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Spiritual Warfare, getting dressed for battle.

February 14, 2017

Spiritual warfare is real.

The apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians that Satan plots against us, and says, “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.” (Ephesians 6:12) For someone who is not a believer in Christ, this will sound absurd, and Paul tells us in (Romans 8:7), “The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.”

Submitting to God.

So, what do you do when faced with matters that are spiritual in nature? I have been dealing with things that have weighed me down immensely for some time now. I wonder how much more I can take the loneliness, the feelings of rejection and abandonment, the thoughts that make me feel great sorrow because I do not know quite how to cope with the tragedies that have affected me over the last 7 years. I need a break. How does one have peace when he or she is under attack?  One of the things I think is important for a believer to do if he or she is experiencing attacks in one’s spiritual life is to be still, and acknowledge God. God is the creator. Satan, our adversary is just a created being with self-assumed power. As believers in Christ, we must turn our eyes to Jesus, and hold fast to the promises of the Bible. We are just strangers living in a strange land, but our eyes are averted toward heaven. In James 4:7, the author writes, “Submit yourselves, then to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (I am not about to write a sermon, because I have just as many questions as you might, too.)  Another thing that a believer can do to ward off spiritual attacks is to pray. Praying in our way of communicating with God. God hears all of our prayers. Sometimes we experience spiritual warfare because we bring it upon our selves through sin. Other times, it just might be that you are walking rightly with God, and the enemy wants to bring you down. He is the accuser, after all.

I am not talking about demonic attacks here, that is another category in spiritual warfare, and I do not feel qualified to talk about that. However, there are such things, and I have only witnessed such a thing once and that was to my dismay because of something stupid I did when I was in college. The kind of spiritual warfare I want to discuss is more about things that happen beyond our control, things we do not understand, but happen because it affects us directly or indirectly by association. When you experience spiritual warfare, do not take it lightly, or dismiss it. It is a call to arms. The Bible instructs us as believers to pray regularly, and to put on the full armor of God as described in Ephesians. We are supposed to pray with others, and there is no need to have to endure a spiritual battle alone. You are stronger with others gathered to pray with you. Jesus tells us in Matthew’s gospel, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20)

My own struggles.

Currently in my own life, I am struggling with things. It is a battle. I hope I am making sense as I talk about this topic. I am without a job and quickly running out of money. My body aches, a result of old injuries and recent ones, I have trouble breathing because of individuals close to me smoke pot, or cigarettes. I have worried, been anxious, sleepless. These things might seem insignificant, but each of us goes through a circumstance or situation that brings us to our knees. You might know someone afflicted with cancer, or recently been in a car accident, or going through a divorce, or persecution for your faith. Whatever the matter is, there is opposition, and the enemy does not want you to go to God. You need to run to God. Run to God as often as you can. Cling to the truth of His word. Jesus is our strength and our shield. I mentioned putting on the full armor of God, what is that anyhow?

Wearing the full armor.

The full armor of God is how you ought to come before God in prayer and ask Him to secure you before you start your day, or before you go in to meetings with others, or outings, etc.  We ask for God to equip us with the Helmet of Salvation because it is Him who gives us His assurance and His peace. A helmet protects your head from getting clobbered. Have you ever been hit in the head? I have been hit when I used to play baseball. I was so thankful that I had my helmet on, and it protected me. That is what the Helmet of Salvation will do for us, because it protects our minds in Christ Jesus, and helps us to remember the source of our protection.  Also, we ask God to equip us through prayer with the Belt of Truth. We need to remember that it is God that gives us the ability to see the truth. Jesus told us he is the Truth in John’s gospel. If we keep our hearts and minds stayed on Jesus we will be able to see things for what they are, and know how to respond to things that are true and false. And, there are a lot of false ideas floating around in the world. When we are equipped with Helmet of Salvation, and the Belt of Truth, we also need to be equipped with the Breastplate of Righteousness. The Breastplate of Righteousness is something that we have because of Jesus, and not because of anything we do. Righteousness comes from walking obediently to Christ, and it is him living in us. It is simply learning to live right, and do the right things that we are shown through the Holy Spirit guiding and speaking to our hearts.

In addition to wearing armor to protect your thoughts, something to guard your heart, and something around your waist. It is important to ask God to equip you with His peace from the Gospel. Remember the Gospel, is remembering that Jesus came here for us. He was born supernaturally, so he was 100% man and 100% God, he was not accepted by his own, he died on a cross, and arose from the dead three days later, and he has promised to come back for us one day. The Gospel simply means good news. When you can remember this during your struggles that Jesus has already won the victory, you can claim the victory in him too.

The last two things we must ask God to equip and strengthen us with are our Shield of Faith and the Sword of the Spirit. All this really means is believing God, living in the way He has prescribed faithfully, or “full of faith” as I heard someone once say. It is not always easy, especially if you feel like you are going at it alone, but you are never alone because Jesus is with you. Faith is an eager expectation of things unseen that are to come. Lastly, our sword is the Bible. It is not enough to use one’s Bible as a coffee table book or a bookend, or a dust collector. As believers it is our only real weapon when struggling with spiritual warfare, because the enemy even knows God’s word and he is a twister of the truth, that is why he is called the deceiver. We must be like Jesus when he was tempted in the desert for 40 days, and hold the promises of scripture close to our hearts. We must speak the truth, live truthfully and speak life.

Don’t Give Up.

The whole idea of spiritual warfare is in my opinion important to recognize and talk about. I am sure that I will continue writing my thoughts on this in future blogs. The thing I have learned most is to not give up, and keep on keepin’ on.  Trust God. Love others, and walk in a way that reflects Christ’s love in my heart.

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