As we noted last time, the Christian is engaged in a spiritual battle. Despite the action being in our earthly experiences, Paul reminds us that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). Having encouraged the church at Corinth to not be ignorant of how the enemy worked (2 Corinthians 2:11), he now exhorted the church at Ephesus to not only be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might, but to “put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles (trickery/subtlety) of the devil” (vv. 10, 11).
A quick look at the components of “the whole armour of God” – truth, to gird our loins; the breastplate of righteousness; the preparation of the gospel of peace for our feet; the shield of faith; the helmet of salvation; the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God; and prayer. The admonition to put on God’s armour suggests two things: 1) we cannot confront the enemy in our own strength, and 2) we need to protect the areas where we are most vulnerable. We should note that all the pieces, except one, are for protection (defensive); we have only one offensive weapon in our arsenal – the Word of God. Secondly, there are no optional pieces! The instructions were explicit – “Put on the whole armour of God!”
Paul also gives us an idea of what the enemy will throw at us – “fiery darts”. Space limitations do not allow me to expand on this, but suffice it to say that in a figurative sense, the Greek word translated ‘fiery’ suggests “to be inflamed (with anger, grief, lust)”. The enemy’s sole mission is to steal, kill, and destroy, and he will do whatever it takes to accomplish that goal. Thank God, however, the child of God does have an insight into the enemy’s playbook, and we have the insight into how he can be defeated. In His temptations in the mountains, our Lord not only recognize the enemy’s subtleties, but countered them and defeated him using the Word (Matt. 4:1-11).
Do you know the enemy? Has he entered your home, your life, your experiences, where due to a lack of recognition you have entertained him as you would a welcomed visitor? He is everywhere and especially in the daily choices we are confronted with. I pray God will grant the wisdom to recognize him, and grant us the grace to face him, fully clothed, and with much prayer, in the armour of God. It is only then can we be assured of victory.