Scripture defines the status of mankind as a little lower than the angels blessed with all authority over all of creating things of God. Even the devil was there in the Garden of God in Eden and Adam was blessed by God with dominion over the earth to expand the Kingdom of God beyond the Garden. The indwelling Holy Spirit empowers us to do this through the restored dominion by Lord Jesus through His sacrifice on the cross. Like Adam and Eve we are required to stand firm in the victory of the cross of Calvary and face the devil and defeat him.
We are more than conquerors through Him (heavenly Father and the Son of God) who loves us (Romans 8:37). In His prayer to the heavenly Father the Savior Lord declared that neither He nor the believers are of this world, though we live in this world and then He sought protection for us ‘from the evil one’, the devil (John 17:15-16). Lord Jesus has cautioned all believers that ‘In this world you will face tribulation’ (John 16:33) and that ‘your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour’ (1 Peter 5:8). Evidently he cannot attack everyone but only the most vulnerable.
The devil confirmed to God about the hedge around Job, ‘around his household, and around all that he has on every side’ (Job 1:10). Satan tried to attack Job but was unable to touch him and all that was his. God declared Job as His servant and that ‘there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil’ (Job 1:8). Invariably the moment we are successful we tend to forget that it is God ‘who gives you power to get wealth’ (Deuteronomy 8:18), but Job did not.
In this world there are two ways to become wealthy. Satan showed Lord Jesus ‘all the kingdoms of the world and their glory’ with an offer to give all that in return for ‘You will fall down and worship me’ (Matthew 4:8-9). This way may lead to riches but definite eternal separation from God. The second way is from God who promises ‘life of abundance’ and this is about spiritual power to be able to withstand the devil and claim back what is mine for the devil is a thief and what he controls is taken through deceit (John 10:10). Lord Jesus has offered His mighty shoulders to us to take up our burdens and to set us free from the devil who is a hard taskmaster (Matthew 11:30).
Through faith in Lord Jesus we are children of God and citizens of His kingdom in heaven and living in this world (Philippians 3:20). But this world is ruled by the devil and since after his sin the devil is perpetually in opposition to God and His heavenly kingdom (2 Corinthians 4:4). The principalities and powers and rulers of darkness and spiritual hosts of wickedness set up by the devil are at war with us to make us stumble from our faith (Ephesians 6:13).
The second aspect of perception of success is about gaining power and authority. In India, there are innumerable advertisements in vernacular press and many times in leading newspapers also about surety of marrying the man of your choice. The astrologers and tantric practitioners claim to ensure control of the intended victim and there are claims of using black magic and other such evil forces to ensure success. All this is use of demonic powers to control and harm the other person. On the other hand, God saw all that He had created ‘and indeed it was very good’ (Genesis 1:31) and Satan immediately started planning to destroy the goodness of creation and to snatch from Adam and Eve the dominion and authority over all of creation given by God. The temptation of Eve was not about food or fruit but to make a change in their living style from under the guidance of spiritual knowledge as given by God to the worldly knowledge acquired through the five senses of the body. The attack on the Son of God in the wilderness was under the initiation of the Holy Spirit to prove to the devil his defeat at the hands of the Redeemer Lord (Matthew 4:1-11). The Son of God would continue to live under the guidance of heavenly kingdom doing the will of God the Father and be victorious over Satan and break his stranglehold over human beings.
Through our baptism into Lord Jesus, when we come out of the water we are born again into the resurrected Lord and put Him on (Galatians 3:27). Since Lord Jesus ascended into heaven with His body, we are also raised up with Him and in the spirit seated together ‘in heavenly places’ in the Lord (Ephesians 3:27). Satan is called the accuser of all believers (Revelation 12:10). Job was considered by God as a ‘blameless and upright man’ but the devil accused him to be a selfish person who worshipped God only because of the protection given to him by God (Job 1:8-11). Lord Jesus became sin for us and He is faithful to forgive our sins when we confess them to Him and cleanses us ‘from all unrighteousness’ leaving nothing for Satan to charge us with before God (1 John 1:9). The devil’s focus, therefore, shifts towards leading us into sin through his lies and deceit and he tries to scare us with his roar and through fear lead us astray (1 Peter 5:8).
Lord Jesus prayed for Apostle Peter and the other ten disciples that their ‘faith should not fail’ for Satan had sought to sift them as wheat (Luke 22:31-32& 37). Apostle Paul assures us that we as ‘God’s elect’ are justified in the Son of God and freed from any condemnation. Lord Jesus while being seated at the right hand of God in glory also makes intercession for us and we are ‘more than conquerors through Him. A believer can fall prey to the devil by believing his lies and thus through sin surrender to him, but the truth is than though we are hard pressed on all sides, attacked but neither crushed nor destroyed.
God given resources for our victory – He (God) has redeemed my soul in peace from the battle that was against me and this is the finished work of the Lord on the cross (Psalm 55:18). On the Day of Pentecost and baptism believers are filled with the Spirit of God, ‘the Spirit of power, and of love and of a sound mind’ (2 Timothy 1:7). Holy Spirit is not only our Intercessor on earth but also our Teacher and Guide, equipping us with great gifts to ensure our victory. Our strength is in the Lord and in the power of His might and protection in the weapons of warfare, the armor that God has provided (Ephesians 6:10-18). Since the battle is with spiritual forces the weapons are also spiritual. ‘David strengthened himself in the LORD his God’ in Ziklag before pursuing the Amalekites and this is like the basic training of a soldier before he is given the weapons (1 Samuel 30:6).
Armor of God – Apostle Paul’s advice to all believers is to ‘take up the whole armor of God’ to be able to withstand in the evil day ‘and having done all to stand’. The intensity of the devil’s attacks will increase as the day of judgment draws near and even to stand in opposition to him may become a task. It is the LORD who wears the armor and now shares it with us.
First, put on the girdle of truth for belt in the army is hang the sword on and this belt and clothes are gathered up in this belt to ensure free movement. This belt is also sexual purity in life and to be ready for battle without distractions.
Second, the breastplate of righteousness that protects the vital organs of the body and this righteousness is not ours but received by faith in Lord Jesus. This protection is not from our battle experiences but from the Lord. Apostle Paul defines it as the breastplate of faith and love and it is about faith in the love of God and His continuous blessed presence with us. The protection is also for our heart from all evil desires and to a life of obedience to the Lord.
Third, sandals of preparation of gospel of peace and preparation is the completed foundation that sets us on firm footing protecting our feet from the snares of the devil and our readiness in that. This preparation is about preparing us to carry the Good News to Zion and all over the world, ‘Your God reigns’ and is fully in control(Isaiah 52:7).
Fourth, the shield of faith – The words ‘Above all’ precede this, meaning that in addition to the first three weapons and connect them to the next three. weapons. Faith is the protective shield from the ‘fiery darts of the wicked one’, those persistent efforts of the devil to hurt and confuse us about the direction of attack. These darts are evil feelings, emotions, fears, imaginations and lies that Satan plants in us. David claims this protection from the LORD who surrounds a believer as a shield (Psalm 5:12).
Five, the helmet of salvation, which protects the head or the command center and mountain of the body. Apostle Paul connects the helmet to the hope of salvation and this hope is not about wishful thinking and is the sense of confidence in God’s help in the future (1 Thessalonians 5:8). Satan attacks us with discouragement, feeling of fatigue to give up and this helmet is not only about confirmation of our being saved but continuous assurance of our triumph in God. The helmet is the most effective protection against discouragement. In India many houses have a few green chilies strung up with a lemon at the front door or at a prominent place on a vehicle and this is expected to ward off evil spirits. But I would rather have the assured protection of the helmet confirming the hand of God with me.
Six, the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God and this, is the only weapon of attack in the whole armor. For full effect of this I must understand the strength of the Word and not think about it as a magic charm for repeated chanting. Without this understanding we can never use its full potential. Another aspect of effectiveness of this weapon is to be led by the Provider, the Holy Spirit for He will lead us to the right thrust at the right time and right spot. This is like a soldier being subjected to repeated battle practice to develop its use as a second nature.
No soldier can be fully effective and victorious in a battle if he does not have complete faith in his weapons and makes these as an essential part of his daily life. This is done through close fellowship with the Teacher and provider of these weapons, the Holy Spirit.
Normally these six weapons are considered enough for victory in the battle but right from his childhood days David had understood another potent weapon. David had realized that ‘The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped’ (Psalm 28:7).
How do I express this trust in the LORD? – Apostle Paul provides the answer right after listing out the weapons, ‘Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints’ (Ephesians 6:18). First, All prayer would imply all kind of prayer that we can think of, group prayer, individual prayer, silent prayer, shouting prayer, walking, kneeling or sitting prayer, groaning prayer, night prayer, day prayer etc. Entering the battle without prayer everyday accomplishes little and this happens for we become overconfident in our own abilities. Second, This prayer is in the Holy Spirit, while being watchful and persevering to the end and thirdly, it is ‘for all the saints’. No battle is won alone and God created man to partner with others and we become intercessors for others to ensure victory for all. We thus fight together, for our victory is for the LORD and His kingdom.
The Israelites first battle after leaving Egypt was with the Amalekites and Moses, standing on the top of the hill, raised his hands in prayer. When he became tired Aaron and Hur made him sit on a stone and supported his hands on both sides, for the moment Moses’ hands would come down, the enemy would prevail. Similarly, on LORD’s command Joshua raised his spear towards Ai and kept it raised and pointed towards Ai till the Israelites captured it (Joshua 8:18). As per His regular practice, Lord Jesus went up to the mountain ‘to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God’ (Luke 6:12).
Lord Jesus’ mission is defined, ‘For this purpose the Son of God was manifested that He might destroy the works of the devil’ (1 John 3:8). When the woman with twelve years of blood flow touched Lord Jesus garment, He immediately knew that the devil’s work was destroyed and He perceived power going out of Him (Luke 8:46). The devil’s work of disease in the woman was destroyed by spiritual power flowing out to her. When the Son of God needed to recharge His power through prayer, how much more is the need of this for us. It is a combination of use of these weapons that we emerge victorious in the spiritual battles that we face daily. The effect of this conduct brings about visible victory in our material life as well.
In His Son God says yes and affirms His promises in the Scripture and in Lord Jesus we say yes to God the Father and receive the blessings of His promises through our prayers. We are spiritual beings and fight daily battles in both realms and weapons of God are given to us to ensure that every child of God defeats all attempts of the devil by extinguishing all the fiery darts that are fired at us. Only then can we claim to be the righteous joint heirs with Lord Jesus.
God as a loving Father created man in His ‘image and likeness’ with the sole purpose of seeing us victorious over the forces of evil in the world. The weapons of warfare are ‘not carnal but mighty through God’ to help us in our fight and the strength of these weapons is also in and through the Lord. The closer we draw to Him through prayer and fellowship through meditation of His living Word, the surer is our victory.