This week’s study is going to conclude a series of studies that I have been doing throughout this month on our great adversary, Satan. The last study that I did a couple of weeks ago took a look at Satan’s war against both the Lord and mankind. We dove into the cunning tactics that the devil will use against us as he attempts to ‘defeat’ the Lord. It is of the utmost importance that we be aware of how the devil will attempt to attack us so that we can better be on guard for his attacks.
The purpose for us knowing how Satan will attack us is so that we can be prepared for his attacks. When we are prepared for Satan’s attacks, we can better withstand him. Now that we are aware of how the devil will attack, I want to dive into how we go about withstanding the devil’s attacks. Withstanding the devil and combating him is not something we can do on our own, as we will see in scripture.
Withstand the Devil
Paul tells us that in order for us to withstand the devil, we must put on the whole armor of God (Eph. 6:10). He specifically stated, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand (Eph. 6:11,13).” So, instead of trying to take the devil on through your own strength, might, and power (which is nothing), we should rely on the Lord, His armor, and His tools.
Let us notice, as we go into the scripture about the whole armor of God, that Paul continues to encourage the believer to stand on the battlefield. A soldier that is sitting or laying down on the battlefield, is a soldier that has given up and is awaiting their defeat. I love that Paul encourages us to stand on the battlefield because a soldier that stands on the battlefield is one that is showing strength and courage.
So, we, the soldiers of God, should stand on this spiritual battlefield with strength and courage. Our strength and courage, as you are about to see, will come from us wearing the armor of God. Not only will our courage come from being dressed properly in this spiritual battle, but it will also come directly from the Lord. Though Satan is a tough enemy, we have the ability to defeat him through an even higher power — God.
The belt of truth.
So, Paul starts off by telling us, “Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness (Eph. 6:14).” The first part of the armor of God that Paul tells us to wear is the girdle (or belt) of truth. Many people may not realize this about the Roman soldier’s uniform, but the girdle was the most important part of the uniform. Why was the girdle so important?
The girdle would hold the pieces of the uniform in place. If a soldier on the battlefield was to lose his girdle, then he would essentially lose all of his protection or would be on the battlefield trying to hold everything in place. A soldier that has lost his or her armor on the battlefield, or is working to hold his or her armor in place on the battlefield is a soldier just waiting to be overcome by the enemy.
Notice that with the armor of God that the girdle is called the girdle (belt) of truth. So, the truth is what will hold our armor in place when we stand on the battlefield against the devil, the principalities, powers, rulers of darkness, and spiritual hosts of wickedness.
So, the question that someone might have is this: what is the truth? Well, our answer to that question is told to us by Christ. Jesus said to the Jews that believed in Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (John 8:31-32).”
Jesus’ word, I want you to understand, He testified and shared what He had heard from the Father. When He told the disciples that they were no longer His servants but were His friends, Jesus told them, “for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you (John 15:15).” So Jesus’ word is the word of God. Since Jesus is God in the flesh, we should understand that the Lord delivered His word in person to mankind.
The word of God, Jesus’ teachings, is the girdle of truth for the whole armor of God. The word of God is what holds up all of our protection when we are on the battlefield against the Lord. The day that you choose not to wear the girdle of the word of God, is the day that you will leave yourself helpless on the battlefield against Satan and the other wicked and evil demons/spirits. So, be sure you are always wearing the girdle of truth, which is the word of God, so that you can withstand the devil’s attacks against you.
Breastplate of righteousness
Being held up by the girdle of truth is the next part of the armor of God which is the breastplate of righteousness. The breastplate is the piece of armor that would cover the chest, or better yet, it would protect the heart. You see, in those days, when a soldier did not wear a breastplate, he left his chest wide open to be struck by an arrow, by spear, and by sword; so he left himself open to a deadly attack. So, the believer that does not wear the breastplate of righteousness on the battlefield, is leaving themselves wide open to a deadly attack.
Now, let us pay close attention that this breastplate is not made of metal, like in those days, but is made up of righteousness. This righteousness, I want you to note, is not a righteousness that is self righteous. There is only one true form of righteousness and that righteousness is of God – God is righteous.
The Lord is righteous because He is the sovereign ruler over all things, known and unknown. God has determined what is right (righteous) and what is wrong (wicked and unrighteous). Because the Lord is righteous, this means that He is without fault and error — He is without sin. So, the breastplate of righteousness is made up of material that does not have error or fault in it; this means that the breastplate of righteousness cannot fail.
The breastplate of righteousness will not fail against the attacks of Satan or any of the other spiritual enemies that we face in this spiritual warfare. Should we wear any other breastplate in an attempt to withstand the devil’s attacks against us, that breastplate is going to give way. Many people stand on the battlefield having faith in their breastplate of righteousness but self-righteousness cannot stand up against the devil.
Others stand on the battlefield wearing a breastplate of money, wealth, job, health, family, friends and these things also cannot withstand the devil’s attacks. Let us remember all that Job lost on the battlefield when the Lord allowed Satan to attack him (Job 1:13 – 2:10). Job lost his wealth in the form of his cattle, workers, his property, and then if that was not enough, Job lost his family and Satan attacked his health! Many of us think that this was the end of Satan’s attack against Job but I would tell you that Satan also used Job’s friends to further attack him after he took these things from Job.
People still put their faith in a great deal of these things and there are so many people whose life hangs on these things. Sadly, so many folks end up defeated and overcome at the loss of these things. If your breastplate, your protection, is made up of these things, you definitely will want to upgrade your breastplate. Satan and his demons are going to chew straight through that breastplate.
Shoes of peace
Paul then tells us that the next piece of the armor of God is for our feet. He says that we should shod our feet with the “preparation of the gospel of peace (Eph. 6:15).” This part of the Roman soldier uniform was called “caligae”; these were the brown sandals that the soldiers would wear. The soldiers would wear sandals for the same reason that we wear shoes or sandals on our feet. You and I wear shoes on our feet to protect our feet when we are walking around.
Now, the ground of the spiritual battlefield is often treacherous ground. Often in our pilgrimage we find ourselves wandering in a wilderness, or through valleys and mountains. So, we certainly should wear some shoes on our feet for that reason. However, there is another reason why you and I should wear shoes that have been prepared in the gospel of peace.
Our feet are at the base of our body. We often talk about our legs being the strong base of our body but beneath our legs are our feet! Having weak feet would mean that we would have a weak base, regardless of how strong our legs are! So, what I want you to understand is that this part of the armor of God is speaking more to our foundation. In that sense, peace should be the foundation of the soldier of God!
This peace, we need to understand, is a peace that only comes through the Lord. How does peace come through the Lord? Peace, I want you to understand, is something that we know and recognize in our soul. The soul is always wandering in the world to be satisfied, to be content and happy.
So, to bring satisfaction to the soul, some of us wander around aimlessly trying to satisfy the soul through worldly means. The soul, because it is not satisfied through worldly means, ends up constantly wandering in the wilderness not to be satisfied. This leaves the soul stressed, taxed, and burdened which means that the stressed, taxed, and burdened soul cannot know peace.
The Lord, through His gospel, tells us to come to Him with our stressed, taxed, and burdened spirit and He will give our soul rest (Matt. 11:28). The soul that knows this rest from the Lord knows His blessing of contentment. God’s blessing of contentment brings satisfaction and peace to the soul.
In another verse, we will see Jesus say to the disciples, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world (John 16:33).” So, our foundation should always be the peace of Christ! On our pilgrimage, we are always on the battlefield – we’ll always have tribulation – and the foundation of peace that Jesus has given us to wear on our feet is a strong foundation that is founded on His victory. We can overcome anything while wearing the shoes of peace.
Shield of faith
The next part of the armor of God that Paul focused on was the shield. The Roman soldier would certainly need a shield when standing on the battlefield in combat. Their shields were pretty big shields that they could crouch down behind and help to protect the soldier when darts/arrows were launched towards them. On the battlefield, the shield could also protect them from the melee attack of a sword or spear. When you think about it, the shield was an added layer of protection for the armor that the soldier wore on his body!
So, Paul had in mind the salvo of attacks that the devil may launch against us with the fiery darts. The fiery darts aren’t going to come one at a time but as a salvo – a barrage; he will fire his darts fast and furiously against you with the hopes that one of the darts will strike you down. I often say that the devil will throw everything he can at us, even including the kitchen sink! So, we need that extra layer of protection when the devil chooses to attack us with rapid long ranged attacks.
Paul tells us to take the “shield of faith” with us so that we can quench all of the fiery darts of the wicked one (Eph. 6:16). Again, notice that the material of our armor and our shield is made up of faith, and this faith is in the Lord. As we have already seen, if the materials of your armor are made up based on faith in worldly things, then your armor will not hold up. The same holds true when it comes to your shield; you cannot expect a shield made up of worldly things to hold up against Satan.
When I think of our shield of protection, I think of how Satan complained to the Lord about Job’s shield. In the book of Job, Satan found that it was impossible for him to attack Job. The devil said to God, “Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land (Job 1:10).”
Because of the shield, the hedge, that the Lord had around Job, Job was a very blessed man. Now, I am not saying that he was blessed because of his wealth, but because he was happy in his soul. Satan could not bring Job down until he went to the Lord and asked God to stretch out His hand and touch all that Job had (Job 1:11). Satan was, and still is, powerless against the Lord and His protection. The believer’s shield and protection is the Lord and we should carry this shield with us at all times; Satan’s attacks against this shield are harmless.
Helmet of salvation
The next, and final piece of the armor of God that Paul tells us to put on is the helmet of salvation (Eph. 6:17). Now, we all know the reason as to why anybody would wear a helmet – it’s to protect our head from any damage. The soldier would wear a helmet for the very same reason of protecting their head.
In this instance, I believe that Paul had the mental aspect in mind of how the devil can attack us mentally. Now, Satan is always attacking our heart, which is the soul. However, what I often say to you all is how our soul is the engine to everything about us. Our soul controls the way that we think, the way that we feel, and even the actions that you and I take.
All of the armor that we have taken a look at so far has been for defense and protection, The heart, we have seen, is protected by the breastplate of righteousness. Our head is representative of our mental thoughts and you better believe that Satan is a master at playing head games. The devil desires to encourage your thoughts and he often tries to encourage your thoughts with negative thoughts. So, Paul encourages us to wear the helmet of salvation.
Salvation is brought on through the victory of Christ at the cross. Salvation, that is to say spiritual deliverance, is the hope that every believer should live with each and every day on this pilgrimage. Of this hope, Peter wrote, “gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 1:13).” When our thoughts are always focused on the Lord and the hope that He gives, then there is nothing negative that the devil can put in your head.
Weapons of Offense
Again, so far in our study, we have taken a look at the whole armor of God. The armor of God has all been for the defense of withstanding the devil’s attacks. As our study comes to a close, I want to show you that the Lord has given us a weapon to be able to fight back and attack Satan and the other wicked spirits.
Sword of the Spirit
Paul tells us to take the “sword of the Spirit” which he says is the “word of God” (Eph. 6:17). Now, I want to point out that this is the second time that we see the word of God mentioned when it comes to being able to withstand and combat the devil. The word of God, we first saw, was the belt of truth. The belt of truth, the word of God, holds up our protection.
On the side of offense, the word of God is very powerful. Of the word of God, the writer of Hebrews said, “the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Heb. 4:12).”
When we think of the word of God, we often think of the scriptures of the Bible. Yet, we should understand that the word of God is more than words on the pages of scripture. The word of God, Jesus’ teachings and preachings, are living words that dwell inside of all believers. Not only do the words of Jesus’ teachings dwell in us, but the works of God in us are those words confirmed. So, the word of God is a word that is living in us and through us when we begin to minister and testify of God on the battlefield.
Let us understand that when we begin to share this word that it is not a weak word. The word of God is a word that pierces the soul. When Jesus began to speak the word of God to Satan, when the devil was trying to tempt Him, he could do nothing but leave Jesus’ presence (Matt. 4:1-11). The word of God is the truth and Satan despises the truth; it wounds him. The truth, the word of God, is a word that can make us and others free (John 8:32). So, like the other pieces of armor, we should always carry the sword of the Spirit with us.
Prayer and supplication in the Spirit
The other weapon that we will see Paul mention is prayer and supplication. Paul tells us to always pray and make supplications in the Spirit (Eph. 6:18). I feel that prayer is the most powerful and important tool the believer has in this spiritual warfare, yet, it is the most unused tool of the believer.
Prayer is powerful because of who we are praying to. When we pray, we are praying in the name of Jesus. To the disciples, after His resurrection, Jesus said that all authority and power belong to Him; He now sits at the right hand of God (Matt. 28:18; Luke 22:69; Acts 7:56). When we pray, Jesus told the disciples that whatever we ask in His name, He will do (John 14:12-14).
Prayer is our line of communication with God. On this battlefield, in all that we face, we should be praying often. Prayer can help us when we are afflicted and burdened. Through prayer we can be strengthened through the Lord to continue to push forward when the devil is doing everything to keep us from going anywhere. Jesus said to the disciples that with just a little faith we would be able to move mountains and that nothing would be impossible for us (Matt. 17:20).
Defeating the Devil
Without the Lord, it is impossible for us to withstand and combat the devil. Yet, with God, we can easily withstand the devil’s attacks and even be able to combat him as well. We are not totally helpless in this spiritual warfare that the devil wages against us and the Lord. Something that should be encouraging to the believer is that the devil’s defeat has been sealed and we overcome him through Christ.
Jesus, again, said to us that He has overcome the world and through Him we have peace. As John wrote, “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).” We have already overcome the devil and the wicked spirits through Christ; all we have to do is have faith.
So, let us not fear the devil. If there is anything that you should take away from this series of studies is that as a child of God, you have absolutely no reason to fear Satan. You have everything you need to be able to withstand the devil’s attacks and even combat him. Put on the armor of God and be sure to always carry the sword of the Spirit with you and make prayer and supplication often. When we do these things, we will be able to stand firmly in the wickedness of the day.