God has an armour already prepared for you and you can stand strong with this armour. When the Bible talks about this armour, it used the word “whole” which also means complete. Now, this is the complete armour of God wherein nothing else remains! There isn’t any extra armour elsewhere, we were presented with the complete armour of God and how to activate them for ourselves. Olive oil, miracle handkerchief, mustard seed, stickers, holy sand and all of those things people often attribute power to aren’t the armour that you need.
When we understand what this armour of God is, we will understand what spiritual warfare is. Let’s do a little Bible study. Our focus on this subject will centre on Ephesians 6 from verse 10. Let’s read:
“A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” – Ephesians 6:10 NLT
While Paul was bringing his letter to the Ephesian Christians to a conclusion, he deemed it very important to talk about being strong in the Lord. To be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power simply means “stand firm on faith in God and his mighty power!” What is the power of God? Let’s look at Romans 1:16 NLT
“For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile.”
The power of God at work today is the gospel, the good news about Christ! This is the mighty power of God and Paul asked us to be strong in God and in his mighty power, to be firm in the faith, standing wholesomely on nothing but the word. This is the word that got us saved and this is the word that keeps us firm and established. The gospel is the good news and the epistles are the explanations of this good news and its effect!
How do we stand firm? The Bible continues in verse 11 of Ephesians 6
“Put on all of God’s armour so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.”
We stand firm by putting on the entire armour of God! All of his armour are ours to use and these armours keep us strong against the strategies of the devil. What the devil uses as strategies and the most popular of them all are lies and deception. The devil can present you with a corrupted truth, it may be ninety per cent truth with ten per cent lies which automatically makes it hundred per cent lies! Concerning the devil, the Bible says in John 8:44 NLT
“…He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
From the very beginning, the devil has been a hater of the truth and there is no truth in him! Not even one! He lies consistently and he isn’t just the chief of lies, he is the father, the founder and general overseer of lies! This is his strategy and this is what we stand firm against using the complete armour that God has offered us. One of the most popular lies of the devil is that a believer’s salvation is not eternal, that the believer’s salvation needs to be maintained by efforts, that the believer needs deliverance and all of that.
One popular way to know the lies of the enemy is that it questions the finished work of Christ, the salvation that we have been freely given! This is why Paul called Galatians foolish and bewitched! Let’s read Galatians 1:6-7 NLT
“I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ.”
They were following a different way that pretends to be the gospel, they were being fooled by people who were deliberate in twisting the truth! Do you see that? People can claim to come in the name of the Lord, they can claim to be believers and the name of their assembly can even have the word “Grace” on it but they are serving the purpose of Satan! They are twisting the scriptures and fooling people deliberately. They are casting spell on people using deception and this is exactly what the whole armour of God prevents us from, it makes us rooted! Paul wrote to the Colossians saying
“Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.” – Colossians 2:7-8 NLT
You have been planted in Christ and he is your foundation! But as you stay in the place of the word, your roots are growing down into him and your entire life on earth is being built on him! It is only by sticking to the word even when it doesn’t make sense that you grow stronger in the truth, this is the only way to prevent you from being led captive of sweet convincing words of human wisdom which is devoid of power. These so-called human wisdom are manipulated by the enemy to deceive you! Paul continued
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armour so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle, you will still be standing firm.” – Ephesians 6:12-13 NLT
This is the real spiritual warfare! Spiritual warfare isn’t fighting the enemies in your village, it is not declaring one who said you won’t succeed dead, our wrestle isn’t against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers in high places! Human wisdom is prone to manipulation by the devil. It is with the whole armour of God that you can stand against these things! It is not by fasting, it is not by shouting in the midnight. No matter how fierce or long you pray, you will be prone to deception when you are not putting on God’s armour. What is this armour of God? Paul used metaphors to explain what these armours are and we are going to gain a better understanding as we discuss them one after another.
1. THE BELT OF TRUTH
“Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth…” – Ephesians 6:14a NLT
The belt of truth is what keeps you firm on the ground, it is like your spiritual stamina! The truth is the word of God and you don’t just read these words, you also study and pray them! When you don’t know the truth, you are pushed around by every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14) and you keep staggering in faith! Jesus calls himself the truth (John 14:6) and in John 1:14 we also see that Jesus is the word of God which became flesh! And Jesus said our freedom is dependent on the truth that we know (John 8:32).
You have to pay attention to God’s word and whatever decision you are about to make, you have to ask yourself again “what does the word of God say about this?” When you are seeking counsel from God’s word, you are seeking the truth! This way, you aren’t giving room to the devil!
2. BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
“…putting on… the body armour of God’s righteousness.” – Ephesians 6:14b NLT
The breastplate protects the heart during battles. When the heart is not protected, it’s the easiest way to get a soldier down, dead and out of the way! Our breastplate is righteousness. Righteousness means right standing with God. First, we know that we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21), Jesus is our right standing with God. However, we ought to express this righteousness, we ought to allow the Holy Spirit to find expression through us! The Bible says in Revelation 19:8
“She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear.” For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people.” – Revelation 19:8 NLT
We see that God acknowledges the good deeds of his holy people! While he has made us holy, he wants us to act holy. In Philippians 2:12, we are encouraged to make what God is doing inside of us visible! When we walk in the counsel of the godly, in the counsel of God’s word, we are protecting our heart from any form of attack! Sinful behaviours don’t affect God’s love for us, it doesn’t even alter his salvation but it affects our own disposition towards him, it makes our heart grow cold towards him and this way we become vulnerable to the deceits of the enemy!
Note that it is God’s righteousness and not our righteousness! The righteousness that we exhibit in Christ is the righteousness that is a product of what God is doing in us! Obedience to God’s word is the only way to act righteously as a believer!
3. THE SHOES OF PEACE
“For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.” – Ephesians 6:15 NLT
You don’t go to war barefooted! There is a peace that comes with the gospel and this peace includes being fearless about judgement, being relaxed in your mind that you are saved! When you keep worrying and entertaining anxiety because you made one mistake or another, it may make you withdrawn!
Guilt consciousness is one way to go to war barefooted! There is peace in the gospel if God said he has loved you with an everlasting love, trust him! If he says you are saved forever, trust him! Don’t entertain lies and deception, don’t throw yourself into worry! This includes the worry of sickness, the worry of what to eat and drink. There is a peace that accompanies the gospel, when you hear “it is finished”, it means that it is finished, in the real sense of it!
Trust in God’s word breeds peace and this piece passes all understanding! Let nothing make you feel insecure in Christ, you are eternally secured! This brings peace to your heart.
4. SHIELD OF FAITH
“In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.” – Ephesians 6:16 NLT
The devil usually fire arrows at believers and these arrows come in the form of lies, these lies would be that God doesn’t want you healed, that he doesn’t want you prosperous, that your salvation isn’t secured and that God does not love you that much! These arrows will keep coming and they aren’t stopping any moment but we can shield it from ever getting to us. How?
Concerning faith, the Bible says
“So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.” – Romans 10:17 NLT
When we keep hearing God’s word, we keep growing in faith. This is why you must not take lightly, the gathering of brethren! You ought to keep reading and hearing God’s word as this is the only way you can grow in faith.
Our faith in God shouldn’t be dependent on circumstances but on the consistent character of God! If the good news about Christ says we are free from sin and the law, then we are free indeed no matter how the devil wants to prove otherwise.
5. HELMET OF SALVATION
“Put on salvation as your helmet.” – Ephesians 6:17 NLT
The helmet protects the head, the head may also symbolize authority! To put on our helmet means to surrender totally to the salvation of Christ! It is just like the breastplate of righteousness and we see that these two protects very important places! As we rely only on the salvation of Christ and also work out what God is doing in us, our head is protected, our authority in Christ is glaring and without question!
This also means getting our minds rid off every doubt! Our salvation in Christ Jesus is eternal and we shouldn’t entertain any voice speaking otherwise.
6. SWORD OF THE SPIRIT
“…Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” – Ephesians 6:17 NLT
The word of God is the sword of the Spirit. It is offensive but also defensive and with this sword, we plunder the world of darkness, save souls to God and also defend ourselves from the lies of the enemy! When we bring God’s word to others, it produces life in them and brings them out of darkness into God’s marvellous light and when we stick to the place of this word, we growing roots downwards Christ Jesus!
When we look at Luke 4:1-13 we see how Jesus used the word in defensive. The devil comes with all manner of temptations and thoughts but with the word of God, we are exercising our victory!
This is the complete armour of God and how to exercise it. We aren’t wrestling with flesh and blood, with wicked uncles and old folks in the village whom most people regard as witches! We are fighting deception and strategies of the enemy. Stay in the place of the word, study and pray the word. This way, you are exercising your victory!