How do we move forward with courage into the spiritual battles we face? Going into any battle can be intimidating and scary. I honestly don’t know how our American soldiers do it, but I am so grateful for their courage and sacrifice. It is because of their bravery and diligence that we have the privilege of living in a free country.
I admit that sometimes my first reaction to conflict or pain is to withdraw from it; to escape to a safer, more comfortable situation. But when it comes to spiritual matters we cannot afford to run from it or pretend it doesn’t exist.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
Having courage doesn’t mean we aren’t scared or intimidated. True courage means we step right into the fear and although we may be afraid, we choose to fight anyway. It is comforting to know that we can be strong and courageous because we don’t have to rely on our own strength. We can trust in God’s mighty power.
“Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” Ephesians [6:10]
He has given us the full armor of God and He tells us numerous times to put on all of it. If you have been walking with Jesus for a while then you have probably read about the armor of God in the book of Ephesians. I truly believe that Ephesians [6:10]-18 is one of the most important passages for Believers to know if they are going to successfully navigate through spiritual warfare. Paul calls it “the body armor of God’s righteousness”. I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to be on a battlefield, I want some of that body armor! I encourage you to carefully and thoughtfully read this passage.
“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. 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 [6:10]-18 (emphasis added)
God has given us clear instructions to put on all of this armor for our protection. He has also given us a shield (our faith) and a powerful weapon (the Word of God). It is up to us to be good soldiers and use what He has so graciously given us. I confess I have failed to do this consistently. As I write this, the Holy Spirit convicts me that I need to put these words into practice more often.
Something else God has shown me recently that I feel is so important to remember is that spiritual battles are not fought with human wisdom or worldly weapons.
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 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 Corinthians 10:3-5)
Demolish. That is a powerful word. Let us not take for granted the power God has through us. This power is strong enough to demolish strongholds. A synonym for stronghold is fortress; a fortified place. The only way to take control of a fortress is through the mighty power of God. Human effort and cleverness will never bring down a fortress. Never. It must be through spiritual weapons or we will fail, despite how noble our intentions may be.
It is so interesting to me that after all this talk about fighting with spiritual weapons and demolishing strongholds, Paul suddenly mentions taking our thoughts captive. Because isn’t it true that our battleground is our mind? That is why all of the body armor listed in Ephesians 6 is really thought armor.
It is on the battlefield of the mind that we gain freedom (through the Truth of Christ) or become a prisoner (though the lies of the enemy). No amount of human effort will guard our minds against Satan’s schemes. Here is a short summary of how to protect ourselves spiritually.
•Rely on God’s strength and not our own (Ephesians [6:10])
•Put on the whole armor of God; Every. Single. Piece. (Ephesians [6:13])
•Use our Shield of Faith (Ephesians [6:16])
•Learn to use our sword, the Word of God, our only offensive weapon (Ephesians [6:27])
•Take our thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
My prayer for you today is that you would put on the full Armor of God knowing that the strongholds in your own life can be demolished by God’s mighty power, never by your own effort. I pray that we, as soldiers for Christ, would not retreat but that we would stand and fight. Be encouraged friends! God is bigger than the battles we face.