Spiritual Warfare: A Call to Arms
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
Warren Wiersbe aptly explained, “the Christian life is a battleground not a playground.” Christians have a Prince of Peace, but war and peace are a part of everyday life for saints on earth. Peace is not the absence of conflict but the confidence and tranquility one has in Christ while facing conflict. Spiritual warfare is the oldest war and the most important. Not only are lives at stake, but the destiny of eternal souls. According to the book of Revelation God will win – victory is assured. The only choice we have is which side are we going to chose to be on and fight.
Preparation for Battle
Need for Strength
To strengthen oneself for battle is not merely being able to lift heavy waits or run fast and far. Strength lies not in ourselves but in our preparedness. No Roman soldier would dream of going into battle without being equipped and ready for action. The unprepared soldier is often a dead one. Our own strength is not sufficient to face the foes described in verse twelve. We need help from the Lord. He has powerful armor we can wear to protect and give the power needed to stand against our foes.
Source of Strength
The source of the Christian combatants strength is “in the Lord.” When David was threatened by his own subjects, he “strengthened himself in the Lord his God” (1 Sam. 30:6). When Paul was all alone in Rome facing judgment before Nero, he had confidence because “the Lord stood with me and strengthened me” (2 Tim. 4:17a). He told the church at Philippi, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).
Our strength is also “in the power of His might.” Jesus defeated Satan at the cross. “Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it” (Col. 2:15). God is the Almighty. Therefore, “if God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31).
Put On Battle Gear: put on the whole armor of God
When David went out to fight Goliath, he did so without armor. King Saul offered his armor to David but it did not fit, and he had not been trained in its use. He put his trust in the same God who helped to face a lion and a bear. Today, we cannot put our faith in ourselves or carnal means to fight a spiritual foe. We need the armor of God.
It is the armor of God because it is the armor which He provides. God is not going to send us into battle unarmed or ill-equipped. This armor was forged on the anvils of Heaven. It is also referenced as the armor of light (Rom. 13:12); and the armor of righteousness (2 Cor. 6:7). It is not carnal but spiritual in nature(2 Cor. 10:4).
Isaiah 11:5 – Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, and faithfulness the belt of His waist.
Isaiah 59:17 – For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head; He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak.
Isaiah 52:7 – How beautiful upon the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
Isaiah 21:5 – Prepare the table, Set a watchman in the tower, Eat and drink. Arise, you princes, Anoint the shield!
Isaiah 49:2 – And He has made My mouth like a sharp sword; In the shadow of His hand He has hidden Me, And made Me a polished shaft; in His quiver He has hidden Me.”
If this armor is good enough for God to wear into battle, then it is good enough for us.
The phrase “put on” carries the idea of something done once and for all time. Put this armor on and keep it on permanently. Paul commands Christians to put this armor on. He did not say all that we need to do is research each piece.
Also of interest is the Greek term for “armor”. It is panoplia from which comes our English word “panoply.” It is a compound word pan meaning “all” and opla meaning tools or weapons. It means a complete set of armor or weapons. One cannot take the shield of faith and leave off the belt of truth. Any piece of the armor left off exposes the Christian to a clear and present danger.
Purpose of Strength and Battle Gear: that you may be able to stand
By putting on the complete set of armor from God, the Christian has the power to make a stand against the foes of righteousness. It is common in Paul’s vocabulary. He uses it to describe Christian perseverance. In a military since, it has the idea of standing firm and holding one’s ground. Eadie defines it as, “to stand in front of with the view of opposing.” The word “stand” is used four times in verses ten through thirteen. The Christian is to “stand…having fastened…having put on….having fitted…having taken up.”
Weak Christians cannot make a stand. They fall in battle to trials and temptations. Christians do not have to be casualties of spiritual warfare. They will stand till the end if they realize the danger to their souls, recognize the power of the enemy, put on all the armor God has provided, train themselves in its use, and get out of their comfort zone being militant and not pacifist in the fight.
– Daniel R. Vess
You Might Still be a Babe in Christ…
… if you fail to listen to the sermon because you feel that it does not apply to you.
…if the Bible Class teacher has to tell you to do your lesson before you come to class.
…if the preacher has to remind you every Sunday to bring your Bible to worship.
…if you think the amen at the end of the closing prayer means “worship is over; let’s go home!”
…if you are still asking “do I have to come to every service of the church, like Sunday night and Wednesdays?”
…if you use hypocrites to excuse your failure as a Christian.
…if you are easily offended when someone admonishes you
…if you continue to pray: “Lord give me patience, and give it to me RIGHT NOW!”
…if someone mentions “fellowship” and all you can think about is coffee and donuts.
…if you still become jealous over the success of others.
…if you spend more time looking at the clock or your watch than the PowerPoint.
…if you pray for much needed rain but do not have faith enough to bring an umbrella.
…if when you’re sick and cannot attend or out of town on a weekend you just pocket the Lord’s money.
…if you believe you do not need the Lord’s church in order to make it to heaven.
– by Daniel R. Vess