Wednesday afternoon I wrote Don’t Fall For a Cheap Substitute where I espoused that Satan deceives people by offering a clever imitation of the real thing. And literally that evening while in Bible study, the “father of lies” began to throw his fiery darts at me, and he kept it up all day yesterday. Thankfully the Holy Spirit showed me what was happening, and I opened up God’s Word. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” (1 Peter 5:6-10)
The lies I was listening told me to shut myself off from my sisters in Christ. All I wanted to do was to be left alone. The enemy who “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” intended to get me alone. It is in community where we can encourage one another and lift each other up. That’s not a place where our enemy wants us. Lions attack victims who are alone or not alert. Peter warns us to watch out for the enemy and keep our eyes on Christ. I was reminded to take these thoughts captive. “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:5)
Letting God have your anxieties calls for action, not passivity. We are called to not submit to our circumstances, but to the Lord who controls the circumstances. Satan is a vicious fighter, but Jesus has the victory, and through our faith in Him, we have the victory, too. As Christians, we are His heirs and members of His church. “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (Matt. 16:18)
I surrendered my thoughts to the Lord, and humbled myself before Him. I reached out to people and asked for their intercessory prayers. I felt the prayers and then I dug further into God’s Word. To withstand the enemy’s attacks, we must depend on God’s strength and use every piece of His armor. We face a powerful army of demons whose goal is to defeat Christ’s church, and to turn us back to sin. God has provided us with supernatural power through the Holy Spirit within us and His armor surrounding us.
We are told to be alert for spiritual enemies that might slip in and threaten to destroy us whether by divisions, pride, sin, disorder or erroneous theology. “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.” (1 Cor. 16:13-14) We are to stand firm in the gospel that brings us salvation; to be courageous to stand against false teachers and to deal with sin; to be strong with the strength given to us by the Holy Spirit, and to do everything in love, otherwise we will be no more than prideful noisemakers.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:10-13)
The Belt of Truth involves two places: our hearts and our minds. Truth keeps us secure in Christ and makes effective all the other pieces of armor and holds the armor in place. “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,” We need to walk in the light of God’s truth: “Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth;” (Ps. 86:11)
The Breastplate of Righteousness: “Stand firm then… with the breastplate of righteousness in place,” The devil is constantly attacking us with lies, accusations and reminders of past sin. Without the breastplate of righteousness these will penetrate our hearts. We must become aware of who we are in Christ and come boldly into His presence. “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” (Hebrews 4:16)
The Shoes (of Peace and Preparation): “and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” Shoes allow us to step freely and without fear while we turn our full attention to the battle at hand. Shoes aid us in our movement and defense, and propel us onward to proclaim the true peace, which is only available in Christ Jesus.
The Shield of Faith not only defends our whole body, but also our armor. “In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” The shield of faith has a very specific function: to quench ALL of the fiery darts of the wicked.
The Helmet of Salvation: “Take the helmet of salvation” Satan targets our minds (thoughts) and the weapon he uses is lies. He wants to cause us to doubt God and our salvation. The helmet protects our minds from doubting God’s saving work in us. “But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation.” (1 Thess. 5:8)
The Sword of the Spirit is the only weapon of offense in the armor, but the Word is also a tool for defense. “Take… the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Strongholds, arguments and thoughts are all weapons the enemy uses against us. With the Sword of the Spirit (His Word) we are equipped to deal with them all. Trust and have confidence in the truth of God’s Word. Get a hunger and desire for it.
Prayer: “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. And ask others to pray with and for you, as you will do for them. “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matt 18:20)