May 18, 2012

Christian families, especially those that are committed to the Lord, His Word, and speaking up for life are in a spiritual battle. What does God’s Word say about spiritual warfare? Why are we to keep our eyes on Jesus, the author and preserver of our faith? How do we learn to stand firm in the Lord? What critical armor and offensive weapons has God revealed to us in His Word? Let’s take a look at how God’s Word equips the saints for spiritual battle and helps us learn to live our faith, stand firm, and recognize and resist the schemes of the devil.

You and I are in a spiritual battle and need to rely upon God’s power, the Sword of the Spirit, and prayer, so we can stand firm in the face of attack by Satan. This fact was made clear to me when I was the executive director of a national parent/teacher organization back in the 1990s. Our board of directors selected Josh and Karen to be our Parents of the Year. We received many wonderful letters recommending them for this special honor. The board of directors and I expected them to come to our annual convention to receive the award, but they didn’t attend. We later learned that these Parents of the Year had filed for a divorce. The board and I prayed for them. Later, I visited by phone with Karen and told her how sorry we were to hear of the pending divorce.

Months went by. Then I unexpectedly received a card from Karen. I called her and asked how she was doing. I also asked about the divorce process. She said, “Mrs. Meyer, my husband and I aren’t getting the divorce.”

She then went on to tell me how the Lord had helped her and her husband realize that they were in a spiritual battle and that Satan was the enemy. She said, “Up until the time we realized that we were in a spiritual battle, I thought my husband was the enemy. And he thought I was the enemy. As we prayed and learned more about what God’s Word said about spiritual warfare, we began to recognize that Satan would be happy if our marriage ended. So, we began to pray for healing from the Lord for our marriage. Unknown to us at the time, many people in our church and the school were also praying for God to heal our marriage.”

After she had shared this good news, she asked, “Why didn’t my husband and I know that there was a spiritual battle? No one in the Church ever told us.”

Christians, especially those who are committed to the Lord, sharing the law and Gospel with others, and standing up for the truth of God’s Word, must understand that Satan is the enemy and he wants to stop your work for the Lord. God has given us the spiritual armor and weapons to stand firm in the face of this attack. Of course, we know that Jesus has won the ultimate battle for us. But in the meantime, we still live in this sin-torn world. We are still sinners in need of Christ’s forgiveness every day. So, be prepared for battle and use God’s defensive armor and offensive weapons. Remember the Lord is with you.

Let’s take a look at Ephesians 6:10-20. The verses are all about Jesus and the saving-Gospel message. Ephesians 6:11 refers to the “schemes of the devil.” Did you know the devil has schemes? Here are a few: Satan uses deception. He is the father of lies. He deceives many into believing non-Biblical truths (John 8:44); Satan uses subtle means to get us to put family, job, material things, sports, entertainment, or power before the Lord; Satan wants us to doubt our faith or be confused about spiritual issues; Satan continues to place temptations of the flesh, materialism, the media’s negative influence, conflict, and family problems in our path. We must be strong in the Lord and stand firm in Him. To stand firm we must use God’s armor and his weapons!

“Therefore take up the whole armor of God … having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace … take up the shield of faith … take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication” (Ephesians 6:13-18a).

I want to share just a few more verses from God’s Word, along with a few comments, that relate to God’s armor. (These verses would make for a great Bible study for your Sunday school or small group.)

  • Helmet of Salvation: Acts 4:12; Romans 1:16; 2 Timothy 3:14-15

  • Breastplate of Righteousness: Psalm 111:3; Romans 5:6-8, 18; 2 Timothy 3:16; Titus 3:4-5. (We strive to live a righteous life. But, when we fail (which we will) we have a Savior who forgives us 70 x 7 and beyond!)

  • Belt of Truth: Psalm 119:160; John 8:32; John 14:6; Ephesians 4:15; 1 John 1:8

  • Gospel of Peace: Ephesians 6:15. I like this phrase: No Christ—No peace. Know Christ—Know peace.)

  • Shield of Faith: Ephesians 6:16

  • Sword of the Spirit: Matthew 4:1-10; Hebrews 4:12

There is much more I’d like to share, but this overview of these verses will give you something to think about, pray about, and study. May the Lord continue to keep you strong and help you stand firm in Him!

(This article was adapted from Family Shield Ministries educational program “Families—Use God’s Shield” written by Kay Meyer.)