peace. (Romans 5;1)
The Shield of Faith… In my hand I take up the shield of faith. Father, by my faith, connect me to the power of Jesus. My desire is to trust in you and your strength alone. Protect me from the arrows of the enemy today as I rely on your power. Give me faith so I may go forward doing you will. (Hebrews 11;33-34
The helmet of Salvation… Om my head, I receive the helmet of salvation. Jesus, you are my salvation. You are my deliverance. Deliver me from all sins and weaknesses- spiritual, physical, and emotional. Cover me with strength, peace and anointing and bring me to complete wholeness in you. (1 Thessalonians 5:8-9)
The Sword of the Spirit… In my hand I take up the sword of the spirit, the powerful word of God. Jesus, you are the living version of Gods word. May Gods word give me wisdom to apply the word to life’s situations and today’s troubles? (Hebrews 4:12)