Prepare for War
You’re at war. Whether you know it or not; whether you care to believe what you’re about to read or not; it will not change this absolute fact that from the day you were born until the day you die, there is an enemy that will not stop working to destroy you.
You’ve already experienced the enemy’s work in your life. When your patience is tested and you lash out at others, he is there. When you give in to negative thoughts that encourage strife and self-pride, he is there. The enemy may be encouraging you right now to put aside this article that is written against him...the enemy is the devil.
There’s an old belief in our culture that: “the devil never sleeps.” This phrase may have been used to warn children, but it’s actually taken from the Biblical book of Peter where it is written: “Be clear-minded and alert. Your opponent, the devil, is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”1
In spiritual battles, we are not helpless bystanders. There are supernatural forces against us, but God provides supernatural help. Scripture calls it “The Gospel Armor.” In the Book of Ephesians, Saint Paul outlines the seven crucial components of the Gospel Armor. Each is equally important in our preparation for spiritual war.
Why Do We Need Spiritual Armor?
The Gospel Armor is our Christian uniform, our spiritual weapons of warfare. The purpose is that you may be able to stand, face, fight, and defeat the forces of evil and to overcome the deceptive tactics of the devil.
Ephesians 6:11—That you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
Ephesians 6:12—Because your fight has not been with flesh and blood, but with…the powers of this dark world and with wicked spirits which are under Heaven.
Romans 13:12—The night is almost gone (the end of the world) and the day is near (Christ’s second coming). Therefore, let us lay aside the deeds of darkness (evil thoughts and actions) and put on the armor of God.
1 The Belt of Truth
Ephesians 6:14—Fasten the belt of truth around your waist…
2 Thessalonians 2:10—They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved…
In ancient times the belt kept a soldier’s garments from hampering his movements to fight in battle. Just like a soldier, God does not want us to be hindered in our steps or spiritual battles. Scripture is the belt that binds the truth to us. It keeps all other spiritual weapons in place. We cannot fight clearly if we do not know the truth.
John 8:31-32—Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
2 The Breastplate of Righteousness
Ephesians 6:14—Stand firm then… with the breastplate of righteousness in place.
Philippians 3:9—Not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith.
Righteousness simply means doing what is right; acts of mercy.
The breastplate does not provide protection to a person’s backside. It is expected that God’s soldiers never turn their backs to an enemy. Scripture assures us the enemy will flee if we stand our ground with the Gospel Armor: “Submit yourselves
therefore to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you.”2
3 Shoes Fitted with The Gospel of Peace
Ephesians 6:15—Your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of Peace.
Romans 10:15—As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!"
Without shoes we are useless in battle. Our feet could not bear the weight of armor as we move about and the enemy could very easily push us down. When we live in peace and contentment with what God offers over the world’s desires we are at peace to carry out the good work Christ sets before us.
John 14:27—Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
4 The Shield of Faith
Ephesians 6:16—Taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Psalm 3:2-3—Many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God. But You, O Lord, are a shield around me; you are my glory and He who lifts up my head.
The shield was often the first line of defense for a Roman soldier. It was large enough to protect the whole body from a hail of arrows. Every day we face Satanic attacks in the form of sinful thoughts and negative interactions with others. Having complete faith in the Word of God and His guidance is essential to our spiritual well being.
5 The Helmet of Salvation
Christians often fall on the battlefield because they don’t use their shield. They don’t talk or walk with Christ and thereby invite temptation. When you notice fiery darts coming your way, put up your shield and do everything you can to keep your distance from enticements.
Ancient soldiers firmly strapped their shields to their forearms. They were prepared to resist the powerful blows of an enemy’s sword. As Christians, we must hold the shield of faith just as firmly in the heat of spiritual battle.
Ephesians 6:17—Put on salvation as your helmet and the sword of the spirit which is the Word of God.
Psalm 140:7—O LORD, my Lord, the strength of my salvation; you have covered my head in the day of battle.
The helmet protects our minds. We cannot let our thoughts wander. It is important to keep our focus on saving faith in Christ through His Word. The Apostle Paul states: “We are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming…”3
6 The Sword of the Spirit4
Ephesians 6:17— Put on salvation as your helmet and the sword of the spirit which is the Word of God.
The Sword of the Spirit is the only piece of armor used to attack and defeat the enemy. It is God’s Word. When you stand and speak the truth of Scripture, the enemy cannot stand against it - God’s Word, His Truth is a two edged sword that cuts both ways.
Hebrews 4:12—For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
One Bible scholar notes, “The Sword of the Spirit subdues and crushes evil desires and blasphemous thoughts as they rise within; it answers unbelief and error as they assault from without. A single Scripture, well understood, and rightly applied, at once destroys a temptation or an objection, and restrains the most fearsome enemy."5
An ancient soldier always kept his sword in reach. At any moment it may be necessary to defend himself. In our daily walk we are to do the same with the Word of God. Keep His Word close. As Saint Peter commands: “Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you for a reason of the hope that is in you.”6
The last piece of armor is a habit. We must condition ourselves to pray for guidance and be watchful at all times. It is important to pray daily for discernment, to be on guard of circumstances and the people we interact with. We must also pray for God to guide our words, thoughts and actions, so that all we do is in accordance with Scripture. If we are not careful to pray often we will be caught off guard. Even the best armor is useless if a soldier is ambushed and not ready to fight.
1 Thessalonians 5:6—Let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
Matthew 26:41—Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation.
Jude 1:4—Some people have slipped in among you unnoticed. Not long ago they were condemned in writing for the following reason: They are people to whom God means nothing. They use God's kindness as an excuse for sexual freedom and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
We are living in a time when there is more information, more influences and more technology to circulate it than at any other time in the history of the world.
As Christians we face incredible challenge to filter the information and influences through the standards of Scripture. We must keep our thoughts clean and our lives pure each and every day. This is why God provides our equipment to prepare for this daily battle.
Consider what areas of the Gospel Armor you need to strengthen your own spiritual life. If there is one weak point in your armor, the enemy will exploit it. We are called to be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world.”7 It is time for us to: “Fight the Good Fight of Faith.”8
1 Peter 5:8
2 James 4:7
3 Ephesians 4:14
4 Isaiah 49:2
5 Matthew Henry
6 Peter 3:15
7 The Gospel of Matthew 12:13-14
8 Timothy 6:12