For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12 NASB
If the military fought like the church it would never win a war because for the most part no one is trained for battle. The powers of darkness are highly organized and have observed mankind for thousands of years, they are unified with one purpose, to rob, kill and destroy.
Like little sheep pens scattered throughout the world with one shepherd defending what he thinks is his when in actuality the sheep belong to the Lord Jesus Christ, they struggle to exist from Sunday to Sunday. Spiritual warfare is a full time job and our enemies never sleep, always on the alert for some unsuspecting soul to let his guard down and open a door for disaster.
The Marine Corps is one of the finest fighting forces in the world and their training is some of the toughest. In six short months they can turn a green eighteen year old kid into a trained and equipped killing machine able to defeat the enemy in any terrain or climate. A formidable force to be reckoned with, highly organized, unified under one banner and sold out for the cause and willing to die for what they believe.
The Christian on the other hand is like a little helpless sheep standing in a pig pen of religion without a clue about what is going on around him and in most cases spends his whole life hidden away in a building never having engaged the enemy, unless of course he has to drive to church in the rain. Never trained or equipped, never able to exercise his gift in warfare he wastes away in a pew, totally defeated by the enemy who deceived him into thinking that there was not even a war going on.
THE ARMOR OF GOD
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. Ephesians 6:11
Contrary to popular belief I believe the armor is something supernatural that grows with use as the Christian utilizes the individual parts of his armor and weaponry. For instance the shield of faith becomes stronger as we exercise it against the enemy's fiery darts of temptation.
The whole purpose of this book is to equip the believer for battle and to expose the schemes of the devil in order to lead a victorious life and ultimately overcome the enemy. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge is a well known bible verse quoted over and over but it is very true, the people of God don't have a clue when it comes to spiritual warfare.
God has given His saints dominion over the powers of darkness and a mandate to establish His kingdom in the earth. He has made us kings and priests to rule over our enemies and to reap a harvest that is white and long overdue to be reaped from the earth. The powers of darkness have totally deceived and seduced the body of Christ into believing that they don't really exist and that there is no spiritual war going on, just show up on Sunday, keep your mouth shut and don't rock the boat!
GIRDING YOUR WAIST WITH TRUTH
Stand therefore, having girded ( to encircle or brace ) your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness. Ephesians 6:14
Your enemy the Devil is the father of lies and there is absolutely no truth in him. To defeat him you have to know the word of God and be convinced in it that it is the very will of God for you. The Devil knows the word better than you and he will attempt to use it against you if you let him, stand firm and don't give in to his lies and you will emerge from battle unscathed.
The breastplate of righteousness is knowing who you are in Christ and to Whom you belong. The heart is the target that the enemy will try and strike with his lies that you are not loved, God has rejected you, or he will try and attack you with bitterness and unforgiveness toward others. The Bible says, "Guard your heart," and it is very important to keep your heart free from sin and close every door.
Jesus said, "The truth would set you free" and that knowing the truth in your heart and being assured of it would result in you being free indeed! The Devil is always cloaked in the camouflage of lies and deception trying to find an inroad by trying to convince you that God didn't really mean what He said, the same trap he laid for Adam and Eve in the garden.
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. II Timothy 2:15
SHOD YOUR FEET WITH THE GOSPEL
Shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Ephesians 6:15
When I think of the word shod, I think of the times I had to have my horses fitted with new horseshoes. To prepare a horse to receive new shoes is quite a job that requires a certain level of skill and patience when done right. First of all the hoof has to be trimmed and cleaned and then the shoe has to be fitted by the farrier and then nailed on to insure a firm fit. Once in place the horse shoe should last a while until the hoof begins to grow and the process has to begin all over again.
In order for the Christian to have his feet shod with the gospel, he must first know and be prepared to deliver the whole truth of the good news to those who are lost. The apostle Paul gave strict warning to the Galatians not to be moved by a different or perverted gospel and whoever did so should be cursed. The gospel is the way of salvation and when men set up detours leading people to Christ by another way, the destination becomes clouded and the path becomes a broad road leading to hell.
Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, He is the only source of true salvation. By the shedding of His blood He opened the way for mankind to be reconciled back to God from which he was expelled because of Adam's sin in the garden. All of humanity was lost by the disobedient act of one man, and all have the choice to be forgiven and washed of their sin by the obedient act of One, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Moreover, brethren I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word, which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures.
I Corinthians 15:1-4
TAKE THE SHIELD OF FAITH
Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. Ephesians 6:16
Faith is the shield that protects the believer from the lies of the enemy. Fear, doubt and unbelief as well as lies, deceit and deception are just a few of the fiery darts that Satan will send against you. Faith is taking God at His word that He will fulfill what He has promised to you and that He will not let you down.
Any time you move out in faith, believing God's word, Satan will be there to send an attack against you. His scheme is for you to doubt the word of God or to bring fear into your heart to defeat you in what you are believing for. Satan used this tactic on Jesus in the wilderness, trying to get Him to doubt that He was in fact the Son of the living God. He even used the word to try and deceive Him, there is nothing he won't do to trap the unsuspecting believer in his attempt to destroy your faith.
When Peter was asked by Jesus to step out of the boat and walk on water, Peter immediately got out and began to do what is impossible for a human being to do, he walked on water. As Peter traversed the stormy sea he began to listen to the voice of the enemy telling him that it is impossible for him to do what he was in fact doing, he then took his eyes off of Jesus and began to focus on the raging waters around him, and he began to sink.
So it is with us, anytime we attempt the impossible and believe for a miracle the fiery darts begin to fly and our faith is challenged. No matter how long you have been on the journey, no matter how many miraculous things have been accomplished in your life and ministry, the Devil will not relent in his quest to discredit the word of God and destroy your testimony.
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world, our faith. I John 5:4
THE HELMET OF SALVATION
And take the helmet of salvation. Ephesians 6:17
The helmet of salvation is the mind of Christ that comes from receiving the Holy Spirit at the time of ones new birth in the Lord. The mind of man has to be renewed in order for him to believe and to become a born again Christian. The helmet of knowing that one is saved protects the believer's mind from the attacks of fear and doubt sent by the enemy.
The battle is in the mind of man and that is where the enemy attacks, sending thoughts of doubt and fear to try and trap or at least stop your forward motion. If the Devil tried to get Jesus to doubt that He was the Son of God, what do you suppose he will try on you? Your security is in Christ, knowing that you belong to Him and that He cares for you. If the enemy can convince you that you somehow lost your salvation or maybe God is mad at you, or you sinned and you don't think God is big enough to forgive it, you are defeated!
The Devil doesn't have to kill you, he only has to convince you that you are no longer worthy to receive the grace of God. Because of lies and the doctrines and traditions of men most Christians are in a state of limbo, never really sure of their salvation and always doubting who they are in Christ. If you have been saved by grace, and it is a gift from God, are you responsible to keep it by the works of the law or by faith in the One who gave it?
Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:2,3
THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT
Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit. Ephesians 6:17,18
The word of the living God is the most powerful weapon in God's arsenal. Becoming a student in God's word will nourish your soul and build a strong relationship with your heavenly Father and give you the capability of defeating your spiritual enemies. The word of God is your owner's manual and your chart to map out your life in Christ. Without the word you will be blown off course with the winds of doctrine and the dead lifeless traditions of man.
The sword of the Spirit separates the fleshly life from the Spirit led life. When One becomes born again he must begin to die to the lusts and desires of the flesh and learn to live under the guidance and revelation of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit led life is one of surrender and death to self and all independent living, totally contrary to the way of the world. As we allow the sword to cut away that which is not of God in our life, the Spirit begins to replace it with the nature and character of the Creator.
By being devoted and immersed in the word of God will protect the believer from the doctrines and traditions of man. Every believer is responsible to become a student of the word and not a student of man, we have been called as a royal priesthood, a holy nation and a people for God's own possession according to the apostle Peter. Beware of the trap of the enemy to lead you under the demonic teaching of man, check out everything that man teaches and make sure it lines up with the word!
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and Spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12