“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”- Ephesians 6:13.
In the Old Testament, there is a whole lot of war and violence very different from what we experience today. For example, Deuteronomy 20 contains God’s instructions about war. If a city does not accept Israel’s offer of peace and open its gates, then “When the Lord your God hands the town over to you, use your swords to kill every man in the town.” (verse 13). With regard to other cities, the command is (verse 16), “…destroy every living thing.”
Ancient society was inherently violent, and because we are being given a truthful account of society, that violence is recounted to us. Few of us are very familiar with battles and the armor worn during Biblical times. Today it is seen only in movies and museums. In Ephesians 6 Paul uses the language of combat in his day because the tension between good and evil is real warfare. Some people today call it spiritual warfare. As Christians, we have a dangerous adversary. Our enemy wants to devour us. Yes, we are at war.
In wartime, everybody is talking about what is going on in the war. People share resources. The war effort touches everybody. We all cut back. We correspond on a regular basis with loved ones in harm’s way. Everybody is alert and focused. Everyone is armed and vigilant the newspapers carry headlines about how the troops are doing. It is hard to consider the spiritual war in the same light as World War 2. Very few people think that we are now in a war greater than World War II, or that Satan is a much worse enemy than any dictator or terrorist. Or that the conflict is related to several areas, not the entire globe.
Just like a soldier that is on patrol behind enemy lines needs to stay alert, watchful, and always looking for any sign that the enemy is close by, so must Christians be watchful for any sign that Satan is close by, hiding and preparing to pounce on them. Jesus instructed His disciple to “Watch & Pray”. The truth is that we need more than just physical eyes to recognize the activities of Satan – we also need spiritual eyes. Your ability to recognize the activities of the devil will be proportionable to the strength of your prayer life.
We cannot live as if we are defenseless. We cannot allow ourselves to be unaware of Satan’s schemes. We cannot allow fear and anxiety to get the best of us, and we must pray to be strong and courageous. God has just given us directions through His Word on how we should fight and defend ourselves. When Satan has a stronghold, it will not be easy. You will see how Satan can undermine your faith and could possibly put thoughts in your mind that do not honor God.
We simply must create in ourselves and in our churches a wartime mentality. The Bible outlines this battle for us and explains what our mindset should be when it states in Ephesians 6:11-12: “Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
- Who is our enemy and how does he attack us?
- How should we respond to his attacks?