Take Your Stand Against the Devil’s Schemes
by Margaret Silvester
Ephesians 6:10-20 are some of the most familiar verses in the New Testament. They have been taught for many years at the end of every Healing Retreat in every Ellel Ministries Centre before the guests go home to live them out. However, in recent months, they have taken on a new meaning for me. I’ve come to realise that these ten verses contain deep, vital truth to live by. As true believers in Jesus, we are distinct from a world which believes there is no absolute truth, and each person is free to do what seems right to them. Whether or not we recognise it, we are in a spiritual battle against the forces working against God’s Kingdom.
Paul wrote about the whole armour of God while he was in prison, chained, day and night, to a Roman soldier. He watched the soldier put on and take off his armour at each shift – hence the imagery. He gives the readers of his letter two commands. Firstly, “Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power” (verse 10). Weak soldiers never win battles. Christian soldiers are not strong in their own strength, but they are made strong by the One who gives them power. Secondly, “Put on the full armour of God” (verse 10 & 11), so that you can stand against the devil’s schemes – his cunning devices and deceitful scheming to make you disobedient, make you get into sin, and give him a foothold in your life. Only clothed in the full armour of God will you be able to stand your ground when the day of evil comes – times of pressure which seem overwhelming. Wobbly Christians are easy prey. God’s purpose is that we are strong and stable, centred on Him, not on ourselves.
The six pieces of the armour of God are not something we put on and take off, of course. They represent the character of the true believer. Without the belt of truth none of the other pieces of the armour will fit. They have nothing to hold on to. Knowing the truth and living the truth is foundational for the battle we are in. The breastplate of righteousness is attached to the belt of truth. Righteousness is right relationship with God and right relationship with fellow believers. Righteousness is based on our forgiveness from a holy God, and our forgiveness of others, so that there is no bitterness in our heart. Righteousness protects our heart. It’s a spiritual law that, to be right with God, truth and righteousness must be a reality in our lives.
A Roman soldier knew where he was going, and he went with purpose, wearing strong boots to protect his feet and kept him secure. Each one of us is called to take the good news of the Gospel of peace to others. Only the good news of the Gospel can bring peace of heart and mind to our troubled world.
The soldier’s shield was covered in wet leather. It was intended to put out the dangerous arrows which were dipped in pitch, then lit and fired. Faith is our shield, our covering, against the flaming arrows of the evil one (verse 16). The darts may come as accusations and imaginations from within, stirring up unbelief and negativity, or darts from without, by words of others intended by Satan to ground us. The important issue is not how much faith we have, but the person in whom our faith is placed.
The soldier’s helmet was made of the toughest of metals. Nothing short of an axe or hammer could pierce it. The helmet of salvation (verse 17) protects the mind of a Christian. It is not something static. It is continuous. We were saved (Titus 3:5). We are being saved (Philippians 2:12-13). We will be saved (Romans 13:11).
The sword was the only item used for defence and attack. The sword of the Spirit is the word of God, which we must use in warfare. It is also a defence against the enemy in times of temptation and testing, and a means of attack by speaking it out in faith. Hence, we need to have God’s word hidden in our hearts, desire it as food for the soul, and above all to live it out daily. This is the proof of genuine faith and life in the Spirt.
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