Somewhere in the world at this very moment someone is getting a pull on their heart to turn to Jesus. Maybe that person is you. While they can feel their heart being tugged in one direction they can feel their mind wanting to go another. The thoughts tell them that their life is too much fun and they don’t need to worry about this “Jesus stuff”. “There will be plenty of time later. Just have fun.” It feels like a tug of war going on inside. What to do?
It’s 10pm and you are just settling into bed. It has been a long day because God has called you to go overseas on a mission trip and you were making all the arrangements. Just as you settle down you start getting these thoughts in your head “I can’t do this. I have too much to do at home” “I’m not ready to do this yet”. Why these thoughts now? You were so sure just a little bit ago.
These are only two examples of how the devil and his demons attack people. Saved or unsaved, devout or curious, and yes even pastors are prime targets for the devil and his war against God and at some point the devil will attack everyone who is going the right direction and poses a threat to him. If he is attacking you it is because you are a threat!
The attack could come in many forms. It could be thoughts of doubt coming into your mind. It could be things suddenly going wrong in your life. It could even be a sudden uncontrollable loss of temper that caused you to not act like a Christian and stumble in your Christian walk. The devil’s ultimate goal is to take your eyes off God and thwart His plans for you.
Even pastors are not immune. When I started this ministry the devil attacked me continually for 6 months until he finally gave up. Whenever God gives me a new project or a new message and I begin to act on it the devil attacks me. The devil is attacking me right now as I write this message but you know what? It’s ok. It’s just further affirmation that the direction I am going and the messages God is giving me are important and that they matter. If they weren’t important or if they didn’t matter the devil wouldn’t worry so much about it.
Some of you right now are saying “Yes I know the devil is fighting me but how do I fight back? How do I engage the enemy and win the battle?”. Well Paul gave us the answer to that question in his letter to the church at Ephesus.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”Ephesians 6:10-18 NKJV
So what does all that mean? We need to get our armor and suit up! No no no… don’t get on Amazon or eBay and look for armor. The armor that Paul is speaking of is found in the Bible and by following Christ Jesus. It’s not physical armor. It’s spiritual armor.
Belt of truth – The belt of truth is the first part of the armor of God because, without truth, we are lost and the attacks of the devil would surely overpower us. Imagine if you didn’t put your belt on so that when you began to fight your pants fell down around your ankles. You would fall flat on your face and the battle would be lost before it even began.
Paul’s imagery was surely based on the Roman soldiers that he saw every day. The belt they wore wasn’t what we wear today. It was a much thicker and heavier leather. It had a protective shield that hung down the front and a place to hang his sword.
Truth is very important in the life of a Christian because Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life”. The belt of truth protects us and prepares us for the battle that is part of every Christian’s daily life. We must always speak in truth and act in truth.
Breastplate of righteousness – a breastplate was used to cover the vital organs including the heart and it would have loops on it that attached to the belt so that it would stay in place. Righteousness refers to being “right with God”. We can only accomplish this by accepting Jesus as our Christ and savior.
The breastplate was the largest piece of armor that a soldier wore. The righteousness of Jesus is used to protect our heart spiritually from deception by the great deceiver. The truth of God’s Word holds it firmly in place.
Boots of the gospel of peace – Paul says that your feet should be fitted with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of peace. This obviously refers to the boots worn by the Roman soldiers. These boots allowed them to firmly stand their ground and walk over anything laying in the field.
As a Christian our spiritual shoes should be the Word of God and we should always have them on and ready for whenever we must battle the devil or his demons. Knowledge of the Gospel allows us to stand firm in our faith. We can use the Word of God to trample any evil thing in our path. Always keep your spiritual boots in good condition by reading scripture daily.
Shield of faith – the shield of a Roman soldier was almost as large as a door and was able to protect his entire body from arrow and sword strikes. It was extremely important and was the first barrier against enemy attacks.
Just as the shield protected the entire soldier so does our faith. The devil and his band of demons can’t penetrate it. Their only hope is to make you doubt your faith so that you lower your shield allowing their attacks to make it through. The devil’s greatest weapon is doubt. He will try to make you doubt your calling, your path, and even your faith but by keeping your faith strong he will never get through no matter how hard he tries. (You can read more on faith in my message “By Faith…”)
Helmet of salvation – the helmet was the last piece of armor that the soldier put on. It protects the brain which is the nerve center of the body. Without the brain the body dies.
As Christians, our spiritual “helmet” is made from the salvation we receive when we accept Jesus as our personal Savior. The blood of Jesus protects our brain from letting the doubts and bad thoughts take hold. The doubts and thoughts that the devil uses to try and kill the spiritual “body”.
The sword of the Spirit – The sword is the only offensive weapon we need when fighting the devil. Paul goes ahead and explains what this is. It is the Word of God. It is God’s Words and Promises
When you feel the devil start to wage his war against you quote scripture to him. Oh man he hates that. Below are two of my favorite to “stab” him with.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,Psalm 23:4-6 NKJV
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
And of course the Lord’s Prayer which Jesus tells us to pray:
“Our Father in heaven,Matthew 6:9-13 NKJV
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”
Prayer – while technically not a piece of armor it is something that should always be done before, during, and after battle. Actually Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to “pray without ceasing”! Prayer is like adding superpowers to your armor.
Pray for strength, wisdom, and guidance and know that God always has your back. If you are not sure exactly what to pray then you can always pray the Lord’s Prayer mentioned above but always pray!
So, in conclusion, whenever you feel the devil’s attack begin, suit up in the full armor of God, pray, and then rush into battle knowing that the devil has already lost!