Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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The Warfare and Armor of a Christian by James Mattila
(In light of the theme of the youth rally which was held over the weekend in our congregation, this article could be of interest to us. It is written by a man from the west coast with whom we are in fellowship)

Ephesians 6:10-18

Paul says our battle is not against flesh and blood
(humans), but against principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness of
this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places (Satan and his host of demons). Often our arguments, struggles and hard feelings are against other humans, but according to Paul we are wrestling against the wrong foe.
With this exhortation in mind, let’s take a look at our adversary and the armor God has prepared for us to defeat our foe.

Satan’s Goals

Satan desires to blind sinners and to beguile, hurt and discourage Christians. He will do anything to disturb the mind, deceive the heart and defeat life. He is as active today as he has always been. As Christians, we are fighting a spiritual war in a foreign land. The devil has three primary targets: first, he attacks every individual Christian to
destroy his or her life; second, he attacks every Christian home to destroy its unity, purity and oneness; third, he attacks every Christian church to erode its ministry, discredit its leaders, and destroy its presence in the world of darkness. When he can sow discord in our families, cause our homes to be torn apart, or cause dissension in the church, he will succeed in his goals.

Satan’s Personality

Satan is the most bitter enemy of God and His people. He is the second most powerful being in the universe, subject only to the triune God. The Scriptures describe Satan’s personality: “the deceiver” and “the accuser of the brethren” (Revelation 12:9-10), “a murderer” and “a liar” (John 8:44), “the tempter” (Matthew 4:3), “the destroyer” (Revelation 9:11), “the wicked one” (I John 5:18), “an angel of light” (II Corinthians 11:14), and “a roaring lion” (I Peter 5:8). Satan beguiles, seduces, opposes, resists, deceives, hinders, buffets, tempts and persecutes the believer. The only power we have against Satan is the power we have in Jesus Christ; thank God that He has given us armor for our defense.


The Armor of God

The Word of God tells us that we must prepare for this warfare. We can walk into a hostile environment and not be defeated. Our Leader and Commander, Jesus Christ, has already won the war,
and He wants us to live in the power of His victory, but we can not win
unless we are armed. That is why Paul told the Ephesians, “Take up the whole armor of God.” Paul did not say that God would bestow this armor on us; it is our responsibility to put on and use the armor of God to protect ourselves against the wiles of Satan. We put on the armor of God daily through prayer. Always put it on in your morning prayer to our Heavenly Father. It is awesome to live in His protection, covered by His grace and His armor.

The Girdle of Truth

Each piece of armor deals with a specific target of Satan’s strategy. The girdle of truth is the knowledge, acceptance and use of the truth—the great truth of God and His relationship to us through Jesus Christ. It includes faith in what God has said in His Word about Himself, His Son, mankind and history. (A simple definition of faith: God said it, I believe it, and that settles it.) To put on the girdle of truth we must know God’s Word. One of Satan’s ploys is to have false teachers lead ignorant Christian churches astray. Christians who do not know biblical truth are unprotected against the seduction of strange, false teachings. We should take advantage
of every opportunity to learn more of God and His Word so we can be armed against Satan who is out to destroy us.

The Breastplate of Righteousness

A breastplate is worn on the chest; it is to protect the heart from the darts of Satan. Our heart represents our emotions and feelings. If we do not live righteously by the power of Christ, we will become an easy target for Satan. If we harbor sin in our lives, we cannot have a proper relationship with God, we cannot witness effectively
because our lives do not match our words, and we cannot be victorious over temptation because Satan will accuse us. When Jesus died on the cross two wonderful things happened. First, He took our sins upon Himself; the Bible says He became sin for us. Second, when He rose from the dead He imparted His righteousness to us. When we put on the breastplate of
righteousness, it symbolizes that we are protected by the righteousness of Christ. When the old accuser goes before the Lord and points out all our faults and sins, God tells him, “I do not see that person as you do. I look through my Son and see a righteous person.” This is our armor: when we know we are right, we are brave and strong; when we know we are not right,
we are cowardly. Where is your heart today? Too many Christians
are more concerned with the pleasures and treasures of this world than with God. But by setting our hearts on God, and living in His righteousness, we become powerful and protected in the spiritual warfare.

The Shoes of the Gospel of Peace

This is about witnessing to advance the cause of Christ (Isaiah 52:7). Did you know that our desire and willingness to witness is part of our protection against the enemy? We never walk so close to the Lord as when we trust Him to give us courage to witness to those around us. The Scriptures tell us that the shoes we wear are the gospel of peace. Our foundation in the spiritual battle is the settled peace within us. Satan is the destroyer of peace; his purpose is to bring division between men and separation from God. Remember that we are not in a battle against people; we are in a battle against Satan, so it is important that we are equipped with inner peace from God. Much of the spiritual
battle deals with our outlook on life. It is not the specific situation that is critical, but how we look on that situation through the power of Christ. Remember that in Jesus Christ we have peace. As we apply that truth to our lives, we can go out into battle and be victorious. We can go into this world proclaiming the gospel message with the assurance that Jesus Christ is at home in our hearts, which brings peace to our souls.

The Shield of Faith

A shield protects from the direct assault of the enemy. Our faith, our confidence in God’s promises, becomes our shield in the spiritual battle. Satan’s first work is to create doubt. The Bible says to withstand this attack
by taking up the shield of faith; we are to put on the Lord Jesus Christ as our defense. Paul says in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Even our faith is a gift from God. True faith is a settled
belief in God’s promises; to receive it we must know God’s Word of truth which conquers Satan’s doubt and deceit. There are two things to keep in mind about the shield of faith. First, the object of our faith is Jesus Christ. Our faith is not in a pastor, teacher or parent, but in the One about whom
they teach. As we get to know Christ, we will begin to feel more secure, and our faith will grow. Second, we need to be serious about strengthening our faith. We develop physical strength by exercise; we develop spiritual strength by exercising our faith. If we do not exercise our faith by applying truth to our lives, we will not grow. Find something God has been leading you to do, and do it. As we allow God to lead us more and more, we will
find that we will start winning more and more of the battles.

The Helmet of Salvation

In battle, our helmet protectsus from suffering a blow to our heads and becoming dazed. It is our salvation relationship with Christ that protects our mindsfrom Satan’s evil influences. Through Christ we can have victory in the area of the mind, for He is the author and the finisher of our faith. He is the helmet of salvation, for we are told in the Bible that we have the mind of Christ. How can we get the helmet of salvation? We have to ask God for it. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” The helmet of salvation, which is the protection of the wisdom of God, is available to every believer. We cannot set the Bible on our nightstand, look at it affectionately before we go to bed and give it a pat when we rise in the morning, and expect it to change our lives. If His Word is going to change us,
if His thoughts are going to be our thoughts, then we have to study His Word, and commit it to our minds and hearts.

The Sword of the Spirit

Scripture tells us to take in our hand an offensive weapon: the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. It is useful for discerning truth, and it is the most dreaded weapon we can use against our enemy. A metal sword gets dull as we use it, but the sword of the Spirit is sharpened with use. It is so important for us to discipline ourselves to read the Bible so we can have and use the sword of the Spirit. There are good “swords” found everywhere in the Bible, but if we do not read them we will not know them; we should also memorize key passages of Scripture. Try to imagine when Jesus was
tempted by Satan. What if, when Satan had told Jesus to commit some act, Jesus had replied, “Wait while I look this up in my concordance?” Most temptations come when there is no Bible around, so if we have the Word in our hearts we will be ready. That is what Paul meant when he said, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…” (Colossians 3:16) David also writes, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” (Psalm 119:11) We need to be filled with God’s truth so when temptation comes we are prepared to defeat it.

The Weapon of Prayer

What radios are to soldiers, prayer is to a Christian. All of the fighting we do against our threefold enemy should be done in an atmosphere of prayer.
That way we are in constant contact with the Lord, our Commander. We should not be put our confidence in the flesh, but as James 4:7 promises, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” And the best news of all is that we are guaranteed to win this war, because on the cross Christ already defeated the enemy. We cannot fight the spiritual battle in our own power; we will be defeated no matter
how talented we are. We simply must be in contact with the One who gives strength to His soldiers. Satan will use every device to keep us from praying. He will cause fatigue, doubt, discouragement and depression to overwhelm us and keep us from the true source of power. That is why we need to pray regularly, not just when we feel like it. Satan wants to keep us
out of contact with God and occupied with other matters. Another way to look at prayer is simple communication. How would we who are parents feel if our children seldom spoke to us? We are God’s children, and I feel confident in saying that our Lord enjoys it when we talk to Him on a regular
basis. May God richly bless you in the study of His Word.

God’s peace to all,

James Mattila
Battle Ground, Washington
Posted on 28 Sep 2010 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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