HOW TO FIGHT
Growing up we all have imaginary friends that we play with in our minds. This is a child’s way of entertaining themselves through the gift of imagination. As we get older we lose the imaginary friends because we think it is childish but in reality we exchange our imaginary friends for imaginary enemies. As we grow up we have suspicious assumptions of people that they are out to get us or hinder our joy in life to only foolishly realize that it was just our imaginations. Yet there is also the flip side that we do in fact have an enemy that cannot be seen.
We have imaginary enemies that are cloaked in flesh and blood as we assume that people are the ultimate root of our problems and evil but the reality of the last chapter of Ephesians tell us that the ultimate evil is not your english teacher, your parent, coworker, or pastor (=P) but is in fact the spiritual forces of darkness led by Satan. Paul is very much aware of the spiritual darkness that has been assaulting the Ephesian church, thus encouraging the christians in the last portion of the letter to stand firm and fight with the armor of God.
In verses ten and eleven, Paul tells them to, “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might” and to wear the WHOLE armor of God. Why? We have to be strong in the Lord because what Paul is about to tell them to do, they are not built to do apart from God’s grace. To fight the spiritual forces with your strength is showing up to a gunfight with a knife! A knife is effective but will be shut down in the midst of guns. Therefore, Paul explains that they need to put on the WHOLE armor of God and explains what it is but I emphasize WHOLE because a lot of times we only come with some to only end up wondering why we were defeated! When we don’t put on the WHOLE armor of God we are unnecessarily exposing weak spots to our enemy and Satan doesn’t play fair but will strike at the weaknesses that we have so therefore to limit them we must be enveloped by God’s presence.
You are in a spiritual war whether you like it or not and whether you know Jesus or not. Who you say Jesus is only determines which side you are on and I pray that today and everyday you choose correctly.
TIPS AND TRICKS
The enemy is not people but Satan that influences people
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
By no means are we saying that people should not be held accountable for their actions because that only leads to a deeper influence of the darkness over people but to say that people are the source of evil is to completely miss the mark! We see, hear, experience, and read about crimes that humans do to each other as we develop solutions that deal with people. But the ultimate solution is to not deal with people but come against the source of darkness that is Satan. Satan and the demonic are real but so was their defeat through Jesus Christ on the cross! Where we see oppression, sickness, death, misery, depression, violence, and all other evil is because of Satan and sin. The solution to that is the Gospel, which silences the accusations of Satan, breaks the hold of death, and devalues the luster of sin. The answer for all the evil in the world is to be in a committed relationship with Jesus and to be like Him wherever we go. A thing to consider is do you pray for your enemies or evil people to know Christ or be condemn them to punishment and hell? Your answer will reveal your understanding of the Gospel of grace and forgiveness.
Put on the WHOLE armor of God
“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 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,”
We cannot go over in detail every piece of armor today but here are some things to consider.
The belt of a Roman soldier held the loose ends of their robe so that there wasn’t any loose cloth the enemy can grab hold of to manipulate them in battle by tugging at it. Are you letting the truth of God convict you of things in your life that need to be dealt with in His presence? Are there any loose sins or habits that the truth must deal with so that the enemy cannot exploit?
Shoes of the Roman soldier had nails that acted like cleats so that they can stand firm in battle. Paul says that the believer’s shoes that keep them planted is the Gospel. Do you know the Gospel? Better yet, do you live the Gospel?
The Romans had a formation in battle where they all had large rectangular shields that were covered in water. They would form a straight line that stretched for miles on end to block all the incoming arrows that were lit on fire. In all circumstances we must keep our faith in God present to guard us when the enemy shoots his arrows to accuse us and let our faith also be contagious enough to help guard the people around us so that We form a wall.
Sword of the Spirit (the word of God): Lot of us have dusty swords. How dusty is yours?
“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”