Where the Battle Really Is
The Bible says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)
It is that time of the year when we see an interest in the paranormal, ghost, extraterrestrial life, etc. Horror movies, books, games and Halloween parties capture the attention of many. Most of these activities are just for fun, and for the most part harmless.
However, the Apostle Paul, writer of our key text holds a truth that should frighten us more than any modern-day horror film ever produced. There is a real enemy of our soul and he has a co-host of demons who have one purpose, which is to keep people from having the relationship with the Lord, God wants His creation to enjoy. The Bible describes this warfare as real, powerful and consistent.
Good intelligence is the key for anyone who wants to win a war. This is why the Holy Spirit moved the writers of the Bible to inform us, so we may understand the enemy. God instructs us in many passages of Scripture, so there is no reason for anyone to be caught off guard. Ignorance of God’s Word about spiritual warfare is an unwise choice if a person wants to live a life which is pleasing to the Lord. The truth is, there is spiritual warfare going on around us all the time. (Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 357). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.; Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Eph 6:11–12). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.; Barclay, W. (Ed.). (1976). The letters to the Galatians and Ephesians (p. 182). Philadelphia, PA: The Westminster John Knox Press.; Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 2319). Peabody: Hendrickson.; Hoehner, H. W. (1985). Ephesians. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 643). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.)
The spiritual forces Paul is writing about has a leader, the Devil. He is the accuser. (Revelation 12: 7-11) Satan is the super-natural enemy of God. (Hebrew-Aramaic Dictionary) The writer of the Book of Matthew calls Satan the tempter. (Matthew 4:3) Jesus said, he is a murder from the beginning and he is the father of all lies. (John 8:44) The Bible compares him to a lion, (1 Peter 5:8) a serpent, (Genesis 3:1; Revelation 12;9) an angel of light, (2 Corinthians 11:13-15) as well as the god of this age. (2 Corinthians 4:4)
Note: Our battle foundation is not just with humans who may insult, undermine or attack us in some way. Often those who are against us are unaware that it is Satan who is influencing them in some way. The illnesses, temptations and trials we face come from sources who know our weaknesses and is able to exploit us. (Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1997). The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version (Eph 6:12). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers; Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 57). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.) Our battle is not just against Satan, but against fallen angels, evil spirits who wield tremendous power. Tough we cannot see them, they constantly surrounded us, they cannot indwell Christians, they can only oppress and harass the true children of God.
Our battle and the defeat against powerful constant foes are accomplished by putting on what the Bible calls the armor of God. Twice in the Book of Ephesians we are told, “be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God.” (Ephesians 6:10,11,13) The writer of this letter to us says, “so that when the day of evil comes, [we] may be able to stand [our] ground.” (Ephesians 6:13) The phrase “to stand your ground” is an active imperative of never yielding from the truth and not fleeing from our post of living out and proclaiming the truths of God in a sin-stricken world. (Swanson, J. (1997). (Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament) (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.; Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 357). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.; Robertson, A. T. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament (Eph 6:14). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.)
The Christian armor consist of six weapons found it Ephesians 6:10-18:
- The Belt of Truth. The Bible says Satan is the father of all lies. (John 8:44) The child of God whose life is controlled by truth will defeat Satan and overcome the attacks of Satan’s demons. The belt of truth is symbolic to the teachings of God’s Word along with the integrity of a Christian’s life which is birthed forth as the Holy Spirit brings illumination of God’s Word into a child of God’s life. (Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 58). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.; Turner, M. (1994). Ephesians. In D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, & G. J. Wenham (Eds.), New Bible commentary: 21st century edition (4th ed., p. 1243). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.) Instructions for Christian living says, “You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard of Him and were taught in Him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:20-24)
- The Breastplate of Righteousness: This piece of armor was made of metal, chains or leather which covered the body from the neck to the waist both front and back. It symbolizes the Christian’s righteousness in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21) as well as the child of God’s life being lived in Christ (Ephesians 4:24). The life we live either fortifies us against Satan or it opens us up to Satan’s attacks. (Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 58). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.) The breastplate protected the soldier’s chest from an enemy’s attack, the breastplate of God’s righteousness guards the believer’s heart. James tells us, “Submit yourself to God. Resist the Devil and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you.” (James 4:7-8)
- Feet Fitted with Gospel of Peace: Christians are to be prepared and ready to take the Gospel of the Lord out at all times. Romans 10:14-15 says, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.’” Isaiah wrote, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation…” (Isaiah 52:7) Satan has declared war on the souls of mankind and Christians are ambassadors for the Word of God which brings peace to all who trust in God and Jesus Christ.
- Shield of Faith: Paul says, in addition to all that has been mentioned, take up the “shield (thureon -θυρεον) of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one [Satan].” (Ephesians 6:16) The word faith (πίστις pístis) means the conviction that God exists and is the creator and ruler of all things at all times, the provider of our needs and bestower of eternal salvation through Jesus Christ. (Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.) Satan seems fine with his up and coming destruction and he is working hard to take with him as many souls as possible. (Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Vol. 4, p. 144). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.) The child of God who holds the shield of faith lives a life which proclaims, “For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.” (Psalm 5:12) Christians who stand firm on Biblical faith trust in God’s character regarding His love for them, not on their present circumstances.
- The Helmet of Salvation: Our eternal salvation is God’s gift to us as we trust in and maintain our relationship with Jesus Christ. Our salvation from the sinful flesh and our salvation from Satan’s daily attacks is enjoyed through a lengthy process of sanctification. Our sanctification involves the process of sanctifying our minds, taking every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5) The sanctifying of our mind will protect us from intellectual surrender to the world view and enable us to overcome rationalistic doubt of God’s love for us, His provision for us, His protective hand over us and His enabling us to complete the work He has assigned to us. Keeping our minds on the written Word God erases all doubt and calms all fears we may have. We are to remember the Lord’s promises to us and His past faithfulness to us so we may walk faithfully before Him now as well as in the future. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good and pleasing and perfect will.”
- Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God: Greg Laurie wrote, “The one piece of armor that is both offensive and defensive is the sword. When a [soldier] goes into battle, [he does not] beat the enemy with his shield or try to defeat him with his belt, or chase him down with [shoes for readiness], or throws his helmet at him. [He pulls out his] sword and uses it.” When tempted by the flesh, drawn by the world view or overwhelmed by Satan’s lies, Christian’s are kept spiritually healthy and strong by feeding on God’s written Word. In Matthew 4:4 Jesus said, “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” The writer of the book of Hebrews writes, “For the Word of God is living and active. Shaper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to the dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” The Word of God works, therefore, learn it, use it, and meditate upon it so you may overcome Satan and his demons, just as Jesus Christ did when He was tempted. (Matthew 4:1-13; Mark 1:12-13)
Our spiritual battle with Satan and his demons is real and constant. Satan knows our weaknesses and his demons are relentless. God’s armor is the weapons we can use to overcome him and enable us to live a victorious life. This Halloween don’t spend your time judging others on how they observe it, but take the opportunity to introduce people to what is really happening around them all the time. The Book of Ephesians 6:18 hold a closing exhortation, “…pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and request. With this in mind, be alert and always keep praying for the Lord’s people.”