To figure out why we need spiritual combat gear, we need to better understand our enemy. It is not known if Sun Tzu was an actual historical figure, but he is credited with having written Art of War. He said this about knowing your enemy and you:
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
Our spiritual enemy Satan is unstoppable by human standards. No human effort alone can stop Lucifer; he is more powerful than any military force assembled on earth. Here is how Paul explains it:
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 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.” (Ephesians 6:11-13)
The word stand used twice in this passage and again in verse 14 is from the Greek verb histemi and it does give the implication of standing in a spot, it means much more than that. It also means that you show up; that you are established in the place where you belong. You are present for duty; you are on your watch.
Wait a minute Bro Dave; I thought we weren’t supposed to fight the devil? I never said that. I said you are not to fight him in your own strength. Fighting Satan or not fighting him is determined by whether you want to stand in the gap for God or not. You can be AWOL, absent without leave, but then you are not being effective for Christ.
But if you are on the frontlines for Jesus, you can be sure Satan knows you are there. And he is not going to just come at you with an obvious full-frontal assault; no, no, no. Paul says Satan is going to use his “wiles”; he is going to be scheming against you.
And this enemy that we face cannot be faced with human efforts…why? Because we struggle not “against flesh and blood”! That means the person you think is your greatest foe actually is not, so all your fighting in your fleshly strength will accomplish nothing.
Your enemy is a satanic hierarchal force that is “in the heavenly places.” Just like any military force there is a rank structure so when you think you are fighting Satan himself you may very well be battling against his minions. And guess what? You alone still cannot defeat them.
That is why you must put on the whole, that is all of it, armor of God. The armor that the blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ provides now that He sits at the right hand of God…
“…and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.” (Ephesians 1:19-21)
Where is Jesus? He is “far above” all we face here on earth and in the heavenly realm. That is why our Lord, our Commander, has left us with the spiritual armor needed for our battle, so that we “may be able to withstand in the evil day.” The word withstand is a different Greek word than histemi; it is actually a compound word using histemi…anthistemi. It means to “stand against”; “to oppose.”
In other words, “for me to stand where I belong I have to put on the full armor of God so I can stand against, in opposition, the devil and his forces so that I can stand where I belong.”
Do you want to do your Christian duty and be found faithful after the battle? Then put on the full armor of God. Oswald Chambers said this about wrestling in the spiritual realm:
“Always make a distinction between God’s perfect will and His permissive will, which He uses to accomplish His divine purpose for our lives. God’s perfect will is unchangeable. It is with His permissive will, or the various things that He allows into our lives, that we must wrestle before Him. It is our reaction to these things allowed by His permissive will that enables us to come to the point of seeing His perfect will for us… God’s permissive will is the testing He uses to reveal His true sons and daughters. We should not be spineless and automatically say, “Yes, it is the Lord’s will.” We don’t have to fight or wrestle with God, but we must wrestle before God with things. Beware of lazily giving up. Instead, put up a glorious fight and you will find yourself empowered with His strength.”
Amen. I pray you have a blessed weekend and please remember to go to church on Sunday.
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