Finally be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on the evil day, and having done everything to stand firm. Pray in the spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication (Ephesians 6: 10 – 13, 18).
Paul admonishes us to put on the whole armor of God in order to stand against the forces of evil. It is clear that our warfare is not against physical forces but against invisible powers who have clearly defined levels of authority in a real, though invisible sphere of activity.
Paul however, not only warns us of clearly defined structure in the invisible realm; he instructs us to take up the whole armor of God in order to maintain a “battle stance” against this unseen satanic structure. To understand the battle, we need to begin with acknowledging that we are in a war. By definition, battles involve combat between two persons, between factions, between armies and they consist of any type of extended contest, struggle or controversy.
As Christians, we are in a spiritual battle of some sort on a daily basis. In warfare, battles are fought on different fronts, for different reasons, and with varying degrees of intensity. The same is true in spiritual warfare. Our battles are real, even though we cannot physically see the attackers. But we can educate ourselves on how battles are fought and how they impact our lives on a daily basis. How do we know there is a spiritual realm? If we cannot see it should we believe in it? Many believers and unbelievers today do not want to “deal” with a world we cannot see when the world we do see is hard enough to “deal” with.
Before we can discuss the spiritual battle, we have to believe in the spiritual realm. Just because we cannot see the spiritual realm does not mean it is not there. Educating ourselves about the spiritual is half the fight and God gives everything else to be victorious with the other half.
We all have an innate sense that there is more than what the eye can see, however since we do not see it we often fail to believe in it. If we do not believe in it, then we cannot be aware of all that is going on for and against us. Whether we choose to believe in the existence of spiritual beings or places does not change the fact of their existence and their activities.
Instances abound in the Bible where Jesus dealt with the spiritual in order to free people from physically pains. (Mary Magdalene Luke 8: 2; The demoniac of Gerasene Luke 8: 26ff; The woman cripple by a spirit for 18 years Luke 13: 10 – 13 etc). In this battle, everyday victory is achieved by knowing, believing and understanding the battles that we are enduring daily. This knowledge enables us to choose the appropriate weapon for every warfare.
In Ephesians 6: 14-16 Paul lists the six weapons for this spiritual warfare, five of them are defensive weapons, only one is offensive – the word of God called the sword of the spirit. While we put on the defensive armor because of the dart of the enemy, we must also know the appropriate scriptural passage (the word or the sword of the spirit) in every situation. Jesus overcame satanic temptations by the word (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10).
Another Pauline instruction for our spiritual warfare is prayer. If a Christian refuses to pray, he becomes a prey. Paul admonishes us to pray in the spirit at all times. Prayer for spiritual warfare must be prayed in the spirit (not mere recitation). Jesus prayed in the spirit until his sweat became like great drops of blood. (Luke 22: 44). Jesus often went to lonely places to pray in the spirit. (Luke 5:16, 22: 39 – 41; Mark 1: 35).
To put on the amour of God is to prepare for battle. Prayer is the battle itself, with God’s word being our chief weapon employed against Satan during our struggle. The cheering news is that our Lord has assured us of victory when we move to the battle trusting him.
May you be victorious in all your battles, physical and spiritual, this week and beyond.
Your brother, friend and pastor