Spiritual Warfare (Part III)

"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." 

Eph 6:16–17

This week we will look at three more pieces from the armor of God, faith, salvation and the word of God.  Each of these pieces are crucial if we are to stand against the devil in the strength of God's power.  Just as a Roman Soldier needed to have his armor to fight in a battle, we too are called to put on God's armor, that we may defend ourselves and secure victory in Jesus.

Faith is likened to a shield that is able to extinguish the arrows of the enemy. On an ancient battle field, one of the tactics of the enemy was to have archers fire a volley of flaming arrows against the front line soldiers.  Without the soldiers raising their shields, these soldiers would be destroyed.  In a similar way, we are to raise our faith against the devil's schemes.  How are we to do that?  

First let us understand what faith is.  Faith is the assurance and confidence we gain from God's word that is able to direct every area of our lives.  For example, if we believe God's promise that He provides, then when I am tempted to be anxious and worry about money, I wait confidently and with an expectation that God will answer. 

Another example is in regard to sexual immorality.  If I heed to God's warning to not allow my mind to be filled with lust, then when I raise that shield against the temptation of lust, it will protect me from the ruin that comes with adultery or pornography.  Whether it is unforgiveness and bitterness, anger, false doctrine, or the many other things that can come against us, we raise up our faith against them and walk victoriously in Jesus.  

Salvation as a helmet is also crucial to our protection.  Without a helmet, a soldier could mortally wounded.  In a similar way, our salvation is a reminder that greater than death is our salvation through Christ that leads to eternal life.  Instead of being afraid of death and condemnation, I realize through Christ I am forgiven, accepted by the Father in heaven and now through Christ have an everlasting relationship with Him. 

The final piece of armor can be both offensive and defensive, the word of God.  It is likened to a sword.  A soldier without a sword is not only lacking a vital piece to defend himself, would not have the ability to destroy the enemy.  Jesus understood this when after 40 days of fasting had to face the devil.  When the devil sought to lead Him into temptation to depend on himself without the Father, on each of the three occasions that He was tempted, Jesus answered the devil, "thus says the Lord," and quoted from the truths of Scripture.  

When we meditate on God’s word and read it daily, we too will have the ability to stand against temptation.  When we are in the thick of life's battles, we have a sword to defeat those things that are warring against us.  With the sword of the Spirit, God’s word we can take an offensive position for God's glory.  Our purpose in life is to go forward with Christ, letting a world know of His love.  Towards that end God gives us His word that reminds us of that purpose and how to walk in a world filled with evil and wickedness.  

So let us pick up the armor of God that we may stand against the schemes of the devil.  Let us remember that the battles in life we face are not physical or just "flesh and blood," but are spiritual in nature.  Let us stand not in our own strength, but in the power of God putting on the full armor of God, and "doing so stand."