What is Spiritual Warfare and How Do We Stand Against It?
What does it mean to put on the armor of God?
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
Spiritual warfare is the ongoing conflict that takes place in this world between humanity and the spiritual realm, namely Satan and those who do his bidding. Satan despises us and wants to discourage, destroy and derail us. However, we do not have to be afraid because God's Word tells us that He Who is in us is greater than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4
God loves us, so much so that He provided His Word to direct us daily. We know that our sinful nature is at war with our spiritual nature. Our flesh tells us we should engage in sinful pleasures and selfish ways. Behind those temptations and desires to sin is Satan. He wants us to stray from what is good and right. He wants us to lean on our own understanding instead of on the truths of God.
To help us better understand, God compares Satan to a roaring lion seeking those he can devour.
God gives us this word picture of the lion so we understand His ways are designed to protect us, profit us and give us life. In contrast, Satan's ways lead to death. However, as believers in Jesus, we have the power of God to help us resist the devil's temptations. We have the armor of God we can put on to protect us. God's Word is entirely and wholly true. Therefore, what is written in the Bible is to be trusted. It is our guidebook to a life well-lived. By reading God's Word and meditating on it, we draw closer to the Lord and understand how we should live. God's ways are not ours; therefore, we need to understand His Word so we can live life in a way that glorifies Him.
Ephesians 6:10-18 instructs us to put on the full armor of God so that we can stand against the devil's schemes. It says, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 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. 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 firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,”
So, what can we learn from Ephesians?
Whatever we are going through, God is with us. His power will enable us to withstand the trials and difficulties Satan throws at us. In addition, we have the Holy Spirit to comfort and guide us as God's children.
What does it mean to put on the armor of God?
“Putting on the armor of God” means we arm ourselves with God's ways so that we can withstand the enemy's attacks. First and foremost, we must know God's Word to understand what He expects of us and how we should live. The Bible gives us the wisdom we need to navigate life. It is called the belt of truth.
The next piece of armor is the breastplate of righteousness. Isn't it wonderful that righteousness guards our very hearts? When we obey God's ways, we save ourselves so much unnecessary grief and suffering. As we follow Jesus and conduct our lives the way He would, we behave differently from the world.
Next, Ephesians tells us to put the readiness of the gospel of peace on our feet. Since our feet carry us places, it seems so fitting that the very gospel of peace should guard them so we will be ready to share Christ with others wherever we go.
Then, Ephesians tells us to take up our shield of faith in all circumstances. Faith isn't something we have because we are believers. It is an action, a choice to believe in God and trust Him to work things out for us. Therefore, Scripture tells us to essentially pick up our shield of faith because it will protect us from the flaming darts of our enemy, Satan.
Last, we are to guard our heads and thoughts with the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit. We know the blood of Jesus bought our salvation. Through Christ, we can have a relationship with God and an eternity with Him. Because of Jesus, we can live this life and endure its difficulties because we know we will spend eternity with God. The sword of the Spirit, God's Word, is mighty against Satan. He has to flee in God's name. Having the Holy Spirit gives us the power to live Christ-centered lives and triumph over Satan.
How do we thwart the schemes of the devil?
- Trust God and live life according to His Word, even when life is confusing, complicated, and unfair.
- Give God control of our lives, asking Him to help us overcome destructive habits and sinful behavior.
- Remember that God paid the price for our sin and has given us a new life in Him.
- Rest in Jesus, asking Him to help us work through those things that cause stress, anxiety, and worry.
- Pray God's Word when under attack from the enemy. Quote Scripture out loud.
- Acknowledge the battle between our sinful nature and the Holy Spirit, being willing to confess our sins and ask for forgiveness.
John 10:10 tells us, the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Finally, remember that every aspect of life is in God's hands. He is working on our behalf and will bring good out of every difficulty we face. He desires to give each of us life. While Satan wants to steal, kill and destroy, God will cast him into the lake of fire forever. There will be a time when suffering, hurt, betrayal, and everything painful will be over and done. Until that day, we trust God, praying and staying close to Him and His ways.
Pray this week:
Heavenly Father, Thank you for providing a way to withstand the enemy’s attacks. Help me to stand strong in your power, resisting Satan’s attacks and temptations. I will trust you in all areas of my life, even when I don't understand why I am suffering or being tested.
How can you withstand Satan’s attacks? Did you know that God gives you armor to protect and empower you against the devil’s schemes?