In Ephesians 6:10–18, we read about spiritual warfare – with Satan. Notice that the section on spiritual warfare comes immediately after the section on the home. The devil always attacks the home first. We are to stand firm against the devil and never fight with flesh and blood (Eph.6:12). If you want to fight Satan effectively, the very first qualification is that you stop all fighting with human beings. The reason why many believers are overcome by Satan is because they fight so much with human beings. I made a decision many years ago that I would never fight with a human being about anything. Then I found I could fight Satan effectively. If you make just one decision – never again to fight with man – you will be able to overcome Satan constantly and do something useful with your life for God and the church. The armour is a picture of the many pieces of spiritual equipment God has given us.
First of all, the belt of truth. Truth means sincerity, reality, no hypocrisy and no lying. If you are not free from these sins, then you might as well forget about fighting Satan. The Devil is a liar – and if you have lying in your inner life, Satan will have fellowship with you in your inner man. Then you won’t be able to overcome Satan. So make sure your life is transparent and without guile at all times.
The breastplate is righteousness. There are two types of righteousness –
i. the righteousness of Christ that is imputed to us, by which we are justified (declared righteous by God Himself); and
ii. the righteousness of Christ that is imparted to us, that we partake of, through the Holy Spirit, little by little, as we grow spiritually. This involves keeping a clear conscience at all times and obeying whatever God shows us.
Next comes the shoes of readiness to preach the gospel. Did you know that preaching the gospel to others is one way by which we can overcome Satan? Those who are lazy and never think of sharing the gospel with others are overcome by Satan easily. But those who are active and serving the Lord are protected. I remember in my younger days the thing that protected me from so many temptations that young men face was that I spent most of my spare time studying God’s Word, fellowshipping with believers and witnessing for Him. I was working in a secular job. But twice every week, I would spend a few hours preaching the gospel in the streets of Cochin (the city I was living in). I must have covered almost every major street in that city during the two years I worked in the naval base there. Doing evangelism, giving out tracts, sharing the gospel with small groups of 4 or 5 people in homes, kept me busy and thereby protected me from many temptations. Many temptations will come to us if we have plenty of spare time with nothing to do. The idle mind is indeed the Devil’s workshop. Our feet must always be ready to give the good news of peace with God to others. Try it – and see if it doesn’t help you in your battle with Satan.
The fourth piece of armour is the shield of faith. One of Satan’s greatest weapons is to make us doubt the love of God. This is the missile that he fired at Eve in Eden. He sowed a seed of doubt in her mind suggesting that if God really loved her, He would not withhold such lovely fruit from her. She fell under that missile. Faith is to believe that God loves us intensely and desires the best for us in every situation; and to know that He loves us even when we have failed. Then every fiery missile of Satan will be quenched.
The fifth item is the sword of the Spirit. Jesus always overcame Satan by quoting God’s Word. He did not enter into a discussion with Satan as Eve did. He just told Satan what God had said. Thus He always overcame. In times of temptation, we must quote Scriptures such as, “God will not allow me to be tempted beyond my ability” (1Cor.10:13), “Sin cannot rule over me” (Rom.6:14), “Jesus is able to keep me from falling” (Jude 24). Quote God’s Word to Satan and he will flee from you as he did from Jesus (Jam.4:7).
Finally, we must keep our armour well-oiled. How do we do that? “With all prayer praying at all times in the Spirit” (Eph.6:18). To pray in the Spirit does not refer to praying in unknown languages. Praying in tongues is called praying with our spirit (1Cor.14:15). Praying in the Spirit is prayer inspired by the Holy Spirit and not by our flesh. If we allow our mind to be renewed by the Spirit and allow our tongue to be under His control, we will pray in the Holy Spirit. Paul says, “Pray especially for me” (Eph.6:19). We need to pray especially for God’s servants who are out in the forefront fighting the Lord’s battles.
With the whole armour of God, we can build the Body of Christ in such a way that it will be triumphant against the gates of hell.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon