“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12
The first and most important point to understand is that our lives are involved in spiritual warfare whether we know it or not.
Every person on this planet is experiencing demonic forces that are seeking to utilize them for a Satanic plan of defeating the plan of God. We can take this further and understand that there are two spiritual forces engaged in battle. It is angelic beings fighting against the fallen angelic beings that we call demons. The LORD of hosts is the leader of the righteous and Satan is the captain of the wicked. These two forces are engaged in a battle for world dominion, but more specifically, in a battle for supremacy over one soul at a time.
God is searching for the elect in order to save them and bring them under his dominion in order to fulfill his eternal purpose. Satan is seeking to block this purpose. He uses every means possible to do so. The very first means that the devil uses is to cause you to be unaware of him and his workers. When he does this you attribute his work to “your depressions”, “your evil thoughts”, “your ______”, fill in the blank. The fact is that we have a sinful nature and that we are sinners, event he redeemed of God have the sinful nature. But the redeemed of God are in a process of becoming more like Jesus Christ.
Next, we need to establish how demonic forces move and operate in your life. Their direct attack is via your thought life. They seek to control the way that you think. They speak to you, and you hear it as a thought. We have to pray for discernment to understand what is a thought from God and what is a demonic thought. Demons will speak to you in a way that deals with your weaknesses. Their wisdom is that they speak things that are so close to the way that you think. They want you to forget that it is a demon speaking to you. This is so that you do not engage them in battle. They know that as soon as a Spirit-filled child of God engages them in combat, they have lost. So, they play to your way of thinking. They seek to guide you down the path towards apathy. Perhaps they know you will never walk away from God or the Bible, so they strive to bring apathy and weakness to your spiritual life. The demons will slowly cause you to doubt the Word and as you doubt you lose strength. Or perhaps slowly they build up an attitude of pride in your spiritual position causing you to be hardened against others. This, in turn, gives you a feeling of disdain which causes you to stop reaching out in love to others.
The demons do not tell you to directly neglect your spiritual duties to go to church, to pray and to feed on the Word of God. Instead they provide “harmless” ways to escape the stress and pressure of life. These “harmless” means of entertainment slowly become a stronghold that rules your life.
In spiritual warfare, the demons also indirectly attack us. They do this using our brothers and sisters, our friends, Facebook, Instagram, etc. They use them to encourage us to go down a road that causes us to do what we discuss previously. Satan knows if we forget about him that he can have his way, or if he disguises himself in the form of “harmless” diversions he can trip us up. He wants to cut us off from our prayer life, feeding on the Word, and sharing our faith. If the devil is seeking world dominion then we understand that he must stop Christians from praying, listening to the truth and then speaking the truth. If he cannot stop us from praying or reading the Word then he can cause us to listen to our fears and stop sharing the truth with others.
Facebook, Instagram, any app on our smartphone can be used by the devil to cut us off from our Christian duties. Even if we never look at an immodest woman on these apps and only “fellowship” with our brothers and sisters and share good religious and political posts we can be cut off from what God calls us to do. Yet, the devil will use these good things and his purpose is to bring us towards total rebellion against God. This starts with overuse and obsession with social media, then it turns towards looking at a few things that our flesh lusts after, after that our eyes are feasting on an immodest woman or a man that is not our own.
How do we engage in spiritual warfare?
“12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” Ephesians 6:12-18
We need to put on the armor of God. This is clearly not physical armor, but spiritual. In verse thirteen we find that we must put on the armor and withstand, or fight against the devil. Our loins are girt with truth. Truth is a weapon against the devil. When we speak the truth, believe the truth, stand upon the truth we engage in spiritual warfare. Take the example above. When the devil comes to place thoughts contrary to the Word in your mind you stand upon the truth and he will need to flee.
Righteousness is a breastplate. When the devil comes to bring contrary thoughts that lead into evil striking against you the breastplate provides protection. Righteousness acts as a breastplate. It allows you to deflect the blows of Satan. We have no righteousness of our own, but rather have had the righteousness of Jesus Christ applied to us. The breastplate acts as a defense against demonic blows. When we keep this revelation within our hearts, that Jesus Christ is my righteousness, the works of Satan become frustrated.
Then the protection for our feet is the gospel of peace. Enoch walked with God, and we must walk with God also. The Gospel of Peace protects our feet from the attacks of the devil. If the feet are injured in warfare, we cannot stand, pursue the enemy or flee from him in case of necessity. We are stuck in one spot and are easy prey for the devil. It is written, “And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” Gospel brings peace between God and men, and as a result, it brings peace between men. Notice, verse 12 says, “the preparation of the gospel of peace.” This speaks of always being ready to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. This readiness to preach the Gospel is a continual pursuit of and destruction of the works of the devil. A Christian who is injured in his feet sits in the church pew happily, but forgets that he has a commission from Jesus Christ to share the Gospel with everyone!
This shield of faith speaks of what historians call the sputum and it covers the entire body. It is not a small shield that is circular and covers just a few feet in diameter. Rather, it protects the entire body. Faith does exactly that, it protects and covers the entire body from the fiery darts of the wicked one. What are the fiery darts of the wicked? It could be the lead tipped arrows that were stuffed with combustible materials and shot at ships and shields in order to set them ablaze. It could also speak of poison tipped arrows that produce a fiery sensation in the bodies of those who are hit with them. The devil’s fiery darts are evil thoughts which inflame the passions and excite the soul to sinful actions. They are lustful thoughts, doubtful thoughts against the truth, thoughts of dissatisfaction that cause you to move towards sinning against your spouse, your children, your boss, etc. Faith blocks these attacks by holding the words of Jesus Christ as truth above all else. Satan is working through words to deceive, will you believe him? Jesus Christ has given us his word, will you believe him?
The helmet protects the head. Very often in history the soldier wore a helmet with emblems emblazoned upon them. Here is the symbol of hope and faith in salvation. It is the symbol that you will be saved in battle and come out victorious. The arrow, sword and battle axe cannot penetrate this helmet. Much like the Kevlar vest of today, a bullet may cause bruising and pain, but it will not kill you if your vest is properly worn. The blood of Jesus Christ we are protected in our minds from the attacks of the enemy. We must put this helmet on and keep it on. When the devil attacks, go back to the ground of your salvation, the cross of Jesus Christ.
The sword of the Spirit is the word of God. This is what Jesus used to battle against the devil in the wilderness. When Satan attacked with lies, Jesus responded with Bible verses. This shows the importance of memorizes and using the Bible as a means of attack against the devil. This is offensive weaponry. Use it well! If you are depressed, go to the Psalms and worship the Lord. If you are being attacked on every hand, find out how Jesus responded to attacks. The Bi-ble is a sword that will defeat the devil every time. It must be used properly, as we know that Satan is an expert at twisting the Scriptures, we must be equally adept at using the wisdom of God in the Scriptures to fight back. Satan said, “It is written” and Jesus responded “It is also written.” Never forget that.
Then in verse 18, he says, “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.” I don’t believe that this verse is put in by mistake where it is. Our greatest weaponry, outside of the Bible, is prayer. When we pray the Spirit of God moves and the Angels of God, arrayed for a battle step forward and are strengthened to fight. Make prayer your weapon to fight against the devil. Do not make gossip your weapon, do not make fear your defense. These are the weaponry the devil uses. Satan takes up the sword of gossip and the shield of fear, etc. Fight the Satanic forces with what God has given you.
Next section: When Did the Mighty Angel Descend?