Personal Note: Due to a computer crash, cause yet undetermined and unclear whether I will be able to retrieve the information on the hard drive, and a recurring painful health issue, there has been a gap in my posting. I had hoped to reclaim the information from my computer hard drive, but I had to rewrite this Reflection. So sorry for the delay, but here at last is the “conclusion.” I am sure the Lord has more to say about the subject for a later time, but this will end the current series. ~ Syandra
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
“Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—” Ephesians 6:10-18.
wiles: methodeia (meth-od-i’-ah); Strong’s #3180: cunning arts, deceit, craft, trickery
principalities: arche (ar-khay’); Strong’s #746: chief, beginning, origin; the person or thing that commences, the first person or thing in a series, the leader; the first place…of angels and demons
powers: exousia (ex-oo-see’-ah); Strong’s #1849: the power of authority; the power of rule or government; the power of him whose will and commands must be submitted to by others and obeyed
rulers: kosmokrator (kos-mok-fat-ore); Strong’s #2888: a world ruler, an epithet of Satan; lord of the world, prince of this age; the devil and his demons
darkness: skotos (skot’-os); Strong’s #4655: darkened eyesight or blindness; metap. a. of ignorance respecting divine things and human duties, and the accompanying ungodliness and immorality together with their consequent misery in hell; b. persons in whom darkness becomes visible and holds sway
wickedness: poneria (pon-ay-ree’-ah); Strong’s #4189: depravity, iniquity, wickedness; malice; evil purposes and desires
OUR BATTLE IS NOT AGAINST FLESH AND BLOOD
Understanding that our battle is not against flesh and blood is one of the most important keys to victory, and that is why Paul took such care to tell us who is our real enemy. This is a truth that the modern Church largely forgot, did not preach or teach about, and virtually ignored for over 60 years. The Western Church, especially, bought into satan’s lie that demons do not operate on the earth today. Such an idea was ridiculed by believers and unbelievers alike. Pentecostals were sneered at and mocked for believing in the baptism of the Holy Spirit, a literal devil, the operation of demons, and spiritual warfare. “Sophisticated" Christians were embarrassed by their Pentecostal brethren. Becoming a Christian came to mean “get your ticket to heaven,” rather than to bring the will of God to the earth. Rather than being a distinctive voice of the ways and will of God, shaping the culture, the Church became an echo of its surroundings, being shaped itself by the prevailing culture around it.
The devil is smart, cunning, and shrewd, and he’s had thousands of years learning how man thinks. And the demons he has assigned to us have been studying us all our lives. They know our weaknesses and strengths. They know our vulnerabilities. They have seen us be loved and they have seen us be rejected, mistreated, abused, and hurt. While they cannot read our mind, they are keen observers of our reactions, and when we leave a door open they swiftly swoop in to take advantage. They help turn hurt and disappointment into unforgiveness and bitterness. They turn the desire to be loved into promiscuous behavior. Never underestimate the devil and his fallen angels. While they are stupid when it comes to understanding and dealing with God, they are very smart when it comes to understanding what motivates the flesh of man, beginning with unfallen man in the Garden of Eden. They live to kill, steal, and destroy us; they are relentless. They don’t get tired, and they don’t play fair. They lie, cheat, and deceive. They offer us sugar-coated poison and can even masquerade as angels of light. Demons don’t take holidays, and they don’t give free passes.
All of this should not scare us—unless we are not prepared for their attacks. If we know we are in a spiritual war and are dressed in our armor of God, we have absolutely nothing to fear. Jesus, our Lord and Savior, the King of kings and Lord of Lords, has given us His authority over the enemy.
“Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you” Luke 10:19.
If we don’t know we have this authority or if we choose not to use it, there is nothing to stop the enemy from doing what he wants to do. But if we know and use our authority over him, the enemy can be kept in check and even defeated. However, this authority cannot be used apart from the whole armor of God. After watching Paul heal the sick and do miracles in Ephesus, the seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, decided to cast a demon out of a man.
"And the evil spirit answered and said, 'Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?' Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded” Acts 19:15-16.
They were not properly prepared to encounter the demon; they had no authority over him, and they paid a price. When we are not properly prepared, we also pay a price. Paul tells us to put on the whole armor of God “so that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
If we put on the whole armor of God, we will continue to stand until God gives the victory.
Which Piece or Pieces of Our Armor Could We Leave Off?
Can We Do Without the Belt of truth?
"Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” John 14:6.
“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free’” John 8:31-32.
“Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” John 17:17.
Without the truth, the Word of God, we have no firm foundation, no freedom, no sanctification. We have no protection from the attacks of the enemy. So this is a piece of armor we cannot afford to leave off.
Can We Do Without the Breastplate of Righteousness?
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” 2 Corinthians 5:21.
Satan had no legal right to attack Jesus, because Jesus was sinless; so when he did, he found nothing in Him to justify the attack.
“I will not speak with you much longer, for the ruler of the world (Satan) is coming. And he has no claim on Me [no power over Me nor anything that he can use against Me];” John 14:30 AMP.
Satan had no option but to leave Jesus when Jesus told him to leave Him in the wilderness. He had no power or authority over Jesus then and he has no power or authority over Jesus now. Satan is all too happy to remind us just how imperfect we are. He is the accuser, and we know we are not perfect and sinless in practice, so we often agree with satan’s lies that God cannot use us to further His Kingdom. When we agree with satan’s lies, he successfully puts us on the sidelines, out of the battle, and the Kingdom of God suffers by our absence.
But the truth is if we have received Jesus, we are forgiven, and those sins, all our sins, past, present, and future, have been washed away by the blood of the Lamb. The truth is when God looks at us, He sees us clothed in the righteousness of Jesus, and He is well-pleased. It is the righteousness of Jesus that gives us authority over satan, not our own righteousness. So we dare not leave off the breastplate of His righteousness.
Can We Do Without the Shoes of the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace?
“For this is how much God loved the world—he gave his one and only, unique Son as a gift. So now everyone who believes in him will never perish but experience everlasting life. God did not send his Son into the world to judge and condemn the world, but to be its Savior and rescue it! So now there is no longer any condemnation for those who believe in him, but the unbeliever already lives under condemnation because they do not believe in the name of God’s beloved Son” John 3:16-18 TPT.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is our foundation: Knowing that God loved us so much He sent Jesus; knowing Jesus loved us so much He came to die for us and rescue us from condemnation and hell; knowing He has made us children of the Father, and that we are loved with an everlasting love. Satan hates the gospel and does everything he can to distort it, squelch it, and stamp it out. Jesus warned us in advance that “in the world you will face tribulation.” Satan tells us that if God REALLY loves us, He wouldn’t let that happen. In other words, he is telling us the gospel of Christ is a lie and Jesus is a fraud. “Kick off those shoes of the gospel of peace; they won’t do you any good,” satan says.
But along with the warning that we will have tribulation in the world, Jesus also assures us that He has overcome the world; and through Him, we are more than overcomers. That is part of the Good News of the Gospel of Peace that is our sure foundation which enables us to stand even during the toughest of trials. Without our shoes of the preparation of the Gospel of Peace, we will slip and slide and be unstable in all our ways. We cannot fight the enemy successfully without them.
Can We Do Without the Shield of Faith?
Faith is essential to our salvation.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of your selves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” Ephesians 2:8-9.
Without faith, we cannot please God.
“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” Hebrews 11:6.
We are saved by faith and we are to walk by faith.
“For we walk by faith, not by sight” 2 Corinthians 5:7.
“…And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” Galatians 2:20.
God uses our faith, our belief, our trust in Him and His Word, as the substance to create what we hope for. Faith is real. It has substance, from which things are made.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” Hebrews 11:1.
Our faith in God and in His Word is what gives us the victory. Faith allows us to see victory when things in the natural are screaming defeat. Faith allows us to hold on until the victory comes. We would be foolish to believe we can live a victorious, overcoming life without faith in God and faith in His Word. Indeed, the battle is over before it begins if we do not have such faith.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” 2 Timothy 4:7.
Faith is essential, but sometimes we feel our faith is weak. What can we do about that?
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” Romans 10:17.
When our faith is struggling, we need to get in the Word and remind ourselves what God has to say about what we are going through. There is no problem too big or too small for God. There is no problem that He doesn’t already have an answer for. We hold on to the Word of God and are strengthened and empowered for victory by it.
“Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible” ~ Corrie Ten Boom.
Our shield of faith quenches all the fiery darts of the enemy. We must keep ourselves surrounded by it!
Can We Do Without the Helmet of Salvation?
When we put on the helmet of salvation, we are putting on both the truth of our salvation (we have been saved, redeemed, healed, and delivered from the kingdom of darkness by the blood of the Lamb into God’s Kingdom) and we are putting on Christ, the Messiah, “who embodies this salvation.”
Just as we have been robed in His righteousness, we are clothed with His salvation.
“For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,” Isaiah 61:10.
We have not just put on His robe of righteousness and His garment of salvation, we have put on HIM, Christ, the Messiah!
“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts” Romans 13:14.
When we put on the helmet of salvation, we are putting on Christ and make no provision for the flesh. Our helmet guards and protects our mind.
“Casting down imaginations and every high thought that exalts itself against the Kingdom of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” 2 Corinthians 10:5-6.
Without salvation, we have no protection from the enemy. And if we do not understand all that our salvation provides for us, we forfeit those benefits. Our minds are under constant attack, both from direct attacks of the enemy and the ungodly, worldly culture we live in. It is dangerous not to be wearing our helmet of salvation.
Can We Do Without the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God?
The Bible contains the Holy Scriptures, the Word (Logos) of God. While the rest of the pieces of the armor seem, at least at first glance, primarily defensive, the sword of the Spirit is more obviously an offensive weapon. Although, of course, it is also used defensively. It is a two -edged sword!
There is also the Rhema word of God, “that timely, Holy Spirit-inspired word from the Logos that brings life, power, and faith to perform and fulfill it.”(1) To live victoriously, we need both the logos and the rhema Word of God operational in our lives. We must have the logos Word in our hearts and minds, and that’s why daily reading the Bible is so important. When we are reading the Word, the Holy Spirit will often “quicken” it to us—it comes alive for us, it speaks to us personally. The Holy Spirit will also often bring to our remembrance and quicken a scripture to us that exactly meets our need at the moment or gives us direction.
Jesus testified the Word of God, the scriptures, to overcome satan in the wilderness, and satan had to flee. We cannot defeat the devil with logic or cunning, and it’s either ignorance or arrogance to think that we can. Satan still has power on the earth because he is still the god of the earth and the kingdom of darkness; but he has no authority over believers who have been translated into the Kingdom of God. We have authority over him, and when we confess or testify the Word, he has no comeback. But without the Word, it is we who are defenseless.
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” Romans 10:17.
Unfortunately, in our busy world, daily reading the Word of God gets pushed down the list of things to do; but it is the word (Logos) of our testimony and the blood of the Lamb that enables us to triumph over satan.
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death” Revelation 12:11.
No wise soldier would go into battle without a weapon, and neither should we. To do so is to invite catastrophe. Remember, the enemy is constantly seeking easy prey.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” 1 Peter 5:8.
We need to stand in our armor and say, "Devil, you may not devour me!"
Our Battle Is in the Spiritual Realm
As we began this study, Paul taught us that we do not war against flesh and blood, but against spiritual entities in high places. If we are fighting people, we are shadow boxing. People are not the enemy, though they may be instruments used by the devil. Most do not realize they are being used by the enemy; they are deceived and they are captives. They need deliverance, not condemnation. Remember, God loves every man, woman, and child. He is not willing that any should perish. That does not mean we accept their ungodly plans and schemes, but we realize that our battle is first in the heavenlies. We are fighting a spiritual war, against demonic spirits, and we need to use spiritual weapons to fight them. This does not mean that there is nothing in the natural for us to do; but we must get our orders, strategies, and plans from the spiritual realm. Jesus is our Commander.
We should never go into spiritual warfare without putting on the whole armor of God. We must realize we are in spiritual warfare 24/7, whether we want to be or not. If we are children of God, we are under constant attack. If we are not experiencing as much victory as we would like, perhaps a big part of the problem is that we are fighting the wrong enemy or we are not properly dressed for battle.
I have spent a lot of time on this message about the whole armor of God because Holy Spirit has burned it into me that it is urgent for His people understand the times we are in and be prepared to fight with every weapon He has put at our disposal. This is a time when the dark is getting darker and the light is getting lighter. The devil is fighting furiously to stamp out the Church and its influence. At the same time, God is shaking His Church and calling for His remnant army to arise and shine. We will see vile attacks and atrocities from the enemy, and we will also see God’s glory seen in the earth with a tremendous awakening and powerful moves of the Holy Spirit. And these will be happening at the same time. It is the Church in battle armor, willing to sacrifice all for God, that will bring in and sustain the awakening, turning it into a reformation of our culture.
Paul concludes his instructions about the armor of God with this: “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” Ephesians 6:18.
“Like a lookout watching for the enemy, we must stay alert in prayer. A believer who is outfitted with the ‘full armor of God’ (Ephesians 6:11-17) but refuses to ‘pray’ (Ephesians 6:18) is like a front-line soldier outfitted with the best weapons technology and protective gear but who has no communication with his command authority. He won’t last long.” (2)
Brothers and sisters, it is time to get our orders from our Commander, suit up in God's armor, all of it, and report for duty.
"And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, 'Are You for us or for our adversaries?'
"So He said, 'No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.'
"And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, 'What does my Lord say to His servant?'
"Then the Commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, 'Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so” Joshua 5:1 3-15.
1) Bill Hamon, PROPHETS AND PERSONAL PROPHECY: GOD’S PERSPECTIVE
2) Tony Evans, THE TONY EVANS BIBLE COMMENTARY