Spiritual warfare is a conflict (struggle) between the forces of God and of Satan, between the powers of light and darkness. Jesus battled the evil one and gained the ultimate victory by His death on the cross and His exaltation. However, Christians cannot avoid spiritual warfare as soldiers of Christ. To help us in this struggle God provides defensive armor, as well as offensive weapons, the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, so that victory is certain.
This is War!
The children of God are engaged in a spiritual battle-all believers find themselves subject to Satan’s attacks because they are no longer on Satan’s side. Thus, Paul tells us to use every piece of God’s armor to resist Satan’s attacks and to stand true to God in the midst of those attacks. The apostle Paul also instructed the body of Christ (everyone who is born again), to “endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier” (2 Timothy 2:3, 4).
The body of Christ includes all believers who have ever lived, not just those who are alive now. When we suffer, we share in a common experience, not just with those alive today, but with those who have suffered for the sake of the gospel. All the martyrs, missionaries, and pioneers of the faith had to face what we face. Let us us have the same courage, commitment, and willingness to renouce (reject) worldly pleasures in order to serve God. Are you up to the challenge? Remember, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).
As Timothy preached and taught, he would face suffering, but he would be able to endure. Paul used the comparisons of soldiers, athletes, and farmers who must discipline themselves and be willing to sacrifice to achieve the results they want. Like soldiers, we have to give up worldly security and endure rigorous discipline. Like athletes we must train hard and follow the rules despite suffering because of the prospect of victory, the vision of winning, and the hope of the harvest. All our suffering is made worthwhile by our glorifying God, winning people to Christ, and one day living eternally with Him.
The Weapons of our Warfare
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for the pulling down of strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). Like Paul, we are merely weak humans, but we don’t need to use human (carnal) plans and methods to fight our battles. God’s mighty weapons are available to us as we fight against Satan’s “strongholds.” The child of God must choose whose which methods to use, God’s or the world’s. Paul assures us that God’s mighty weapons-prayer, faith, hope, love, God’s Word, the Holy Spirit-are powerful and effective (see Epjesians 6:13-18).
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles (tricks) of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, and the rulers of 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 stand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded our waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one. And taking the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God; praying always with prayer and supplication in the spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication (requests) for all saints” (Ephesians 6:11-18).
In this Christian life we battle against” principalities and powers (the powerful evil forces of fallen angels headed by Satan, who is a vicious fighter who takes no prisoners – see 1 Peter 5:8). If the child of God is to withstand their attacks, we must depend completely on God’s strength, and use every piece of His armor. Here, Paul is giving counsel exclusively to the Church, the body of Christ.The entire Body must be armed as we do battle against the “rulers of the darkness.”
We face a powerful army whose goal is to defeat Christ’s Church. When we become born-again and join Christ’s Church, these fallen angels become our enemies, and they try every device to turn us away from Christ and back to sin. Although we are assured of victory, we must engage in the struggle until Christ returns, because Satan is constaantly battling against all who are on the Lord’s side. We must have supernatural power to stand against Satan, and God has provided that in the Holy Spirit within us, and His armor surrounding us.
Be certain that you have put on the whole, complete armor of God, and you will gain the victory!!