Zoe sat at the edge of her bed and put on a pair of white socks. Then she looked up and saw her brother, Jackson, standing in her doorway wearing one black sock and one white sock. Zoe laughed. “Your socks don’t match,” she said.
Jackson looked down at his outfit. “They do too. The black one matches my black jeans and the white one matches my white t-shirt.” Jackson smiled a big toothy grin, and Zoe rolled her eyes and smirked.
Just then Dad came out of his room holding a black sock and a white sock. “Have either of you seen the match to either of these socks?” he asked.
“Yeah,” said Zoe. “On Jackson’s feet!” Jackson was slightly big for his age, so he and Dad could share socks. Dad shook his head as Jackson stood on one foot and yanked the black sock off, then handed it to him in exchange for the white sock.
After breakfast, they met in the living room for their morning devotions. “Time to get spiritually dressed for the day,” Dad said.
“But we’re already dressed,” said Jackson, looking down at his clothes. “We even have matching socks!”
“That’s not exactly what I meant,” said Dad. “Let’s try it from a different angle. Why is it important to wear socks?”
“Well, socks help keep our feet warm and dry,” Zoe said.
“And they protect our feet from getting hurt by rubbing against our shoes,” Jackson added.
Dad nodded. “The Bible talks about putting on spiritual clothes that help and protect us called the armor of God. It helps us remember His promises and protects us from the devil’s attacks. And one of the pieces of armor we need to put on is the gospel of peace on our feet.”
“How do we do that?” Zoe asked.
“By reminding ourselves that Jesus has saved us from sin and given us new hearts, and that we have victory over Satan through Him. One good way to do that is to read God’s Word and remember what Jesus has done for us every day so we can feel His peace in our lives and obey Him.”
Jackson smiled. “Well, let’s get started,” he said. “I want to make sure I’m wearing matching gospel socks!”
Ladies and gentlemen, we are in a spiritual war. We’re fighting an unseen enemy. He uses deceit, deflection and disguise. It’s getting worse and the devil is becoming much more real. We have to take this seriously because we have a crisis on our hands. We have to do something to prevent disaster.
There’s no shortage of passages in the New Testament that characterize the Christian life as a battle. Paul urges Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:18 to wage spiritual warfare. In 1 Timothy 6:12 Paul tells Timothy to fight the good fight of faith. Paul urges all of us in 1 Corinthians 16:13 to watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave and be strong.
Our spiritual battle plan is similar to a military battle plan. We have objectives, strategies and tactics. Satan and Jesus plan their attacks and direct their forces just like a military general does. We have to put on spiritual armour just like soldiers have to put on battle armor. Our struggle with evil will result in certain victory because of God’s promise to be with us in good times and in bad times. God helps us in our struggles. He will stand with us during the battles of life. He will give us the ammunition and the equipment we need to fight the battle.
In Ephesians 6:10-12 Paul urges us to put on the armour of God. This armour gives us the protection and weapons we need to fight this battle. We are trying to make progress toward God’s Kingdom, and Satan tries to resist us.
As Christians, we are called to join this fight. All believers have been drafted into this army,. We can either join the fight or stand in the background and be miserable. We don’t know when and where the devil will attack, but he often tempts us during vulnerable moments such as when we are hungry, angry, lonely or tired. We have to be prepared all the time for an attack. Satan is deceptive. We won’t recognize the trap as an evil scheme. It will seem good, and we’ll likely wrestle with some sort of doubt.
Today’s culture floods us with temptations and worldly thinking that encourage us to be puffed up, to lust, to covet, and more. Our flesh relishes these sins. It works to convince us that we don’t need God. Satan conspires to use both the world and our flesh to thwart the work of God in our lives.
Modern theology is almost entirely about how we can make things better for ourselves. When we study the Bible, we realize that it’s not just about making us feel better. It’s also about making us better soldiers of Jesus Christ. We might feel that we’re powerless. We might be afraid. Letting fear or our own weaknesses keep us from the battle is not acceptable. It’s like the old saying that “failure is not an option.” God calls us to be fearless. We don’t have to rely on our strength. God will strengthen us with His might and His armour.
In order to fight our enemy, it’s best to understand our enemy first. Most Christians don’t take the enemy seriously because they don’t know enough about him to take him seriously. Some Christians think that the devil is a Biblical symbol for evil. The Bible tells us that the devil is every bit as literal as God is. Symbols can’t do things such as deceive, murder, tempt, destroy, lie, accuse or control. Satan is active in human affairs today. The whole world is under his control. God has given Satan authority on the earth for a while, but one day God will take it back.
Our attempts to live victoriously in Christ when in a hostile environment could become frightening if we did not believe that God provides for us in every trial. As believers in Jesus Christ, baptized in His kingdom and covered by His blood, we have authority and power over the forces of darkness. Even though we have sinned and made mistakes, we have authority that Jesus has delegated to us. We are engaged in a battle, but we can walk in His power, claim His Name, and watch as He fights for us.
The armour of God is Christ Himself. God has given us enough faith to make sure we are covered from head to toe. It, like a long and wide shield, is enough to cover any need that will ever come along in our lives.
So how do we use the armour of God when we’re waging spiritual warfare? Knowing Bible references will help. Memorizing Scripture allows us to have it in mind so we can fight off Satan’s attacks. In Matthew 4:11, when the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness, Christ fought him off by quoting Scripture. We can share His Word with others and encourage them to trust Him.
So how can we fight the enemies of today and win? The answer is simple. We have to use weapons that are similar in nature to weapons used by soldiers in times of war. These similar weapons are outlined by the apostle Paul in Ephesians 6:10-17. Each piece of this armour of God is an ethical quality which is derived from the character of Christ and which is ours through faith.
First, we have to put on our helmets. Ephesians 6:17 tells us to “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Just like a physical helmet protects soldiers in battle, a spiritual helmet protect Christian soldiers. A soldier on the battlefield has confidence that his helmet will protect his head, and a Christian soldier has confidence that nothing can separate him or her from the love of God. As Paul says in Romans 8:31-39, if God is for us, who can be against us?
If our shield of faith is leaking and our daily victory is elusive, the helmet of salvation guarantees our victory. The helmet also provides coverage for the most critical part of our body: our mind, where spiritual battles are either won or lost. As we fight spiritual warfare on a daily basis, we can stand firm knowing that our salvation does not come and go with our success or failure in a spiritual battle. Our salvation is our eternal possession. We are children of God, and nothing can separate us from Christ’s love.
Next, we are to arm ourselves with weapons. In the case of a soldier on the battlefield, these weapons include guns and grenades. On the spiritual battlefield, the weapon is the truth of the Word of God. It is the only offensive weapon mentioned in Paul’s list of spiritual armour. We are to defend ourselves against Satan’s attacks by speaking and reading God’s Word. Satan tries to influence us by planting thoughts in our heads, but he can’t read our thoughts. If we’re going to resist Satan, we have to do so verbally so he can understand us and be put to flight.
The sword of the Spirit is the word of God. We need to practice with it regularly so that we become proficient in using it, just like someone who takes part in the sport of fencing has to practice regularly. How much effort do we spend on training with the sword of the spirit, also known as the word of God, the Bible? Are we half-hearted with it? Do we study it and put verses to memory? Do we know our way around it and can find passages when we need to?
General Jesus commands us to take up the sword. We are to do so until we get to heaven. The Spirit alone can show us how to use it effectively. It’s ours to use under His guidance and leading. It isn’t to be used for defence, but for attack. The enemy is up close and personal and we can’t throw spears or shoot arrows at him. We need a powerful weapon for close quarter fighting and this is it.
We are to wear a belt. A soldier’s belt allows him to carry his weapons. A spiritual warrior wears the belt of truth-truth about himself or herself, relationships, God and God’s love, our spouses and children and relatives. The belt of truth allows us to live truthfully and not live a lie. The belt of truth is the best weapon to use for fighting evil.
In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am…the truth.” Because Christ is in us, the truth is in us. When we learn to live in the truth on a daily basis, we will grow to love the truth because we have nothing to hide. The truth will set us free because it is one of the strongest spiritual weapons we have in our arsenal.
We are also to arm ourselves with shields of protection. Ephesians 6:14,16 tells us to “Stand, therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness… Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench the fiery darts of the wicked one.” A soldier on the battlefield today or a police officer on duty wears a bulletproof vest and a helmet. Riot police are also equipped with face shields and full-length body shields. A Christian soldier has the resources of the greatest shield of all-Jesus Christ. He stands with us and fights with us and for us against Satan’s attacks.
Biblical faith is simply what we believe about God and His Word. The more we know about God and His Word, the more faith we will have and the bigger our shields will be. The less we know, the smaller our shield will be and the easier it will be for one of Satan’s fiery darts to reach its target. These darts are nothing more than lies, accusations and temptations bombarding our minds. When a deceptive thought, accusation or temptation enters our minds, we can meet it head-on with what we know to be true about God and His Word.
If we are living in Christ, we will have to take our shots too. Satan will do everything he can to convince us that we are not who Christ says we are. Guilt and shame from our sins will be aimed at our hearts with the intent of killing us. We might even get knocked down hard. The intent of God’s breastplate of righteousness is not to perfect us, it is to protect us and our hearts today.
A good soldier also needs good footwear. Soldiers wear boots that have to meet tough regulations. Christians are to wear the sandals of peace as Paul commands us in Ephesians 6:15: “and having shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace.” Just like a soldier’s boots provide traction for every type of terrain, the good spiritual boot called the Gospel gives us stability and sure footing when we face pain and fear. These spiritual boots will allow us to take the gospel anywhere and everywhere, just like a soldier’s boots will allow him to go anywhere and everywhere.
The shoes of peace provide protection against the divisive schemes of the devil when we act as a peacemaker among believers. Peacemakers bring people together by promoting fellowship and reconciliation. Anyone can divide a fellowship, but it takes the grace of God to unite us in Him.
Too many Christians insist on common doctrine as the basis for fellowship. They reason that if we don’t think the same and believe the same, there is no basis for peace. Common doctrine isn’t the basis for fellowship.; common heritage is. We are all children of God. If we wait for fellowship with someone until we agree perfectly on every point of doctrine, we will be the loneliest Christians on earth. Instead of insisting on the unity of the mind, we can preserve the unity of the Spirit by taking the initiative to be the peacemaker in our relationships.
The best weapon we have is prayer. Prayer is not a tangible piece of armour, but Paul summed up his message on spiritual armour with an eager command to pray. Our spiritual armour comes from God and is only empowered by God as we seek Him through prayer.
When we put on the armour of God, we are really putting on Christ. When we put on Christ, we take ourselves out of the realm of the flesh, where we are vulnerable to attack. We place ourselves within the dominion of Christ, where the devil can’t attack us. Satan has nothing on Christ, and to the extent that we put on Christ, the devil can’t touch us.
The belt, breastplate and shoes are made possible when we receive Christ and in which we are commanded to stand firm. They, along with the rest of the armour, have already been supplied to us by God. We have all we need to win this war. Our strength is supplied by God’s grace. He equips us to live the life to which we have been called.
Spiritual warfare is everywhere, even in the church. We only have to look at the empty pews in most churches today to see that this is true. Spiritual warfare disguised as other activities on Sunday morning or church dissention keeps people away from church. People who don’t attend church for reasons such as not liking the minister or the order of service or the music or taking part in other activities on Sunday morning are on the side of the devil. He hides the real reason why people need to attend church. He doesn’t tell them that the real reason to go to church is to worship God, especially with other believers.
Is it even possible to live peaceably with others? In a newspaper column that appeared a few years ago, Billy Graham was asked why nations can’t get along with each other. He was also asked if warfare could be eliminated if poverty was eliminated. He stated in his reply that “Even if all poverty were somehow eliminated we’d still have conflicts and wars. This is because our real problem is deeper than economic inequality, or other social or economic problems. Our real problem is within ourselves, within our own hearts and minds.”
What help do we have to stand firm against attacks from Satan and his allies? We have:
- Truth: It protects us against damaging lies.
- Righteousness (by faith through grace in Christ): It annihilates our sins.
- Peace: It guides our hearts and minds. It motivates us to share the hope of Jesus.
- Faith: It protects us from attacks and extinguishes the flaming darts of the devil.
- Salvation: In Christ alone. It conquers death. It is finished. Team Jesus has won.
- The sword of the Spirit: The word of God. Inherent. Flawless. It guides us in all truth.
- Pray in the Spirit: It connects us to God’s power.
If we need more inspiration, all we have to do is sing the old hymn “Stand Up, Stand up for Jesus”:
Stand up, stand up for Jesus! ye soldiers of the cross;
Lift high His royal banner, it must not suffer loss:
From vict’ry unto vict’ry, His army shall He lead,
Till every foe is vanquished, and Christ is Lord indeed.
Stand up, stand up for Jesus! The trumpet call obey:
Forth to the mighty conflict, in this His glorious day;
Ye that are men now serve Him against unnumbered foes;
Let courage rise with danger, and strength to strength oppose.
Stand up, stand up for Jesus! Stand in His strength alone,
The arm of flesh will fail you, ye dare not trust your own;
Put on the gospel armor, and watching unto prayer,
Where calls the voice of duty, be never wanting there.
Stand up, stand up for Jesus! the strife will not be long;
This day the noise of battle, the next the victor’s song;
To him that overcometh a crown of life shall be;
He with the King of glory shall reign eternally.
- Jeremiah, David: Answers to Questions About Spiritual Warfare (San Diego, CA: Turning Point for God; 2014)
- Craig Condon, “Spiritual Warfare and Real Warfare.” Retrieved from the author’s personal library.
- Anne Cetas, “Time for the Armour.” Retrieved from firstname.lastname@example.org
- Charles R. Swindoll, “The Shadow of the Giant, Part 2”. Retrieved from www.insightforliving.ca
- Bayless Conley, “The Reality of the Battle.” Retrieved from Crosswalk@crosswalkmail.com
- Dr. Neil Anderson, “The Helmet of Salvation.” Retrieved from Crosswalk@crosswalkmail.com
- Dr. Neil Anderson, “The Shield of Faith.” Retrieved from Crosswalk@crosswalkmail.com
- Dr. Neil Anderson, “The Shoes of Peace.” Retrieved from Crosswalk@crosswalkmail.com
- Dr. Neil Anderson, “The Belt of Truth.” Retrieved from Crosswalk@crosswalkmail.com
- Dr. Neil Anderson, “The Full Armor of God.” Retrieved from Crosswalk@crosswalkmail.com
- Dr. Tony Evans, “Grace Fully Supplied.” Retrieved from https://www.christianity.com/devotionals/alternative-view-tony-evans-/alternative-view-november-11-2014.html#
- Dr. Charles Stanley, “Enduring Satanic Attacks.” Retrieved from https://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/in-touch/in-touch-nov-12-2010-1164088.html#allpass.container
- Paul Estabrooks, “Armor of God.” Retrieved from Crosswalk@crosswalkmail.com
- Pete Briscoe, “Experiencing Life Today-May 25, 2015.” Retrieved from Crosswalk@crosswalkmail.com
- Rick Renner, “The Shield of Faith.” Retrieved from Christianity.email@example.com
- Michael Youssef, Ph.D.,” Faithful in Battle.” Retrieved from firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dr. David Jeremiah, “Praying on the Armor.” Retrieved from email@example.com
- Bill Crowder, “Courageous Stand.” Retrieved from firstname.lastname@example.org
- Peter Hoytema, “Prayer and Spiritual Warfare.” Retrieved from email@example.com
- Pastor Greg Laurie, “It’s Time to Fight Back.” Retrieved from Crosswalk@crosswalkmail.com
- Philip Asselin, “Take the Sword.” Retrieved from firstname.lastname@example.org
- Gwen Smith, “Standing Firm When Your Faith Feels Flimsy.” Retrieved from http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/girlfriends
- Melissa Yeagle, “Gospel Socks.” Retrieved from email@example.com
- George Duffield, “Stand Up Stand Up for Jesus.” Retrieved from https://library.timelesstruths.org/music/Stand_Up_Stand_Up_for_Jesus/