Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. – Ephesians 6:10-11
The Word clearly states that we are not to be ignorant of Satan’s devices – yet many remain ignorant, allowing Satan to continually destroy their homes, steal their possessions, and ruin their health while they helplessly wonder what they did wrong. The reason for this is that many Christians do not know that they have been given authority over all the power of the enemy to prevent his attacks. And for some, when they become aware of their authority, they fail to exercise it.
We must face the fact that we need to prepare ourselves and be ready to confront the many demonic challenges constantly confronting us. Before I get into the arena of spiritual warfare, deliverance, and our authority to resist Satan, we must remember one thing – Satan has had more than two thousand years of experience in persecuting and tormenting Christians. If you go into battle to resist Satan without the full armor of God, you are defeated before you start. This is what is happening to a huge number of Christians every day. They try to do battle with the spiritual forces of evil without first taking up the armor of God.
The armor required to battle Satan may not be comfortable to put on, but it is very necessary if we want to be effective. It’s not a call to war, but a declaration to live in victory. Paul’s instructions to the Ephesians, and us, about the armor are very specific and powerful:
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. -Ephesians 6:13-18 (NLT)
The Belt of Truth
“Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth.” A Roman soldier in Paul’s day wore a leather girdle around his waist to protect his loins and to carry weapons, such as a sword. A policeman today also has weapons attached to his belt that he would never go on patrol without, for if he did he would not be able to engage in defending the public. The belt holds the weapons in place close to the body. The belt can be likened to our integrity, honesty, and truth. Speaking truth is speaking God’s Word. When we declare and confess the Word, we are putting on the belt of truth.
The Breastplate of Righteousness
Putting on the breastplate of righteousness is important because Satan always goes after a man’s heart and his conscience. Our righteousness in Christ will defeat Satan every time. It is one of God’s attributes imputed to us upon salvation. Our filthiness is exchanged for His righteousness. The breastplate gives us confidence and assurance in the process of sanctification.
Shoes of Peace
“For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully protected.” The peace of God gives you a firm footing. Many believers walk around without peace, miserably believing that’s part of their cross to bear in life. None of us are immune to trials and tribulations. Darkness and fear attack all of us. But we must be careful not to confess or express all our fears. The enemy looks for our expressions of doubt and fear so he can have a right to attack us. We must instead confess God’s Word and stand firm in our peace. It is a necessary part of the armor. Peace of mind in the midst of trouble is warfare at its best. It is a position we must take. God has promised to never forsake us. Christ gave us His peace.
The Shield of Faith
“Hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.” Our faith is a shield from all of the enemy’s fiery darts and assaults. The shield of faith is God’s sovereign omnipresence in our life. God is “your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” (Genesis 15:1) God requires our daily dependence upon and communion with Him and His Spirit. Just like food, it becomes our daily sustenance and our very life. We must hold up our shield of faith every day and confess and declare our union with Christ. He is our covering.
The Helmet of Salvation
“Put on salvation as your helmet.” The purpose of a helmet is to protect our heads. The purpose of our biblical helmet as part of our armor is to protect our mind from the lies of the enemy. We are in a spiritual war. God knows that without constant surveillance of our thoughts, we can become double-minded, and God hates double-mindedness. A mind controlled by the Spirit of God produces life and peace. (Romans 8:6-7) We keep the devil’s thoughts out of our minds by putting on the mind of Christ. We do this by studying and meditating on the Word. Christ Jesus is our salvation. This piece of the armor, the helmet of salvation, is also Christ in us.
The Sword of the Spirit
“Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Taking in the Word is taking in spiritual food. Without it we will remain anemic, debilitated, and unable to life up the sword of the Spirit to confront the intruding enemy. No Word, no power! More Word, more confidence and fire in our bones. The living Word is an offensive weapon. The moment we lift up the sword of the Spirit and speak a biblical verse into an adverse situation, the enemy has to take his hands off. This kind of belief takes fearlessness and practice.
We need to speak to our mountains. I have heard the expression, “Don’t say ‘my God I have big problems,” but rather say, “Problems I have a big God.” We must use our swords every day. Make sure all the other parts of our armor are in place. Our spiritual man must be in order and ready for the battle. It’s easier than you might think. It takes a willingness to surrender all to Jesus. Living by faith and believing God must become a lifestyle. Only then will we enjoy peace and victory in this life. The applied Word of God heals and restores as it penetrates deeply, removing all the garbage inflicted by past experiences and false teachings.
The person of the Holy Spirit is the one wielding our sword of the Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit we have no effective sword. We must be controlled by the Spirit to be effective in warfare. Satan has to retreat when we appropriately use the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.
Pray in the Spirit
“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” Prayer is what keeps this entire armor in place. Without prayer and communication with God we become loners, separated from God and His love. As we remain in relationship with Christ, connected with the Holy Spirit, clothed in God’s armor, and committed to a prayer lifestyle, we become invincible in the face of the enemy. No evil force can remain in our atmosphere. Perseverance in prayer will help conquer the lustful desires of our flesh. Without consistent fervent prayers, we will not be able to win our battles. The prayers of a righteous man or woman are powerful and effective. (James 5:16) Our powerful prayers will cause God to perform His Word in our lives.
In simple words, the armor described in Ephesians 6 is Jesus Christ in us. We are transformed by the Word of God. The Word is so powerful that it can transform a degenerate man into a new man. It can take someone like me, in bondage to drugs and alcohol, wallowing in resentment, anger, and guilt, lying, cheating, and stealing just to get high, and make me new. Free. This is impossible with human power or influence. Peter confirmed this when he wrote, “Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the Word of God, which lives and abides forever.” (1 Peter 1:23)
THE CHRISTIAN VERSUS EVIL SPIRITS
Deliverance from evil spirits is one of the most controversial subjects among Christians. The question on people’s minds is, “Can a Christian be possessed by demons?” Possession is when a demon acts from within an individual to agitate them, driving their behavior and their personality. Every believer is a temple of the Holy Spirit. We are owned by God. The Holy Spirit is greater than the devil. Therefore, it is clear that a demon can never own or possess us. It is important, however, to note that Christians can be oppressed, burdened, and afflicted by demons.
The enemy would like nothing better than for us to believe that demons cannot influence the life of a born-again believer. This is one of Satan’s subtle ways of deceiving people. He causes Christians to believe they are immune to demonic attack. Satan uses his demons to wreck their lives in the process. Many Christians live under different states of fear, oppression, bondage, sickness, poverty, or total defeat. God ordained for believers to live under the faith covenant and to enjoy peace, love, joy, divine health, abundance, and victory. Nothing can be found in the Word to confirm that all evil spirits are expelled automatically when a person receives salvation. The demons in a person’s body at the time of salvation are forced to flee.
When the believer strives for a deeper walk with God, demons can become active according to the person’s degree of commitment, and will cause problems until they are finally driven out. Demons do not want a person to become a Christian in the first place, much less see them commit to the Lord all the way. The devil does not want a believer to become an overcomer who will resist them, but they don’t seem to mind a carnal Christian. Yes, demons can and do cause believers to become defeated by attacking their soul, mind, and body, but God has provided weapons of spiritual warfare to counteract every attack of the enemy.
It is unfortunate that many in the Body of Christ have a defeated attitude in the face of the enemy who rules this world. It is time to listen to what God is saying to His church, “Rule in the midst of Your enemies.” (Psalms 110:2) If we continue displaying a defeated attitude, we will not be able to conquer the enemy. He will remain in our territory, and we will continue to suffer in a great way. But as we exercise our authority in Christ, we become an overcomer – a strong and valiant soldier in God’s army. God has given us the power and the choice to walk in freedom so that we can place all of our possessions out of the control of Satan. In order to remain free, we must abide by God’s Word and believe what it says – that we “are more than conquerors.” (Romans 8:37)
JESUS DIED TO DEFEAT SATAN
When Jesus died on the cross, He not only shed His blood for our sins and suffered His stripes for our healing, but He also totally defeated Satan. At this time Jesus transferred His authority over Satan to every believer on this earth. We must use this delegated power to keep Satan and his demons out of our lives so that we can readily adhere to God’s directions through the Holy Spirit. God is the eternal power over the enemy, and He made this power available to us through Jesus. But if we do not use this power, we cannot expect to receive many blessings. Jesus defeated Satan and his demons on the cross, but their full sentence has not been carried out yet. Lucifer’s day of reckoning is coming. God gave us, as believers, the privilege and the responsibility of announcing to Satan and his demons their defeat in our lives.
Never despair that this evil world is out of God’s control. It only appears to be that way. “He works all things according to the counsel of His will.” (Ephesians 1:11) The existence of random evil does not mean that life is absurd and meaningless. Never yield to the thought that God sins or is ever unjust or unrighteous in the way that He governs the universe. “The Lord is righteous in all His ways.” (Psalm 145:17) When we renounce the designs of the devil and trust the power and wisdom and goodness of God through Christ, and put on the whole armor of God, we become a part of Christ’s victory. “…and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false profit were, and they will be tormented day and night forever.” (Revelation 20:7)