Well we just celebrated July 4th which represents our independence. It did not come easy or cheap. It came with the price of blood and men who never got to experience the freedoms that we have. Today we still have a military that keeps us safe in which I am thankful for.
Some of you may think I don’t need to fight or worry about a battle because someone else is handling that. Well, all of us are in a battle every day and may not even know it. We’re not battling countries but we are at war in our own communities. What war ? The war on drugs, alcholism, sex trade, mass shootings in schools, corruption, injustice, greed, hatred etc. The list goes on. The sad truth is we are part of the problem but we are also the solution to the problem.
The good news is that we can fight the battle. I will be doing a series on how you and I can fight these battles. I hope you’ll stick with me and read these posts. At the end of the series, you will be fully equipped. So let’s see who the enemy is...
1) Know who your enemy is
The first thing we need to know is who the enemy is. This way we can strategize the attack.
Paul writes in Ephesians 6:12
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.
So, most of us have seen Star Wars and we know there is the force and the dark side of the force. With God the force is God and his angels, and the dark side is the devil (Satan) and his demons.
Our fight is not so much against humans as it is against the devil and his demons who can manipulate people in doing things that will destroy lives, relationships, people without realizing it.
2) Prepare For Battle - Know The Enemy’s tactics
We now know who the enemy is and that is Satan and his demons. He is a master of trickery and deception.
in 2 Corinthians 11:14 it indicates that Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. He deceives people. He tempts people and gets them to sin against God and usually ends up destroying your life or others.
In John 10:10 It states
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
In John 8:44, John describes the devil as He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
1 Peter 5:8 says Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
In Proverbs 16:25 it says
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
Although that temptation may seem good, it will lead to destruction. The devil knows everything about you and your ancestral line. He even knows the word of God. He knows your weaknesses and what your temptations are. He is looking to see who he can devour especially if your guard is down.
One way a criminal wants to get something is they go after someone’s children. We ALL are God’s children so the devil works to come after us to try and get even with God. You see, God created the devil , (Lucifer), and he was the number 2 dude in Heaven next to God. He was an angel and designed for worship and very beautifully created. The devil however got full of pride and tried to overthrow God so God sent him to hell and while doing so other angels followed. The angels that followed the devil into hell are the demons.
So in order to be protected we will need the armor. Stay tuned for What armor is needed.
3) Prepare For Battle - The Armor
When a soldier goes into battle he needs to have the proper armor / protection. Since our battle is against the devil and his demons , we need a certain type of armor. What we fight against is unseen.
In Ephesians 6:13, it describes the armor:
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground.
1) Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist
2) with the breastplate of righteousness in place,
3) and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
4) In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the
flaming arrows of the evil one.
5) Take the helmet of salvation
6) and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
The good news about this armor is that it doesn’t cost anything and anyone at any age can use it. Yes it will take practice but any good soldier needs to train. If you want to get started on the armor, then open up the bible and start reading. It's all in there.
4) Prepare For Battle - The Armor - Belt of truth
Since we know our enemy is a liar and deceives people, we must have truth on our side. Too many times, battles have been fought on lies or people take actions based on lies and the outcome has always been costly. Even in our news and on social media, it’s hard to know what is true. Since the enemy is the father of lies so that means that Jesus is the truth as it is stated in John 14:6:
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. "
Look at it this way, Jesus is all truth, or all lies. He's not in between. So, if you find one truth in him, then he is all truth. Very simple.
David prays in Psalm 119:43 " Do not snatch the truth from my lips".
( you can pray that too.)
-- David was a warrior for God and fought many battles.
So, in battle we must always be connected to the truth. If we're not sure about the truth, then ask God for discernment so you will be able to know If it's true or if it's a lie. Discernment is a gift that God gives people. Here’s your first weapon - Discernment.
David writes in Psalm 119:125
"I am your servant; give me discernment"
In John 8:32, Jesus indicates it is the truth that will set you free.
The only way to know the truth is to stay connected to Jesus.
5) The Armor - Breastplate of Righteousness
The breastplate of righteousness refers to the righteousness purchased for us by Jesus at the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21).
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Righteousness is defined as “acting in accord with divine or moral law; free from guilt.” In this case it is God’s law. He’s the one that will protect you.
At salvation, a “breastplate” is issued to each repentant sinner. It is specially designed by God to protect our heart and soul from evil and deception. A breastplate that is worn by a soldier is also used to protect the heart and other parts of the body.
The heart is where our desires come from and also our temptations. When we are actively pursuing righteousness, (putting on the breastplate of righteousness), we are then equipped to flee the temptations that the devil will use to lure us away from God’s law. When we give into temptation then the breastplate has fallen making us vulnerable without protection. Yes it’s a trick, it's deceit. So by pursuing righteousness, we keep that breastplate in place to make it easier to say no to the temptation. Remember, this is a battle and you can not afford to drop your guard.
Here’s 2 Timothy 2:22
Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
The breastplate of righteousness has Christ’s name stamped on it, as though He said, “Your righteousness isn’t sufficient to protect you. Wear mine.”
Keep that breastplate intact and never let it down.
6) The Armor - Feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace
One of the easiest ways for the enemy to succeed in shaking us loose from standing firm is to tempt us with worry. When we carry worry with us, we are robbed of peace. But the gospel of peace keeps our feet anchored and standing firm.
The gospel of peace is the message that Jesus gave to those who trust in Him. It comes with the assurance from God that we are His children, and nothing can snatch us out of His hands
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
The word readiness implies constant vigilance. A victorious soldier had to have studied his enemy’s strategy, be confident in his own strategy, and have his feet firmly planted so that he could hold his ground when the attacks came.
A soldier’s battle shoes were studded with nails or spikes to help him keep his balance in combat. He knew that, if he lost his footing and went down, the enemy had him. When we are ready with the gospel of peace, we live with the understanding that we are under attack from Satan.
We must have confidence of our position in Christ. We must stand firm in the truth of God’s Word, regardless of how terrifying the circumstances may be.
In addition to standing our ground, shoes are also for moving. God expects us to go on the offensive and take the gospel of peace to others. Sharing our faith is one of the best ways to maintain our own sure footing. God knows that, when we are active in speaking of Him to others, we not only charge into Satan’s territory, but we dig our shoes more deeply into truth and will be much harder to dislodge. .
Battles are never convenient so we must always be ready.
7) The Armor - Helmet of Salvation
A helmet is vital for survival, protecting the brain, the command station for the rest of the body. If the head was badly damaged, the rest of the armor would be of little use. The helmet of salvation provides hope and protects the mind against anything that would disorient or destroy, such as discouragement or deceit.
The assurance of salvation is our impenetrable defense against anything the enemy throws at us
We must learn to keep our helmets buckled so that the devil’s fiery missiles do not lodge in our thoughts and set us on fire. Through this helmet of salvation, we can “destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.
Some ways to keep this helmet fastened and functioning:
Renew our minds. Our minds are battlefields. The outcomes of those battles determine the course of our lives. We must allow God’s truth to continually wash away the world’s filth, lies, and confusion from our minds.
Reject doubts that arise from circumstances. It is impossible to have faith and doubt at the same time. With the helmet of salvation firmly in place, we can choose to believe what appears impossible
Keep an eternal perspective. When life crashes in around us, we must remember to look up.
Remember that victory is already accomplished. When we consider ourselves “dead to sin but alive to God” (Romans 6:11) we eliminate many of the opportunities Satan uses to entrap us.
As we wear the helmet of salvation every day, our minds become more insulated against the suggestions, desires, and traps the enemy lays for us.
David writes in Psalm 140:7
Sovereign Lord, my strong deliverer, you shield my head in the day of battle
8) The Armor - shield of faith and sword of the spirit
The shield and sword seem to go together which is the most important piece of the Armor I believe. Without faith, there is no victory. Without the word of God, there is no faith. Doubt and worry are tactics of the enemy. Ask God to increase your faith like the man did in Mark 9:24 “Help me to overcome my unbelief”. Faith comes from hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17).
A roman shield was not only used as protection but also a way to push soldiers. It was large. Many soldiers could get together with their shields and form an enclosure for protection. Some shields had wet hide on them that would extinguish flaming arrows.
The sword is the word of God. So, it’s important to know the word of God so you can use it at your disposal. That’s how Jesus fought the devil when he was tempted in the desert. Remember we’re fighting an enemy who can’t be seen. So, you need to prepare by memorizing the word of God. Here are some verses to memorize. There’s many more. The more you learn, the stronger your faith and weaker the enemy becomes.
With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.
If God is for us, who can be against us?
The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways
With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
All the nations surrounded me, but in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
9) Secret weapon of Praise and Fasting
One weapon that tends to get overlooked is the praise. This in itself is a powerful weapon because it brings an army of angels to fight. In Judges 1:1. After the death of Joshua, the Israelites asked God who should go in first to fight the Canaanites. God said to send the tribe of Judah in first.
In Genesis 29:31. Leah wanted her husband Jacob to love her so she had 3 kids thinking that Jacob would love her. It turned out that Jacob did not. So, Leah had a 4th child and this time she said
“This time I will praise the Lord.” So, she named him Judah. Then she stopped having children.
Judah was the praise that went into battle first against the Canaanites.
Another time the Israelites were at battle with the Amalekites. Moses raised his hands to God as a sign or worship and while his hands were raised, the Israelites were winning the battle. When Moses’s arms got tired and he let them down, the Israelites were then losing the battle, so Moses had two men hold up his arms while the battle was going on. This is in Exodus 17.
Fasting is another weapon to use before you go into battle. When fasting, you need to be in prayer with God. He will sustain you and reveal things and give you direction during your fast. Fasting also strengthens you. Jesus fasted 40 days and then was tempted by the devil. Jesus was able to fight off the devil while fasting.
One thing to note is that praising is a verbal outspoken action. This is something that should not be done in thought or a whisper. The same holds true for your sword which is the word of God. The word of God is living so when you use your sword, let it be heard.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword..
10) The attack
Now that you have prepared for battle with your full armor, You have your sword ready, ( memorized scriptures to attack, ), you lifted your praises, you can go in with confidence. With the full armor, you are never alone. God and his angels will be right there with you. Look at some of these verses:
Ask God for the battle plan too. In James 2:5 , he writes:
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
When the enemy shall come in, like a flood the Spirit of the Lord shall lift a standard against him.
-- you're not alone
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.
-- the offense. The attack
2 Thessalonians 1:6
God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you
Is not my word like fire,” declares the Lord, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?
-- the sword
You are now ready to fight any battle from anywhere with the full armor. You can fight a battle for people in other countries right from your home because the word of God penetrates. You can fight for your siblings, your marriage, friends, community without them even knowing it.
Remember when using the sword, let it be heard. Stand with confidence. Keep the helmet secured so you don’t get distracted or worn down mentally. Above all, Keep Truth on your side. God is ALL truth!.
This is the last part of Preparing For Battle. I hope you have enjoyed this series. If so please comment.
Thanks for sticking with it.