Satan has always been a formidable enemy of mankind, and countless people have succumbed to his attacks and cunning lies. He uses many strategies: from trying to convince us that following our lusts will bring happiness, to telling us that we are hopeless sinners, beyond help.
However, he knows what is prophesied about him – that his bitter end is looming. (Revelation 20:10) While he still can, he wants to take down as many as possible with him.
“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.” Ephesians 6:13.
We have to be alert, have our defenses up, and launch a full-blown attack to send him running! A person wearing armor is not slack or indifferent to the forces that he knows will come. He is anticipating an attack; he is vigilant!
“Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit …” Ephesians 6:14-18.
Girded with truth
The truth girds the one who employs it. No one can catch such a person in a lie. Because there is liberating power in each and every truth, the one who walks in the truth in all his ways will be set free. A lie, no matter how “little,” gives the powers of darkness an opening for attack, but the truth chases them far away.
Clothed with the breastplate of righteousness
Truth and righteousness are very closely related. The accusations of Satan “roll off” personal righteousness like water off a duck’s back. The powers of darkness stand ready to attack us at the least sign of unrighteousness. Unrighteousness gives Satan power over the one who practices it.
Jesus said, “For the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me.” John 14:30. He was entitled to say this because He was clothed with the breastplate of righteousness. May the same thing be said of us when Satan tries to sift us like wheat!
Preparation for battle
“… and having shod your feet with the preparation for battle that the gospel of peace provides.” Ephesians 6:15. [Norwegian translation]
We don’t get very far walking with bare feet on glass and sharp stones, let alone trying to fight a battle on terrain like that – that is why our feet must be shod (protected). Likewise, the one who brings the gospel to others must be able to suffer hardship for the sake of the gospel. He mustn’t become touchy and sensitive at the opposition he encounters, like bare feet would be on glass and sharp stones. He must have his spiritual feet shod.
The gospel of peace has the inherent ability to prepare us for battle. But even though it is readily available, we ourselves need to start using it, as in all things.
The shield of faith
Faith always goes against our lusts. In every temptation, Satan sends his flaming darts into our mind, which has the power to decide whether we will obey God or give in to the lusts of the flesh.
When Abraham went to Mount Moriah to sacrifice his son Isaac, Satan’s flaming darts might well have come at him in the form of words like these: “What do you think Sarah will say? Her heart will probably break, and that will be the sad end of a long and happy married life together. You’ll be a murderer – yes, a murderer twice over. You must have misunderstood; a loving God could not possibly have given such a commandment!”
That’s how Satan preaches when a soul sets out to do a work of faith. In the position Abraham was in, every word would have struck him like a flaming dart. And yet, Abraham had not heard wrong; he acted with boldness and valor because God had said it, and we all know what happened – Satan’s flaming darts simply glanced off the shield of faith.
The helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit
The spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places are only too happy to make trouble for believers, when given the chance. But the helmet of salvation is hard and resistant to everything that rains down upon it from the air.
A jubilant soul doesn’t become despondent. It is the one who is downcast who is at risk. Discouragement is unbelief, but unbelief is faith in the power of Satan. Once you begin to believe in unbelief, everything goes wrong. So, in faith and confidence, pull the helmet of salvation tightly down upon your head, and lay hold of the sword of the Spirit!
David’s strength was not especially great, but by faith he put a stone in his slingshot and hurled it toward Goliath. A preacher once said that if Goliath’s forehead had been 10 meters thick, the stone would still have penetrated. I think so too! When used in its sharpness, and when administered by an enlightened understanding in the full assurance of faith, the sword of the Spirit can put whole armies of evil spirits to flight. But no one can use the sword of the Spirit victoriously without having put on the rest of the armor.
Praying always in the Spirit
Prayer in the Spirit will give us far more than we could ever ask or think. One who is unaccustomed to praying must, from the very outset, simply discipline himself to pray. Later on, the Spirit Himself will work in him to pray. The Spirit works in us to pray inwardly – without words. But then He conveys these prayers of the heart to the realm of our understanding, to be employed by that understanding. Such unceasing prayer increases our content of life and multiplies our treasures in heaven. Patience and meekness then seem to come naturally, because the Lord is near.
With all of God’s full armor on, it is entirely possible for us to “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might!”
This article is an adaptation of a commentary on the book of Ephesians, first published in Norwegian by Skjulte Skatters Forlag in May, 1920.
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