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While it is foolish to underestimate the devilÂ’s power, it is fatal to overestimate it. However great and powerful he is, he has been overcome by the mighty Lord, whose victory is our victory (1 John 4:4). Let us now see how that victory is made ours.
The Assurance Of Power In Christ
Ephesians 6:10 says: Â“Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.Â”
Â“Be strong.Â” Never fear nor falter nor faint, but always be prepared through an enduement with fresh strength which enables you to be victorious from the start to the finish. The devil says, Â“Be fearful, look around at difficulties and dangers. Be cowardly and give up, for you can never win out against such hindrances and opposition. Be discouraged; look in at your own weakness.Â”
But God says, Â“Be strong!Â” Victory is ours when we realize that strength lies first of all in our inward attitude. To assume power we must be assured of power. But that assurance will never come if we look in at ourselves or out at the enemy. If we try to match our power against his, we will succumb in ignominious defeat. We may raise up all kinds of sandbag defenses of our own making, but the master strategist will make a surprise attack on our blind side, or drop a fiery dart from the air, and we are overcome.
Â“Be strong in the Lord.Â” Our strength lies in a Person, and oh, what a Person! Note His Name. THE LORD. Ponder that name until it stands out before you in all its singular glory and solitary grandeur. Not Â“Jesus,Â” His personal, human name that indicates His Saviourhood, sweet and precious as that name is. Not Â“Christ,Â” His official meditorial name, The Anointed One, indispensable as that is to us.
But Â“LORD,Â” His sovereign, kingly name that stands for His rulership over the universe and all in it. Â“The Lord, the mighty God, the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords.Â”
Â“IN.Â” Yes, capitalize, italicize, and underline this two-lettered word. But why give it such emphasis and importance? Because herein lies hidden the secret place of victory over the devil. Where we are determines our victory, because it determines our strength and power of resistance.
Â“In the LordÂ” we are both strong and secure. Our Victor envelops us, for Â“we are hid with Christ in God.Â” So, as someone has said, Â“Before the devil can touch you, he must get through God and Christ.Â”
Â“And in the power of His might.Â” Our strength lies not only in what He is, but in what He has. Our power is in a Person whose power is extraordinary, for Â“it is the power of His might.Â” This is exactly the same word used in Ephesians 1:19, when describing the quality of the power used in raising Christ from the dead. In the strength of the mighty power of the Lord we are equipped to fearlessly meet Satan and all his hosts, confident that we shall be Â“able to stand,Â” Â“able to withstand,Â” and Â“able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.Â”
Our part, then, is calm, confident assurance of power over all the power of the enemy. We enter the warfare victors through faith in the victorious Lord, upon whom we keep our eyes fixed. Dear reader, do you know in your daily experience the conquering power of His might?
The Assertion Of Our Position In Christ
Ephesians 6:11: Â“That ye may be able to stand against all the wiles of the devil.Â”
6:13: Â“Having done all, to stand.Â”
6:14: Â“Stand therefore, havingÂ…Â”
6:13: Â“That ye may be able to withstand.Â”
Â“That ye.Â” Every Christian, even the least and the lowliest, is included. Not one need fear the enemy, for there is victory for every Christian who has heard the call to arms and offered himself as a warrior.
Â“May be able.Â” What intense relief and courage these words, used three times in this passage on warfare, bring to the warrior! They are GodÂ’s pledge of perfect provision for victory. God cannot lie and will not mock us, therefore, Â“ye shall be able.Â”
Â“To stand.Â” Do not fear, falter, faint, fall nor flee before the foe. Never expect defeat or plan retreat, but wait to see the devil depart from you as he did from Christ in the wilderness. Do not even fight. The battle is not ours, but the LordÂ’s. Our part is to Â“stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, for the Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.Â”
Â“StandÂ” in the perfection of ChristÂ’s finished work and in your divinely-appointed position in Him. Seated in Christ in the heavenlies, far above all principality, power, might and dominion, we are able to stand against Satan. In Christ the enemy is under our feet. We do not wrestle for a position of victory, but from one. Therefore standing in Christ we may reckon on the battle won before it is begun. Calmly, confidently, take your position in Christ and assert it courageously. Stand unafraid.
Â“Stand against the wiles of the devil.Â” Note it does not say Â“the power,Â” but Â“the wilesÂ” of the devil. He is a practiced strategist who has been in warfare against God and His people for many millenniums, and there is no art, no craft of cunning, no machination in warfare of which he is not the master. He can out-maneuver us completely by his deceptions and devices. But Christ, the wisdom of God, is Victor over Satan, the master of wiles. So in Christ we stand undaunted.
Â“Having done all, to stand.Â” Having fully equipped ourselves according to GodÂ’s directions, and having nothing more we can do to prepare ourselves for battle, then during an especial attack of the enemy we must stand unmoved. However fiery the trial of faith may be, however long it may last, we must stand in faith, refusing all doubt and depression, knowing that all is by the FatherÂ’s permission and in the fulfillment of His purpose.
The Lord of hosts anticipates no cowards or deserters in His army. It is not enough for us to resist sometimes and to gain occasional victories, then, when some peculiarly hard trial or severe affliction comes, to go under in defeat. However fierce or often the attack, or however many the forces massed against us, let us never give in, nor retreat one step, but in the thickest of the fight and in the darkest hour, let us see the enemy overwhelmed and overthrown, the battlefield covered with victorÂ’s spoils, and ourselves standing in the midst as overcomers.
Stand unconquered. Â“Stand your ground in the day of battle, and having fought to the end, come off victors on the field.Â”
Â“Stand, therefore, having...Â” After one attack, do not be worried or worn out, but stand firmly holding your ground, fully equipped for the next assault. Stand without flinching or faltering, but joyously and peacefully when all is pitch-dark before you, when you cannot see a step ahead, when the enemy seems to be in the ascendant and to have complete control over your circumstances. Stand with a victorÂ’s spirit, faith, courage, assurance, conviction. Stand invincible.
Â“That ye may be able to withstand.Â” The believerÂ’s exalted position in Christ is not one only of high privilege, but also of great responsibility, for Christ shares with him His authority over all the power of the enemy, as well as His victory, So it is not enough that, as a member of ChristÂ’s body, we stand in victory in our personal conflict with Satan. We must also resist his attacks against the corporate Body and against individual members of it.
We must withstand Satan in his efforts to block world evangelization and the deliverance of individual souls from his kingdom, and in his opposition to revival within the Church. There is an offensive as well as a defensive warfare to be waged. ChristÂ’s victory over Satan must be enforced and the spoils must be claimed.
We rejoice exceedingly that on CalvaryÂ’s Cross the Lord spoiled the principalities and powers and triumphed over them. But the practical part of that victory involves stripping these evil powers of all the authority they previously exercised over us and, instead, exercising authority over them.
Just before our LordÂ’s ascension He said, Â“All authority hath been given unto Me in heaven and on earth.Â” He assumed that authority when He sat down at the right hand of God in the heavenlies and was exalted as Lord over all created things and beings. He shared that authority with the Church, His Body, when He was made Head over it. Therefore, every saint in Christ is the possessor of the authority of Christ.
This is a staggering fact which we hesitate to accept and from which we consciously shrink. The responsibility for such a possession is simply overwhelming, and most of us would gladly shirk it. The failure of the Church to assume and exercise this divinely-imparted authority accounts in large measure for its impotence today before the massed hosts of evil.
Let us understand clearly just what this authority is and involves. Authority should not be confused with power. The distinction is made clear in the following quotations:
Â“Authority is not power, it is only the imparted right to bring the power of another into operation.Â”
Â“One stands at the crossing of two great thoroughfares. Crowds of people are surging by; multitudes of high-powered vehicles rush along. Suddenly a man in uniform raises a hand. Instantly the tide of traffic ceases. He beckons to the waiting hosts on the cross street, and they flow across in an irresistible wave. What is the explanation? The traffic officer has very little Â‘power.Â’ His most strenuous efforts could not avail to hold back one of those swiftly-passing cars. But he has something far better. He is invested with the Â‘authorityÂ’ of the corporation whose servant he is. The moving crowds recognize the authority and obey it. Authority, then, is delegated power. Its value depends upon the force behind the user.Â”
The Authority Illustrated
Having authority defined, now let us have it illustrated. Paul was an ambassador of Christ, sent into SatanÂ’s domain to rescue sinners from his power and kingdom. On his first missionary journey he met two men in Paphos. One was Sergius Paulus, deputy of the country; the other, Elymas, the sorcerer, a false prophet. The deputy desired to hear the Word of God through Paul, but the sorcerer withstood Paul, Â“seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.Â”
He is the picture of a man, filled with the devil, withstanding a man filled with the Spirit. One has behind him the authority of Satan, the other of the Lord. Which would be the victor? Let Scripture answer.
Acts 13:9-12: Â“Then Saul, (who also is called Paul) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him, and said, O full of all subtlety and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?...And now, behold the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the handÂ…Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.Â”
Note the three-fold expression of authority. In PaulÂ’s look: Â“set his eyes on him.Â” Did not Elymas know he was defeated the moment his eyes met PaulÂ’s? Did he not see in every expression of PaulÂ’s face fearlessness, conviction, courage, victory?
In PaulÂ’s words: Â“Thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness.Â” What man would dare or would have the right to say such words to another man? Paul was only bringing the power of the Lord into operation against the power of Satan.
In PaulÂ’s act: Â“Thou shalt be blind.Â” How awful for one man to inflict such a punishment upon another! But no; a man did not do it. Â“The hand of the Lord is upon thee.Â” Paul was the LordÂ’s agent in the administration of punishment. But even acknowledging that the authority is the LordÂ’s and Paul was merely the channel for its exercise, who is sufficient for such a task? Only he who is Â“filled with the Holy Spirit.Â”
Satan sought and found entrance into the early Church through Ananias and Sapphira, through whose sin he aimed to destroy the purity and power of the Church, thus dishonoring and defeating Christ, its Head. Peter used his God-given authority in discipline and in the destruction of SatanÂ’s work (Acts 5:7-14).
The spiritual condition of the Church would be vastly different today if such authority had been exercised during its history by those responsible for its leadership. God calls His warriors fearlessly to bind the strong man and his spiritual hosts of wickedness and of darkness in all parts of the world, as through the SpiritÂ’s enlightenment they are made aware of their working.
The Acceptance Of Our Protection In Christ
As our power and position are in a Person, so also is our protection. This is fully consonant with the whole truth of Ephesians in that all our wealth which is deposited in Christ is sufficient for the requirements both of our walk and our warfare.
God gives persuasive reasons why we should accept this protection: Â“For we wrestle againstÂ” a foe so powerful in himself, in the hosts united with him, in the strength of his organization, in the cleverness of his wiles that, if unprotected, we will meet certain defeat.
Â“WhereforeÂ” we need an armor that is sufficient to protect our whole being and that will equip us for both defensive and offensive attacks. Â“ThereforeÂ” be prepared, either in an emergency or in ordinary circumstances, for any kind of an attack. Never knowing where, how or when Satan will attack us, we should never be unprotected or unprepared. His attacks may come at the most unexpected time and from wholly unlooked-for quarters. There will not be time when the attack comes to put on our panoply. Â“ThereforeÂ” it is well to anticipate that Â“evil day,Â” and to stand every moment fully protected by our divinely-provided armor.
Ephesians 6:11: Â“Put on the whole armor of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.Â”
6:13: Â“Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand.Â”
Â“The whole armor.Â” There are six pieces of armor, each of which is a source of strength and security in warfare. Five are for defensive and one for offensive warfare. No part of the life must be exposed, for even one vulnerable place would mean defeat. So we cannot pick and choose what parts of the armor we wish to wear. We need to wear the whole armor all the time.
Â“Of God.Â” What a relief to know that we do not need to provide the Armor! How ignorant we are of the strength and the stratagems of the enemy! How inadequately we gauge our own inability and impotence! But our omniscient God, who knows all about our foe and about us, has provided armor both suitable and sufficient.
Â“Put on.Â” Clothe yourself with this armor for defensive protection against every wile of Satan to despoil you of your wealth, to decoy you from your walk, and to disable you in warfare. The armor is not a museum piece, but for the battlefield. Â“Take unto youÂ” the whole armor as protection in offensive warfare. God makes the armor, but we must take it. Note that God has provided no protection for the back, for He expects no deserters.
Â“Stand - Having Your Loins Girt About With TruthÂ”
We have seen that Satan comes to us first as the liar and deceiver, so we can understand why God provides first of all the girdle of truth for our protection. Christ, the Truth and the true God, is our armor against the attacks of Satan, the liar and deceiver.
John 14:6: Â“I am the truth.Â”
Revelation 3:7: Â“These things saith He that is holy, He that is true.Â”
The soldierÂ’s girdle was no mere ornament. It went around the body, holding other pieces of armor in place and giving the soldier freedom in movement. So this divine girdle of truth must encompass our whole life. The whole circle of truth should wholly encircle us, leaving no gaps.
This will really mean the two prayers of Ephesians answered in us; the revelation of GodÂ’s truth to our minds through the SpiritÂ’s enlightenment, realized in our experience through the SpiritÂ’s enablement. Truth apprehended will be applied. This involves a very intimate dealing of truth with every department of our lives, which the apostle John described as Â“a walk in truth.Â”
Third John, 4: Â“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.Â”
Such a walk implies a stern, strict dealing with sin and self; allowing no conscious hypocrisy or insincerity; no compromise with known sin; no excuse or vindication for wrongdoing; no condoning of sins such as temper, irritability, worry or depression on the ground of physical causes or domestic circumstances. It compels us to face things just as they are and call them by their right names. He who is the truth encompasses our whole being, making every part true, beginning with the inward character, and ending with the outward conduct.
Â“Stand Â– Having The Breastplate Of RighteousnessÂ”
Satan comes to us as accuser and tempter, so God provides for us the breastplate of righteousness.
1 Corinthians 1:3: Â“Christ is made unto us righteousness.Â”
1 Corinthians 4:24: Â“Put on the new man which is created in righteousness.Â”
Â“Having on.Â” Righteousness is not a day a week luxury, but a seven days a week necessity, if we are to resist SatanÂ’s temptations. Â“Wear integrity as your coat of mail.Â” Â“The breastplateÂ” Â– covering the vital organs where a wound would be fatal. Â“Of righteousness.Â” Being right because adjusted to GodÂ’s will, and doing right because acting according to GodÂ’s Word.
This breastplate of righteousness is ours when we live according to the pattern of Christ and the precepts of the Word in our relationship to men. We can then stand before SatanÂ’s accusations with a good conscience and without self-reproach. We can also stand before his temptations without yielding.
But there must be no flaw in the breastplate in the form of permitted wrong habit or practice. In all things, large and small, there must be strictest integrity up to our knowledge of GodÂ’s Word and ways. A lustful desire allowed to rest in the heart can result in adultery; a love of money can lead to theft or to dishonesty in securing or handling funds. Â“Nothing exposes a saint in conflict more readily than a bad conscience in his ways.Â”
Â“Stand Â– Your Feet Shod With The Preparation Of The Gospel Of PeaceÂ”
We have seen how Satan is the destroyer of peace between man and God and the instigator of discord between men: how also he will rob the saint of the peace of God through all kinds of inward distress of spirit, mind and heart, that he might hinder him from being the messenger of peace. But Christ our peace is our protection against all such attacks.
Ephesians 2:14: Â“For He is our peace.Â”
John 14:27: Â“My peace I give unto youÂ…Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.Â”
Â“Your feet shod.Â” For progress in our daily walk or for protection in our warfare we need to be well shod. No warrior would think of entering a battle in dancing slippers. If you ever noticed a soldierÂ’s shoes you know they are substantial and suitable for any kind of road, weather, or hardship.
Â“With the preparation of the gospel of peace.Â” God has told us we would have temptations, trials, testings, so we must be prepared to stand the strain of slippery paths of temptation and of the stony hills of adversity and affliction. Only the peace of God is sufficient for the heart in the midst of lifeÂ’s losses, infirmities and tragedies. As we walk through this disordered world there are a thousand things to bruise and wound us, but Â“the peace of God that passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.Â”
Stand Â– Â“Above All Taking Up the Shield Of Faith, Wherewith Ye Shall Be Able To Quench All The Fiery Darts Of The Evil OneÂ”
SatanÂ’s very first work with man was to create doubt of God Himself and then of His love, in order that man might be separated from God. On the manward side faith is the first necessity, for it is the cable that links us with Christ and keeps us united with Him. But even this faith is not our own; it is the gift of God, and is the creation of Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 2:8: Â“By grace ye are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.Â”
Hebrews 12:2: Â“Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.Â”
Â“Above all.Â” All other parts of the armor are put on or taken by faith, so faith really equips one for warfare. Â“Taking upÂ” Â– as a gift, faith must be appropriated, as are all other gifts, and then used. Faith is not faith unless it is at work. True faith is always active.
Â“The shield of faith.Â” In olden times the shield protected all parts, and had to be movable so as to repel attacks from any quarter. Faith has but one value for a warrior. It connects him with the Victor, the all-powerful, all-sufficient Lord, whose victory over Satan is his victory.
Â“Wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one.Â” Oh, how many of SatanÂ’s darts are fire-tipped, hellish balls of fire with but one purpose Â– to produce distress of mind, depression of spirit, disappointment in our relationships or in our work or in ourselves.
Â“Of the evil one.Â” It is sometimes hard for the child of God to distinguish between a dart from Satan and discipline from God. The Lord tests, but He never tortures. The LordÂ’s discipline is for the purpose of making us a partaker of His holiness, while SatanÂ’s dart is to make us a partner in his hellishness.
Â“Able to quench.Â” The shield in olden times was made of skins and saturated with water. As the fiery darts of the enemy came against it, they were quenched. As we daily take our shield of faith, that enables us to rest fully upon the faithfulness of God, the finished work of Christ and the fulness of the Spirit, we shall be able to quench every fiery dart of Satan.
Stand Â– Â“And Take The Helmet Of SalvationÂ”
Satan wages a real battle for the possession, control and use of the mind of the saint. He tries in every possible way to corrupt or confuse it through his false teachings and teachers. The Christian has but one safeguard against his attacks.
1 Corinthians 2:16: Â“We have the mind of Christ.Â”
Philippians 2:5: Â“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.Â”
Philippians 4:23: Â“Being renewed in the spirit of your mind.Â”
Â“Take the helmetÂ” Â– the covering for the head. There is tremendous need of protecting the mind of the Christian, for Satan finds an undiscerning mind a ready prey to deception and delusion, and an undisciplined mind an easy mark for his defiling thoughts and suggestions.
Â“Of salvation.Â” This is the great all-inclusive Gospel word that gathers into itself the exceeding riches of GodÂ’s grace, and then gives out those riches in election, predestination, adoption, acceptance, redemption, enlightenment, inheritance, sealing and security. Salvation covers the whole range of the work of God, the Father, Son and Spirit in creating a saint out of a sinner and making him an heir of God and joint heir with Christ.
The experimental knowledge of full salvation in Christ is absolutely essential for the Christian warrior, for if he has any doubt of his own salvation, how can he confidently meet the foe, or how can he effectually win a sinner to Christ? And in these days of manifold satanic counterfeits, how can he discern the false from the true?
Stand Â– Â“And Take The Sword Of The Spirit, Which Is The Word Of GodÂ”
Five pieces of armor were given for our defense against satanic attacks upon us. But God provides one piece for offensive, aggressive warfare, that we may be able to deal deathblows to the enemy, and gather spoils from the battlefield.
Â“Take the sword of the Spirit,Â” which God Himself defines Â“which is the word of God.Â” The sword is GodÂ’s own utterance given to us in His written Word, inspired by the Spirit, revealed to us by the Spirit (1:17,18), used by the Spirit in us to sanctify and cleanse (5:20), and then wielded by the Spirit through us to defeat the devil (6:17).
The Word of God was the one weapon used by Jesus in the wilderness when, as the Representative Man, He won not only His victory, but ours too, over the devil. Each of SatanÂ’s three attacks was met with a sword of the Spirit Â– Â“It is written,Â” and three times Satan was repulsed. Only as we use this mighty weapon with intelligence and skill will we be able to withstand Satan successfully. This will require of us a constant, systematic study of GodÂ’s Word, that our sword may be easily and quickly unsheathed, and that just the needed part of it may be used at the right time and in the right way.
With such power, position and protection ours, should not our battlecry ever be Â“able to standÂ” and our battle song, Â“the Lord hath given me the victory!Â”