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20 December 2012

Spiritual Warfare - December 20

It’s time to suit up with God’s armor!

Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:14-17 (ESV)

We are told to put on the belt of truth. Because Satan is a liarer, (John 8:44), we must be controlled by the truth so we can combat his lies.  This belt, like our contemporary belts, also serves to hold the “outfit” together.

Next, it’s the breastplate of righteousness. A breastplate was made of metal plates or chains and covered a soldier from the neck to the waist, front and back. It symbolizes our righteousness in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21) as well as our righteous life in Christ (Ephesians 4:24). Satan can accuse, but if there’s nothing for him to grab onto, he must fall mute (as he did with Job, and as the “advisers” had to do when they looked for fault with Daniel [Daniel 6:4]).

The shoes of the Gospel gives us the peace of God (Romans 5:1). We can’t defeat the devil if we aren’t at peace with one  another (James 4:1-8). We are ambassadors for the Gospel wherever our feet take us.

The shield of faith protects our bodies from Satan’s fiery darts. In Paul’s day, these shields were about 4 feet high and 2 feet wide and were constructed so each shield would interlock with the next person, forming an impenetrable wall. This would resist the literal “fiery darts” shot in combat. Satan’s darts are lies, blasphemous thoughts, hateful and bitter thoughts, and the sins that we most crave.

Our heads and minds are covered by the shield of salvation. Satan easily deceived Eve, and he wants to deceive us as easily.

But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:3 (ESV)

We prevent Satan from attacking our mind my Bible study and prayer. When we study, we learn and grow. The more we grow, the greater our ability to withstand Satan’s attacks.

You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 3:17-18 (ESV)

In our original passage, the final item of armor is the sword of the Spirit. This is our offensive weapon, and in Roman times it was used for close combat . The writer of Hebrews says the Word of God is even sharper than a sword.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 (ESV)

A “real” sword dulls with each use, but the Word of God sharpens us. The sword of the Spirit isn’t operated by human hands; a member of the Trinity is there to guide it. Although the Word of God “cuts to the heart” to convict us of our sins …

Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:37-38 (ESV)

…it ultimately heals us and brings us eternal life. When we use God’s Word against Satan, we deal a crippling blow that hinders his work.  Jesus used the Sword of the Spirit to defeat Satan in the wilderness (Luke 4:1-13). Satan knows enough Bible to quote verses (Luke 4:10), but like his disciples (false teachers), Satan misquotes the Word to twist its meaning. (Be careful when you quote Scripture that you don’t take it out of context or skip words. Even the little words matter!)

The whole armor of God is a beautiful picture of Jesus – the Truth (John 14:6), our righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21), our peace (Ephesians 2:14), whose faithfulness makes our faith possible (Galatians 2:20). Jesus is our salvation (Luke 2:30) and He is the Word of God (John 1:1, 14).

We’ll look at prayer on Monday. May your weekend before Christmas be stressless and blessed, and please remember that it’s not YOUR birthday we celebrate – Christmas is Jesus’ birthday.

1 comment:

  1. Great work - blessings to you for your dedication to God's word.