Christians are fighting a daily battle. Not against flesh and blood, but against the powers of darkness. Believers do battle with fallen angels called demons, lead by the chief enemy of God, Satan. These enemies of God and of ours attack believers on a consistent basis. What can Christians do to arm themselves against these spiritual attacks? How can a believer fight off theses spiritual attacks? God has provided a way. It is found in the Word of God – the Bible – and it is there that we can “armor up”, so to speak, against the Prince of the Power of the Air (Satan).
The Armor of God
We are told that we must put on the armor of God to be able to defend ourselves against the schemes of the Devil (Eph. 6:9). Paul, having been under arrest so often by the Roman authorities, was highly familiar with the Roman Soldier’s apparel. He thought it was the perfect analogy for the Christian in their fight against the invisible enemy of darkness. The Bible describes just what the armor of God is in Ephesians 6:10-17:
“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. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
The Belt of Truth
The Belt of Truth is the belt that fastens up the believer in the only truth there is in this world. Jesus Christ is the truth, the life, and the way (John 14:6). There is no other truth that is more absolute than the Word of God (the Bible). We can put it this way: Jesus is the Word and the Word is Jesus (John 1:1,14). The truth is something that we can stand firm on knowing that God can not lie and has promised to deliver us and not one of us will be lost (John 6:37, 10:28-29). We can stand firm if we are in Christ (II Cor. 1:21). Paul says that we stand firm only “with the belt of truth buckled around your waist”(Eph 6:14). The Roman soldier had a belt and when he prepared for battle, he girded up his loins with his belt. That is he pulled up his long garment and tucked it in so that he could more easily do battle with the enemy, not trip over his clothing, and not be encumbered by his accessories. This enabled his to stand firm and hold his ground to fight. The truth will not only set you free, but it allows us to be on guard, to be courageous, and to be strong (I Cor. 16:13). The world can not buckle this belt because they do not have the truth.
The Breastplate of Righteousness
The Breastplate of Righteousness is the righteousness that comes from our faith in Christ. It is truly the righteousness of Christ that has been imputed to us on account of His righteousness. If we had our righteousness to protect us we would be in great danger. Fortunately, Jesus Christ’s righteousness is imputed to those who trust in Him as it says in Hebrews 10:10,14; “we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.“ The world does not have this and so they have no defense against wicked spirits. When we are born-again, the literal translation means “born from above.” The meaning is clear; we are born of God by the Holy Spirit to be a possession of His forever. We are only given this grace by the placing of our sins on Christ Himself and we are accounted righteous before God because of the perfect sacrifice of the Lamb of God. The wrath of God has been removed and when we stand before God He will declare us “not guilty” because our Advocate has paid for our sins with His own life. Those who are not saved do not have this breastplate to protect themselves on the day of judgment; the Great White Throne Judgment that is coming for those who do not believe in Jesus (Rev. 20).
The Sandals of Peace
The so-called Sandals of Peace is the readiness and inner-peace that comes from knowing that “He Himself is our peace” (Eph. 2:14-15). It is called the “gospel of peace” for this reason (Eph. 6:15). Christians are at peace with God because “we have been justified through faith” (Rom 5:1). We have this peace with God only through our Lord Jesus Christ. Before we were saved we were enemies of God as Paul attests to in Romans 5:10, “For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” John 14:27 shows us this peace that comes from Christ, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.“ The world can not have this peace as it says in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
The Shield of Faith
The Shield of Faith is a must to fight off the fiery darts from the devil (Eph. 6:16). Shields in the 1st century were a combination of cloth and wood. These shields were then soaked in oil. This oil was not a flammable oil but an oil that would quench the flaming arrows that were frequently used during battles. The oil could easily represent the Holy Spirit. The shield of faith is the faith that is placed in Jesus Christ. There is no greater faith in all the universe. If it were our faith, then this shield could easily be penetrated by doubts and fears, for alone we are no match for the Devil and his fallen angles (demons). However, when a person places their faith in Christ, this means that they place their full assurance in Christ; they fully rely on, they totally lean upon, and have a complete trust in Christ Himself. Non-believers have only their own faith to protect them. It is a frail, feeble, untrustworthy faith – a worldly faith. It is a hope-so faith and not a know-so faith that is only found in Jesus Christ (Gal. 2:20). The world’s faith at best can only be in their job, in their bank account, in their stocks or retirement funds. The faith that believers have in Christ is secure and eternal and no moths, rust, or decay can touch it – it is safe from robbers nor can any stock market crash effect it (Matt 6:19-21).
The Helmet of Salvation
The Helmet of Salvation goes over the head. I believe it is meant to protect the knowledge of the security of our salvation. This helmet fits over the head and therefore covers the intellect. Not only can the devil not take our life (Job 1:20) but he can not touch our imperishable crown. Everything on this earth is perishable but the imperishable crown is protected for eternity as Paul says in I Corinthians 9:25, “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” The knowledge of our salvation should help us endure the afflictions and persecutions of this world. Paul is encouraging us by writing in II Corinthians 4:16-18, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” Isn’t this a wonderful thing to know? We are secured for eternity and it is not temporary like that of the world. It is eternal and makes the temporary troubles seem trivial in comparison (Rom 8:18).
The Helmet of Salvation (this knowledge) should help a believe when they start having doubts about their own salvation, if they are truly saved or not, or to think that they are not worthy to be saved. The enemy will use doubts and self-condemnation to attack the believer that does not have this helmet. One way to tell if it is the Holy Spirit convicting a believer or the Devil that is condemning them is that the Holy Spirit will not condemn but convict. The Devil will put in thoughts into the believe mind that they are not worthy, or that they are just pretending to be a Christian but really aren’t one. That is the enemies tactic and why it is so important to have the Helmet of Salvation adorned. Those who are not Christ’s own can not wear this helmet since they do not have this knowledge.
The Sword of the Spirit
The Sword of the Spirit is the only offensive weapon that the Christian has at their disposal to fight off the enemy. Jesus used the Word of God (Scripture) to resist and fight off the Devil in the Temptation in the Wilderness. In Luke chapter 4, Jesus is tempted by the Devil. In Luke 4:3-4, “The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.” Again in verses 5-8, “The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.” Finally in verses 9-12, “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written: “He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”
Three times the Devil tried to tempt Jesus and each time Jesus used the Word of God. The best defense against temptation is a good offense and the offensive weapon is the Sword of the Spirit (the Word of God – the Bible). Putting it this way, if you get into the Word of God, the Word of God will get into you. I heard a pastor once say, “Show me a worn out Bible and I’ll show you a strong Christian.” David knew the value of hiding the Word of God in his heart. It helped him endure for so many years running for his life from King Saul. The Devil knows the truth but he hates it. When you feel temptations coming on or feel spiritual attacks hitting you, then reading or praying back Scripture is the most effective weapon there is. The Word of God is the very power of God Himself. It is alive, active, and powerful. The unsaved do not have this at their disposal.
Satan actually has ministers and many of them are behind the pulpits. Even the Devil can appear as an angel of light. Paul says that there are “false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness” (II Cor 11:13-14). Paul was “afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough” (II Cor. 11:3-4).
Any church that does not preach about the divinity of Christ, that He came in the flesh, was born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, and shed His blood to redeem fallen humans on the cross of Calvary is a false gospel and is not from God ( I John 2:22-23, II John 1:7-11).
Satan’s Prime Targets
Satan does not concern himself with the world. He is not interested in them because they are already headed down the broad path of destruction. Those who do not believe in Christ do not need persuasion to sin. They are already held captive by the god of this world (II Cor 4:4). He also may not waste much time attacking so called carnal Christians. Those believers who live in a way that is not growing in grace, in holiness, and in the knowledge of the Lord God are no threat to the Devil. No, those who Satan sees as his arch enemies are those who are trying to live a holy life. He particularly hates those who are sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. Even though he has already been defeated, he focuses his energy and sends his demons against those who are actively proclaiming Jesus Christ as the one and only way to heaven.
Spiritual attacks seem to most frequently occur at times of personal growth in the believer, when a Christian is overcoming a major sin or addiction, and when they are sharing their faith in Jesus Christ with others. We give far too much credit to the Devil. Remember that he was a created being and can never be God’s equal. Neither is he omnipresent; that is he can not be in different places at the same time. He is not omniscient either so he can not know your heart or mind like God can. He has been defeated by Jesus Christ and Satan can do only what God allows or permits him to do and not one bit more. He is within God’s sovereignty in everything he does (Job 1).
I believe that spiritual attacks may be on the increase. Christians feel that the way this world is going that they may be living in the last days before Jesus Christ returns. Although no one knows the day nor the hour of His return, we can clearly see the signs (Matt. 24). Satan must also realize that his time is running out before Jesus Christ returns to bind him and toss him into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:10). If you are not a believe in Jesus Christ, your fate will be sealed on the day of His return (Rev. 20:12). Today it is still not too late to come to saving faith in Jesus Christ (II Cor 6:2). If you are not a believer in Him, then you will have the same ending as the Devil himself – but for those who have been saved by grace through faith, they have already won the victory over sin, over death, and over the Devil. There’s victory in Jesus, but only death -eternal death – by rejecting Him. I pray you will join the other victors to live for eternity with God in the joy of fellowship and relationship. It will be the end of death, sorrow, pain, and suffering, but just the beginning of an everlasting joy that can not even be described (Rom 8:18).