THE ARMOR OF GOD
7 Truths to Identify and Be Victorious Against Your True Enemy
By Brian S. Holmes
Is your enemy your government, other nations, sinful cultural trends, terrorism, political party, or global poverty? Maybe you feel like your selfish spouse, your health, your financial struggles, or your own bad habits are your worst enemy? Did you know they’re not your true enemy? In this lesson we’ll discuss what is and how to effectively fight against it with 7 biblical truths.
Truth #1: Our True Enemy is Sin and Satan/demons. Our primary struggle is against spiritual evil. Ephesians 6:12 says, “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.” They’re also described in Colossians 2:15, Ephesians 2:2, and 2 Corinthians 4:4. The bad things previously listed only exist because of human sin and demonic influence. They’re the root cause. Romans 6 teaches that all who sin are slaves to sin and the outcome of sin is death. Hebrews 2:14 says Satan, the devil, holds the power of death, because we’re held in slavery by our fear of death. When we commit sin or if we lose our confidence in the Gospel about our past sins being forgiven and washed away, we give authority and power to Satan to hold sin against us and have increased access in our lives.
Truth #2: The Church is Satan’s primary target. Christians sometimes falsely think that Satan’s causing evil and sin in the world but he doesn’t much bother with Christians. Yes, he’s the prince of this world (cf. John 12:31) and the lowercase G “god” of this age (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:4). But he’s also the thief that comes to steal, kill, and destroy the sheep (cf. John 10:10) as is numerously called “our Adversary.” Revelation 12:17 describes Satan as determined “to wage war against the rest of her offspring--those who keep God's commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.” Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 2:11 not to let Satan outwit us by not learning and being unaware of his schemes.
Truth #3: The Gospel provides Everything we need for Victory. 1 Corinthians 15:56-57 says, “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Jesus has broken the power of sin and death over us! He’s purchased for us total forgiveness of sin, eternal life, and adoption into God’s family. He’s also given us power and authority over demons and all spiritual evil, and He empowers us by His Spirit to be victorious.
Truth #4: God allows our Faith to be Tested through attacks. Ephesians 6:11 says, “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Ephesians 6:14 says, “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.” Revelation 14:12 says, “This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.” Peter understood how God allows believers to be tested. Jesus told Peter he was going to be sifted by Satan, and even fail three times, but he wouldn’t fall away permanently (cf. Luke 22:31-32). In his letter 1 Peter 5:10 he says, “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.”
Truth #5: You need to Wear Defensive Armor. First, remain mentally alert. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Second, fix your mind on your new identity as a child of God and disciple of Jesus. Ephesians 6:17 says to wear our confidence in our own salvation like a helmet, allowing it to guard our mind and thoughts. Ephesians 6:14 says to “stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place.” The truth of the Gospel holds the rest of our armor and all other beliefs/practices in place. It’s the truth of the Gospel, and the forgiveness of our sin and imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us, that protect us. It’s our newfound blamelessness over our past sin, as well as our ongoing Spirit-led victory over future sin temptation, that protects our heart and internal organs. That’s if we trust in God’s promises and wear them as though our life depends on them - because it does! Our final defense found in Ephesians 6:16 is “the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” Again, our defensive shield is our trust in our faith in the Gospel.
Truth #6: You need to Fight with Offensive Weapons. In addition to remaining alert for defense we need to remain alert for offense too. We need to live by the Holy Spirit, led by and walking in step with Him. Since this is a spiritual battle we must fight it with spiritual weapons, namely prayer and the Word of God (the Bible) which Ephesians 6:17 calls the Sword of the Spirit. Hebrews 4:12 says “the word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword.” Jesus demonstrated how to use God’s Word against Satan in His wilderness temptation in Matthew 4. Ephesians 6:18 says to “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.” Our prayers asked and answered are a powerful weapon for us.
Truth #7: Our Strength comes from Trust in the Lord. Ephesians 6:10 says, “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” It is HIS power, not ours, that gives us the strength to win. James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” 1 Peter 5:9 says, “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.” Our ability to resist the devil’s attacks relies on how close we are to God. Stand firm in your faith in the Gospel, draw near to God and you’ll increase your strength and protection plus further develop your relationship with God and transformation into Christ’s likeness.
Heavenly Father, lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one. In Jesus’ name. Amen.