• BE STRONG
• OUR ENEMY
• HELMET OF SALVATION
• WORD OF GOD
Ephesians 6:10-20 is one of the most practical passages in the Bible. It is worth memorizing and repeating frequently. This passage should be applied in every situation:
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 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. 13 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. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 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 saints.” Ephesians 6:10-18
Sometimes I hear, “You should put on your weapons everyday”. Or another comment, “Our shield of faith is the only offensive weapon.” Are those comments logical?
Our Spiritual weapons are truth, obedience, love, faith, wisdom and Scripture. These should be constant in our lives; we should be constantly using our weapons in all circumstances. All weapons are both offensive and defensive. They should be part of us. We should have the character of Jesus.
When we moved from Montreal to a small farm in Nova Scotia I found myself very busy with two small children and a cow to milk. I knew how important it was to read and study the Bible, having fallen away from God a couple times because of neglect of His Word. I decided to memorize the Word and meditate on various passages when I did repetitious chores like milking our cow. Ephesians 6:10-18 was one of the passages I memorized. A fuller understanding came with time and repetition. I had a chance, as everyone does because of various trials, to apply what I was learning.
Later, when we moved to the Northwest Territories I repeated this Scripture passage every day instead of counting while doing exercises.
Following are comments on this passage:
• BE STRONG
“Finally be strong…” We are commanded to be strong. Even a child can be strong spiritually: “Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:4
Little children are naturally humble because they have to depend on others to meet most of their needs:
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’” Matthew 19:14 Mark 10:14
Heaven and the kingdom of heaven on earth (where Jesus has authority) belong to the humble and childlike in faith.
Humility does not mean doing nothing. Our strength is small if we lose courage in times of trouble:
“If you falter (lose courage, draw back or hesitate) in times of trouble, how small is your strength!” Proverbs 24:10
It means asking God and trusting Him for the answer, then doing what He says or what He would want.
When we lived in Nova Scotia, I was considering quitting my paper route because a dog might bite me. Then I read the following verse:
“The sluggard (lazy, idle, slothful person) says, “There is a lion outside!” or, “I will be murdered in the streets!” Proverbs 22:13 Proverbs 26:13
A sluggard is someone who doesn’t do his work because of a lion, while I didn’t want to do my work because there might be a mean dog! I didn’t want to be a sluggard. God did provide a large gentle dog to walk with me as I had asked. Jim would let me off because I like to walk while he went up on the mountain to pick people up to give them a ride to church. After he came down from the mountain he would pick me up. I was afraid of dogs. One Sunday I asked God to help me not be afraid of dogs. Jim didn’t pick me up at the usual time (I found out later the bus had gone off the road), so I had to walk into town. As I was walking by one house a dog, usually on a chain, got away from its owner. He ran to me and nipped the edge of my coat. I just stood there—not afraid. If I had been afraid, he probably would have bitten me.
God even helps with our weaknesses. We have no need to be afraid:
“The wicked man flees though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.” Proverbs 28:1
There is no reason we can’t be strong because we are to be strong “in the Lord and in his mighty power”.
“When I am weak, then I am strong…” 2 Corinthians 12:10
When we realize we are weak, we rely on the Lord’s strength. The more we rely on the Lord, the more strength we have. We have to believe that He will give us the strength to do what He asks us to do. The Bible commands us to be strong in the Lord over and over.
The Lord told Joshua to be strong and courageous four times (Joshua 1:6, 7, 9, 18)just in the first chapter of Joshua:
“Be strong and courageous because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to your forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:6-9
Joshua, as leader of the Israelites, was given everything he needed to win every battle he had to fight in the Promised Land. The Israelites won almost every battle. They did not win the battle of Ai because of sin (Joshua 7-8), and they were tricked by the Gibeonites because they failed to ask God (Joshua 9). Joshua learned to ask God in every situation. Even the battles we seemingly don’t win can teach us.
God asks Jeremiah how he can manage in the hard times if he has been worn out by easy trials:
“If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?” Jeremiah 12:5
Jeremiah went through so much more than most of us. If God expected him to have courage, He would expect us to have courage:
“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
God will never give us more than we can bear:
“You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way.” 2 Samuel 22:37 Psalm 18:36
With His help we can bear all things.
“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13
We are given everything we need to win every battle.
• OUR ENEMY
“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.”
Paul tells us who we are fighting. It is so easy to think a person or people are our enemies. From this passage we can realize that the devil and his demon’s are our enemies.
The devil uses people. A good example is when Peter told Jesus He should never go to the cross:
“Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Out of my sight, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you don’t have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.’” Matthew 16:23
Jesus knew it was Satan talking through Peter.
We don’t want to glorify the devil by blaming everything on him as if God were not in control. The devil can only do what we as humans let him do. He can be very persuasive, but he can’t make us do anything:
“…each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” James 1:14-15
A pastor we knew said, “I can defeat the world and the devil–it’s my flesh that is the biggest problem.”
The devil is a powerful enemy, and we have to be aware of what he is doing. As Christians, we have more power than the devil, if we rely on God. God gave man dominion over the earth:
“God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Genesis 1:28
Because Adam sinned, (“To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, `You must not eat of it,’ Cursed is the ground because of you…” Genesis 3:17) the devil legally acquired that dominion: “…the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” 1 John 5:19
When Jesus was crucified on the cross, He rose and took the keys to death and Hades:
“…And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” Revelation 1:18
He then gave to the church (Christian believers) the right to have dominion over this earth:
“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” Luke 10:19
How much of that legal right we actually put into practice is up to us. We have as much power as Jesus did when He was on earth. If we do exactly what God tells us to do, as Jesus did, we can do the things that He did:
“By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.” John 5:30
Jesus “…being in very nature God…” Philippians 2:6 never sinned, doing and saying ALL God commanded Him.
“But if I do judge, my decisions are right, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me.” John 8:16
Jesus made it very clear that He was sent from God the Father to do His will:
“For I did not speak on my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it.” John 12:49
Jesus was limited while on earth. He was confined to one place at a time, and He only spent about three years doing public ministry:
“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” John 14:12
Because of the power and weapons He gave us, we can demolish strongholds:
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-4
“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.” Ephesians 6:13
That implies that there will be times when the devil will especially attack us. But with God’s weapons we can stand. This passage also implies that sometimes just by standing, we have won the victory.
Christ was placed:
“far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” Ephesians 1:21
He is above everything—whether good or evil.
We (the church—believers) will win because Jesus has won:
“His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms,” Ephesians 3:10
God commands us to be strong. We are to do this by using his powerful weapons. They will never fail; they will defeat the devil every time.
“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist…”
Jesus is truth:
“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
Everything centers around Jesus. He created everything and everything has its being in Him:
“For in him we live and move and have our being.’…” Acts 15:28
If we believe in Jesus, we have the Holy Spirit within us and guiding us into all truth:
“the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” John 14:17
“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth…” John 16:3 “…Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” John 18:37 “the truth will set you free.” John 8:34
The main weapon the devil uses against us and against people groups is deceit. If we know what he is doing, and we can know what he is doing by fully trusting and obeying God, we can defeat the devil in every instance. It may take time, but truth always wins in the end.
People are held in bondage because they believe a lie. For instance, in some instances we can’t be well until we know the truth about why we are sick or how we can become well. Sometimes a nation is destroyed because the people are told lies by a politician or about a politician.
A man might think that because he has been with lots of women, he is macho. If he could understand what God thinks of that he would change his mind and consequently his behavior:
“With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk; All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deep stepping into a noose till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life.” Proverbs 7:21-23
The world (those that follow a godless belief system) might look up to the “macho man”, but God would say he is a fool who will suffer serious consequences. AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases can be a consequence. Emotional problems are brought on (often affecting a person’s whole life) by getting involved with someone sexually when forbidden by God. A person can lose their reputation:
“A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” Proverbs 22:1
Most importantly, a person can lose his soul:
“What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:26, Mark 8:36-37
Sometimes, people remain in a sin, thinking they cannot change. That is the devil’s lie. Understanding truth can set us free:
“Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” John 8:31-32
Speaking “truthfully to your neighbor” is using the weapon of truth: “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.” Ephesians 4:29
“These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts;” Zechariah 8:16
When we do this, we promote God’s ways. We glorify Him. We keep the nation healthy: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people.” Proverbs 14:34
We use the weapon of truth by praying for truth to be made known. We can read the news and pray that people will hear and understand the truth about specific situations. Imagine the shape the world would be in if the Christians weren’t praying and doing the will of God!
We should be “…speaking the truth in love…” Ephesians 4:15 in all situations.
Knowing truth, speaking truth and living truth is a powerful weapon against evil.
“…with the breastplate of righteousness in place…
The breastplate of the Roman soldier protected his vital organ such as the heart and lungs. Spiritually we are unprotected without Jesus. Only Jesus s righteous. In fact, Jesus is righteousness. Jeremiah says that Jesus will be called:
“…The Lord Our Righteousness.” Jeremiah 23:6
None of us do what is right; none of us is righteous in ourselves:
“As it is written, “There is no one righteous; no, not one.” Romans 3:10 Psalm 14:1-3 Psalm 51:5 53:1-3 Ecclesiastes 7:20 Isaiah 64:6
Because Adam chose to sin, we all have inherited a sinful nature. However, because of Jesus dying in our place, of His taking the penalty for our sins, we can be completely forgiven and given a new nature:
“…“For as through the one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the one, many will be made righteous.” Romans 5:19
We are righteous if we believe in Jesus. If we believe in Jesus, we live by faith:
“For in it is revealed God’s righteousness from faith to faith. As it is written, “But the righteous shall live by faith.” Romans 1:17
Those who belong to Christ are “the righteousness of God”:
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
Jesus paid the penalty for our sin so that we could have His Holy Spirit within us. How can we apply the righteousness of God? By obeying Him:
“if we are careful to obey all this law before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.” Deuteronomy 6:25
We must obey someone. Obedience to Jesus leads to righteousness:
“Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?” Romans 6:16
If we obey God, we remain under His protection; if we do not obey God, the devil has the legal right to harm us and those we love:
“If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.” John 15:10
Not obeying God is obeying sin which leads to death. By obeying God, the Israelites could “live safely in the land”:
“‘Follow my decrees and be careful to obey my laws, and you will live safely in the land.” Leviticus 25:18
“If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands…” Leviticus 26:3
God goes on to say in Leviticus 26 (and in Deuteronomy 28) all the ways in which the Israelites will be blessed if they obey and all the ways they will be cursed in they disobey. Not only would their obedience cause life to “always go well” with them, obedience would affect their children:
“Be careful to obey all these regulations I am giving you, so that it may always go well with you and your children after you, because you will be doing what is good and right in the eyes of the Lord your God.” Deuteronomy 12:28
In the majority of cases, those who closely follow the ways of the Lord are blessed with children who are a blessing to the world.
At times it takes strength and courage to obey God:
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.’ Joshua 1:7
Joshua is promised success for obedience.
We are all promised success if we obey God:
“Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him.” Psalm 12:1
To obey God we need to know His will. Knowing God’s will can best be determined by an ongoing study of and obedience to the Bible.
God commands us to:
“Be holy, because I am holy.” Leviticus 11:44, 1 Peter 1:16
Jesus expects us to be holy:
“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48
We can be holy or perfect by 1111obeying God. We should offer our bodies as “a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God” and “not conform to the pattern of this world” so that our minds will be renewed to determine His will:
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1-2
We obey Him by doing what He says in His Word or following His explicit instructions.
In the book Murdered Heiress, Dr. Petti Wagner tells how she was kidnapped, tortured and murdered. But she came back to life and by carefully following God’s leading, she escaped from where she was being held captive.
We can escape from any of the devil’s prisons in our lives by carefully following the instructions of the Holy Spirit. If we follow God’s orders, the process will work for our good, the good of others and for God’s glory. We should try to live close to the Lord. He will help us to be holy. If we sin we need to ask His forgiveness:
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us, also our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
Listening to Him is very important:
“If my people would only listen to me, if Israel would only follow my ways, how quickly I would subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes! Those who hate the LORD would cringe before him, and their punishment would last forever.” Psalm 81:13-15
This is an important and often overlooked promise – that if we follow God’s ways, our enemies would be quickly subdued.
How powerful a weapon is obedience!
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.” 2 Corinthians 10:5-6
By our obedience we will win the victory. The best way to “demolish strongholds” in our own lives especially is to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”. Our goal is to: “continue in him” so we will be “confident and unashamed” when He comes again:
“And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.” 1 John 2:28
Nothing is more harmful to the Kingdom of God than a hypocrite; nothing is more helpful than an example of righteousness. Being holy is a powerful weapon against evil. If we are righteous, we will be able to discern when someone else is righteous:
“Then you shall return and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him who serves God and him who doesn’t serve him.” Malachi 3:18 “If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.” 1 John 2:29 “Little children, let no one lead you astray. He who does righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.” 1 John 3:7 “In this the children of God are revealed, and the children of the devil. Whoever doesn’t do righteousness is not of God, neither is he who doesn’t love his brother. For this is the message which you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; unlike Cain, who was of the evil one, and killed his brother. Why did he kill him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s righteous.” 1 John 3:10-12
Those who seek the Lord know what is right; the evil person does not:
“Evildoers do not understand what is right, but those who seek the Lord understand it fully.” Proverbs 28:5
The devil wants to harm us, but if we obey Jesus, the devil cannot harm us. No curse can come on anyone when there is no doorway, opening or reason for a curse:
“Like a fluttering sparrow, like a darting swallow, so the undeserved curse doesn’t come to rest.” Proverbs 26:2 Righteousness deliver from death: “Ill-gotten treasurers are of no value, but righteousness delivers from death.” Proverbs 10:2 “Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath. But righteousness delivers from death.” Proverbs 11:4
Righteousness is simply doing what is right according to God. Righteousness is a powerful weapon against the enemy. By obeying Jesus we protect ourselves, those we know and all of society. We help to advance His kingdom in this world.
“…and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.”
When Paul tells us “Stand firm then…” Ephesians 6:14, he includes “…your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” Ephesians 6:15
We need good shoes in order to “stand firm”. We need shoes to protect our feet. We need feet in order to walk – to move forward. We are sent, by God, to tell others about Jesus:
“How then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:14-15 Isaiah 52:7
We are His ambassadors to reconcile people to Him; “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20
Readiness is “always being ready”. We are to always be ready to tell others about Jesus:
“Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” Ephesians 5:15-17
The “Lord’s will” is that no one perish:
“…He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
We are to take every opportunity:
“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:5-6
“Outsiders” are those who don’t know Jesus. We should always be ready to tell others about this gospel of peace on every occasion with love and wisdom. We can ask for His wisdom at any time. “the gospel of peace” is the gospel of Jesus, the eternal peace that He is and promises:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you…” John 14:27
The “gospel of peace” is also the gospel of love. Jesus is love:
“…God is love…” 1 John 4:8, 16
“I and the Father are one.” John 10:30
We should be ready to tell people that “…through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” Romans 1:5 at “every opportunity”:
“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:5-6
We should be “full of grace” because we realize the grace Jesus has for us. Jesus calls us the “salt of the earth” Matthew 5:13, if we allow His Spirit to shine through us.
We should be ready always “making the most of every opportunity”:
“Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” Ephesians 5:15-17
We should have “readiness” to show love, especially to believers:
“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
It is the “readiness” to show Christ in us: “the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:26-28
It is Christ’s Spirit living through the believer:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…” Galatians 5:22-23
Jesus wants us to be complete in Him:
“I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:23
Jesus says, through David:
“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!” Psalm 133:1
And through Paul:
“then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.” Philippians 2:2.
And through Peter: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8 Since it is God’s very heart, when Christians are united much can be accomplished for the kingdom of God. How do we apply this weapon? The best description of how to apply God’s love is: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Nothing will soften the heart as much as genuine love. Obeying this command shows that we love others and love God: “This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands.” 1 John 5:2
Paul was able to ask the Thessalonians to follow him because he had shown them that he loved them:
“but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us. Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.” 1 Thessalonians 2:7-9
Paul genuinely loved the Thessalonians because he had God’s heart:
“You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.” 1 Thessalonians 2:10-12
We should find the peaceful solution when possible:
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18 It is up to us to “…seek peace and pursue it.” Proverbs 34:14
When we were living in Montreal, a friend told us the following is story He accidentally ran into a man’s car. The man got out of his car very angry, red in the face. Our friend said to him that he was so sorry. He realized it was all his fault and he was willing to pay what was necessary. The man went away calm and didn’t charge our friend anything. In a sense, he had used the weapon of love. Our friend’s purpose was not to get away without paying anything, but to treat someone else fairly, the way he would have been wanted to be treated:
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1
Showing love will work out for our good and God’s glory. God gave us the greatest example of love:
“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” 1 John 4:9
Jesus told us to also show this kind of love:
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:12-13
Perhaps the greatest act of love is telling someone about Jesus or showing them Jesus in some way, even if it means sacrifice on our part. They, too, can have the: “…peace of God, which transcends all understanding…” Philippians 4:7 This is truly “the gospel of peace”.
Putting readiness and love together is shown in the following verse:
“…Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience…” 1 Peter 3:15-16
In all situations we need to be ready to present 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.”
Faith is believing what God says and acting on it no matter what circumstances appear to be, no matter what the opinion of others. The Bible defines faith:
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1 Hebrews 11 goes on to tell how Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, the prophets and others accomplished what they did because of faith:
“These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” Hebrews 11:39-40
Consider Noah as an example of having faith. He spent years building a huge boat, to the exact specifications God had given him, even though there was no evidence of an impending flood: “
Noah did everything just as God commanded him.” Genesis 6:22 “And Noah did all that the LORD commanded him.” Genesis 7:5
He used faith as a weapon by obeying what God had said. David is another example of someone using faith as a weapon. He knew it was God’s will that Goliath would be destroyed. Recalling past experiences, he showed great courage in spite of the odds against him:
“The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”…” 1 Samuel 1737
We are to live by what God tells us to do—by faith: “…the righteous will live by his faith“ Habakkuk 2:4 Our obedience to God will be credited to us as righteousness: “…to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.” Romans 2:5
God considers our faith in Him of greater worth than gold:
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:6-7
Overcoming trials through faith in God is giving us a relationship with God, which is worth more than anything else.
I have been so in turmoil at times in my life that I could not even concentrate on the word of God. At those times I remembered that we had to have is faith in God to: “extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” It helps to have faith when we realize that God is directing our lives and allowing various circumstances:
“A man’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?” Proverbs 20:24, (See also Proverbs 16:1, Proverbs 16:9, Jeremiah 10:23)
Jesus will make our steps firm if we trust in Him:
“If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm” Psalm 37:23 (See also Isaiah 26:7)
When we realize how God directs our lives we can see Him in charge of every detail. The devil is involved, but God uses the devil. We can know that:
“…in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
Often we do not see the reason and results of God directing our lives—we just need to trust, obey and rejoice:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
It helps us to have faith if we have God’s perspective on trials:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” James 1:2-8
We just have to ask and believe, and God will deliver us—in His own way and in His own time. We should be joyful in trials because they teach us to rely on God:
“Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.” 2 Corinthian 1:9-11
Jesus often commented on faith. He commended some for their faith and He rebuked some (mostly His disciples) for their lack of faith. This should speak to us because we who believe in Him are His disciples:
“…Jesus said, “If you h
old to my teaching, you are really my disciples.” John 8:31
Jesus did not do many miracles in His home town because of their lack of faith:
“And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.” Matthew 13:58
He said that we only need a little faith to do miracles:
“He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, `Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20
We can do great things if we have faith:
“Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, `Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”’ Matthew 21:21-22
We can do what Jesus did and more:
“And these signs will accompany those who believe”: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” Mark 16:17-18
Both the person asking for healing and the elders show their faith when they follow James’ (God’s) command:
“Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well…” James 5:14-15
We can win every battle against the enemy by trusting God:
“…This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4
• HELMET OF SALVATION
“Take the helmet of salvation…
” A helmet protects the mind. Salvation protects the mind. Our mind is changed when we become born again. Jesus controls our minds instead of sin controlling our minds:
“You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” Romans 6:18
Saul hated Christians and had received permission from the Jewish leaders to go to the city of Damascus to arrest them. While on his way Christ appeared to him in a bright light. Saul was blinded until Jesus’ instructed His servant Ananias to bring healing to him. Saul’s name was changed to Paul as he began to proclaim Jesus and suffered much to bring glory to His name. The Apostle Paul had changed:
“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.” I Timothy 1:15-16
All who believe in Jesus are changed:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
We use the “helmet of salvation” by taking control of our mind to be obedient to Jesus and accepting the wisdom He gives. A helmet is what is needed to protect our heads and therefore our minds. When we receive salvation we receive the mind of Christ:
“…we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:16
We have the ability, because the Holy Spirit lives in us, to:
“…take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5
The most important aspect of our battle against evil is controlling our minds, We must be careful about what we allow in our minds through T.V., music or magazines or a poor choice of friends. We are not guilty for every thought the devil puts in our mind, but we are responsible for what we let stay there:
“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Proverbs 4:23
We can ask God’s help in fighting against the devil in this area. Several passages show us that God desires to gives us wisdom:
“Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.” Psalm 51:6
God is the source of all wisdom:
“For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He will teach us to make wise use of our time so we will be wise:
“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12 ” Proverbs 2:6
Wisdom is the worth sacrificing everything for:
“Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” Proverbs 4:7
If we have God’s wisdom, we have everything. We get wisdom and knowledge from God. We can ask for wisdom and know we will receive it no matter how we have fallen short of God’s plan for our lives:
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5
Wisdom is a powerful weapon:
“A wise man has great power, and a man of knowledge increases strength…” Proverbs 24:5
Joseph rose from prison to palace in one day because of wisdom and governed Egypt with wisdom. He listened well to God.
• WORD OF GOD
“…and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
Since Jesus is the word of God, the power and understanding of Scripture is inexhaustible:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind…The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us…” John 1:1-14
Jesus is the word of God and yet preached the word of God and used the word of God as a weapon. When the devil tempted Him to prove He was the Son of God by turning stones into bread He quoted Deuteronomy 8:3:
“Man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
The devil took him to the highest point of the temple in Jerusalem:
“If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”
The devil quoted Psalm 91:11-12
Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy 6:16:
“Do not put the Lord your God to the test…”
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of
the world and their splendor:
“All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:13
“Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.” (Matthew 4 Luke 4)
Often this weapon is a word from the Bible which we can use in a specific situation. When Jim and I lived in Nova Scotia, we were talking to a young lady who had all sorts of problems. Suddenly Jim said to her:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
That was what she needed to hear from the word of God at that moment. It was a weapon against the anxiety she was feeling.
Preaching the word is also a weapon. The word is proclaimed dispelling lies and proclaiming truth. Jesus preached:
“From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” Matthew 4:17
We are to preach and teach the word or support those who do because it “saves those who believe”:
“…devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.” 1 Timothy 4:13
“Preach the word…” 2 Timothy 4:2
“…God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.” 1 Corinthians 1:21
We are to study the Scripture so we can understand and use the “word of truth” the way God approves:
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
Then we can know if what we are hearing preached and taught is correct. We are commended if we “examine the Scriptures”:
“Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Acts 17:11
The following passage gives a glimpse of the depth and use of the word of God:
“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.” Psalm 19:7-11
Every verse in the longest chapter in the Bible (Psalm 119, 176 verses) is about the greatness of the Word of God and rich in meaning:
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11
“Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.” Psalm 119:24
“I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts. I will speak of your statutes before kings and will not be put to shame, for I delight in your commands because I love them.” Psalm 119:45-47
“Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.” Psalm 119:165
“May my cry come before you, LORD; give me understanding according to your word.” Psalm 169:119
The word of God is supernatural. One verse can be said over and over with new meaning. The word of God can speak to each person, going deep into their heart to convict them of sin or to set them free:
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
We came into existence through the word of God:
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights…He chose to give us birth through the word of truth…” James 1:17-18
Each weapon is related to the others which should not be surprising since Jesus is the Word. We know truth by hearing and understanding the Bible. The Bible has the answer to every question. The Bible may give us only the general principle, but by applying that principle to the experiences of life we gain wisdom. The more of Scripture we can learn and apply the better.
“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 saints.”
Prayer could be a spiritual weapon, although there is no piece of armor associated with prayer. The other weapons ARE Jesus while prayer is talking to Jesus. However, it is definitely needed to fight the enemy.
Volumes of books have been written on prayer. They can give us insights, but the best way to learn about prayer is to do it. Prayer is simply talking to God. It can be commanding the devil to leave, also, but that is a relatively small part of prayer. God is right here, waiting for us to request what is His will:
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us–whatever we ask–we know that we have what we asked of him.” 1 John 5:14-15
The sooner we can break through all the hindrances to asking His will in a certain situation, the sooner the answer will come. He has promised to always give us what we ask for when we ask His will.
It may take a long time (in our way of thinking) for something to be done which we know is His will, but His will will be done at the right time in the right way if we ask:
“Oh the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!” Romans 11:33
We do not always know God’s will. For instance we can say, “Since we know it is His will that everyone be saved, why isn’t everyone saved?” Because it is not His will to go against the will of man. He will not violate anyone’s free choice.
In most cases, when we seriously seek to bring someone to salvation, God will give us the prayers to pray and the actions to do that will most likely lead them to Himself. The more we pray the more of a chance that person has of coming to Christ, no matter how unlikely it seems. What a small but important part we play in a person’s salvation!
Sometimes when we pray for someone we have contact with them. For example, one day I prayed for two people I seldom see and seldom pray for. That very day when we were taking our daughter Jill to the airport I saw both those people. Probably God had laid it on my heart to pray for them.
Why is it such a struggle to pray? Because the devil knows how important it is and tries to hinder it in every way. I need to be constantly reminded of the importance of prayer. Reading the Bible and memorizing Bible verses and being exposed to the situations needing prayer help. We can ask God to help us:
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests”
A similar idea is expressed in these two words: “pray continually” 1 Thessalonians 5:17
“With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:
“The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:7-8
“Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” Ephesians 6:19-20
Paul’s request for prayer at the end of the Ephesians passage on spiritual warfare has begun to hold more meaning for me. I used to think (at least subconsciously) that this passage applied mostly to Paul. Now I realize that this is a prayer I need for myself. We all need to proclaim the gospel with wisdom and boldness.
We should not be afraid:
“The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Psalm 118:6
It is God we should fear:
“But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.” Luke 12:5
For Christians to fear Him means to love him. We obey Him for our own good and for the good of others:
“And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good? “ Deuteronomy 10:12-13
To fear Him means to
“hope is in his unfailing love”: “But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,” Psalm 33:18
“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;” Psalm 103:11
Often we see His love (the result of obedience to Him) shown in our children and grandchildren, etc.:
“But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children–with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts” Psalm 103:17-18
We need to proclaim His love:
“Let those who fear the Lord say: “His love endures forever.” Psalm 118:4
He “delights in those who fear him” – not like a ruler whose people are scared of him:
“the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.” Psalm 147:11
To obey Jesus is to fear Him:
“Whoever fears the LORD walks uprightly, but those who despise him are devious in their ways.” Proverbs 14:2
To fear God is to avoid evil:
“The wise fear the LORD and shun evil…” Proverbs 14:16
If we fear God (love, obey), we avoid evil:
“…through the fear of the Lord evil is avoided.” Proverbs 16:6
The fear of God is having reverence for Him. His children don’t need to be scared of God, but like the child of a loving father, we expect to be disciplined if we disobey. The sooner we repent the less severe the consequences:
“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:28-29
If we have a good relationship with Him we will delight in His commands knowing they are for our good. We will trust Him:
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18
Through our relationship with God, the fear of the Lord, we have the powerful weapons of God:
1. knowing truth and speaking truth
2. putting on His righteousness by obeying Him
3. being ready to proclaim His gospel and to show love and forgiveness
4. having faith that Jesus will do what He said He would do
5. controlling our minds and seeking the wisdom of God
6. learning and correctly using the Word of God
If we apply these weapons and keep applying them, praying continually in Jesus’ Name, we can say with Paul:
“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:20-21