Ephesians 6:10-20Read Text
In most of the sermons I’ve heard through the years about the Armor of God, the speaker tends to over-spiritualize the Text. They over-do the whole spiritual warfare thing. Don’t misunderstand me, it IS real. We have a real enemy who is a spirit; and he has other spirits fighting with him against us. That’s not what I take issue with. The problem I see/hear in a lot of the modern church’s teaching focuses way too much on fighting “the enemy” and not nearly enough focus is placed on fighting the enemy who’s sneakiness and schemes deal us more damage even than Satan does – our wicked, sinful flesh.
I hear preachers declaring and decreeing this or that, taking possession of things “the enemy has stolen”, casting out “territorial spirits” or demons from their car when it wouldn’t start (no joke, I’ve heard it), or binding demonic serpents who have a hold on our finances. They are basically calling the Devil out and going on the offensive against him. But here’s the problem; we are never told to go on the offensive against the devil and his demons.
Guess what you and I get to do while the enemy launches wave after wave of flaming arrows. Three times in these short ten verses we are told to “stand” or “stand firm” or “withstand”. Yep, we get to simply stand. Simple doesn’t mean easy! The command is simple to understand, not always easy to obey. Paul tells us to be alert and aware of the enemy’s sneakiness and craftiness because the attacks are not always blatant and obvious. Satan will use anyone and anything he can to gain a foothold in our lives, diminishing our faithfulness to Christ and our effectiveness in sharing the gospel. So, we are to be alert, aware, on guard, and resist… not attack.
Why would I need to attack an enemy who is already defeated? That leads me to believe that one of the enemy’s schemes, which easily goes unnoticed, is to launch a volley of arrows at us only to distract us from the internal attack coming from our flesh. We let down the internal defenses of our mind/heart for one second… and that’s all it takes. At that point, we have been out-flanked – out-maneuvered.
On the contrary, as a side note, just as we are told to stand and resist the devil and his horde of demons, when it comes to our own sinful flesh we are told the direct opposite. We are commanded repeatedly to “mortify” (ruthlessly pursue, attack and destroy/kill) the sinful thoughts and desires of our flesh and hearts. As often as they appear, which will be for the rest of our earthly lives, we put them to death! (Rom. 8:12-13, Col. 3:5, Rom. 6:11)
We have a real enemy – many of them in fact. The battle is real and serious. He truly has been defeated! The reason God can tell us to simply stand and trust in His armor is because He knows that what He has provided is enough. We are victorious because the One we serve has overcome and makes us overcomers by His blood and the word of our testimony – “Jesus is Lord”!
In the next post I want to look at what the Armor actually is and how it protects us. It’s better than you and I think!