On the Battlefield
When you gave your life to Jesus Christ, you became God's friend. At the same time, you inherited His enemy, and you took your place on a battlefield. You may not think of yourself as a warrior, but that's just what you are. And the battle is for the very hearts and minds of human beings.
In Ephesians 6 we read, "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil" (v. 11).
The word "wiles" means schemes, tricks, tactics or plots, and it's used of an animal that stalks its prey and then suddenly pounces. In 1 Peter 5:8, Satan is portrayed as "a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour." Don't underestimate him. He is a clever foe, and he has studied human nature for thousands of years.
To fight him, you need the right armament--spiritual armor for fighting the spiritual battle. Paul uses the illustration of a Roman soldier in Ephesians 6:10-18. Here's what I think these verses mean.
Having your waist girded with truth means we should live truthful, authentic lives, without hypocrisy. The breastplate of righteousness means right behavior, the practical, day-by-day adherence to the precepts of God. The "preparation of the gospel of peace" means to always be confident because you have peace with God, and always be ready to proclaim your faith.
The shield of faith means your daily trust in God, which enables you to stand against anything Satan has to offer. The helmet of salvation means to have knowledge of the Bible, and to be confident because salvation is an ongoing work.
The Word of God is your offensive weapon, as Jesus showed in His temptation in Matthew 4. Studying the whole Word of God gives you an arsenal of truths to use in a spiritual battle. Prayer is also an offensive weapon. In the midst of the battle you are to talk to God, not the devil. Resist the devil; don't carry on long conversations with him.
The day you gave your life to God was the day that you got a whole new start. That day, Satan lost. But he doesn't give up that easily. He would like nothing better than to make you spiritually powerless, to steal your commitment, to make you less fervent, and to make you ineffective for the Lord.
If you are a growing, thriving Christian you will be a target for the enemy. Satan attacks you to hurt the purpose and heart of God, and you need to know what his strategy is. He can be blatant, but he can also be subtle. Either way, expect the fiery darts!
But I have good news: "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world" (1 John 4:4). And as Paul said in Romans 8:31, "If God is for us, who can be against us?"
God is on our side! Remember that as you "suit up" and enter the battle.
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