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"The entrance of thy words giveth light (Psalm 119:130)."

Ephesians 6: Putting on the Armor of God.

The Bible warns us that we are in a battle: "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings (1 Peter 5:8-9 NIV)."

Any good thing we have the Devil wants to destroy. And this includes our mental health.

To be successful in spiritual warfare, we must keep both our thinking and our behavior under control and in conformity with Scripture.

Controlling our thinking is of fundamental importance. It makes peace and self-control possible. Controlling our thinking will prevent spiritual footholds from developing. And it will weaken and make possible the destruction of those that already exist.

"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5 NKJV)."

Thoughts contrary to the expressed will of God are inevitable. The objective is not to entertain them, not to dwell on them. Every time you entertain a thought contrary to the will of God, you are giving an advantage to the Devil in some way—even if you don't experience any immediate negative consequences. Dwelling on such thoughts results in "strongholds" or footholds. Anytime Satan gets a spiritual foothold, he gains the power to harm you in some way. And he can, within the permissive will of God, use that power to harm you whenever he wants.

The Bible tells us how to be successful in our battle with Satan: The basic biblical instructions are found in Ephesians 6: "Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:10-12 NLT)."

"Without God's armor believers will be defeated by the schemes of the devil which have been effective for thousands of years."1

The Bible provides detailed instructions on how to use God's armor. These instructions use the then familiar analogy of a Roman soldier getting ready to go into battle: "Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints (Ephesians 6:13-18 NIV)."

Christians have different views in terms on how to apply this passage. I'll tell you what I think.

I believe the passage means to be sure to use all your spiritual weapons. Imagining yourself putting on the armor is a great way of reminding yourself of what you need to do, each day, to avoid being defeated by the Devil.

Putting on the armor doesn't magically protect you. I know this from experience! Armor has to be both put on and used. Think of the armor as a checklist of reminders.

Here's what I suggest: Every morning, imagine yourself putting on each piece of the armor. Then recite at least one Scripture or one biblical principle—relevant to what you're struggling with—that goes with that piece of armor. Don't say the same thing every day. I'll provide an example.

First, the belt of truth. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13 NKJV)."

Second, the breastplate of righteousness: Some examples follow:

  • "Love your neighbor (Matthew 22:39)."
  • "I will forgive others, from my heart, by the power of the Holy Spirit."
  • "Do not fret because of evildoers (Psalm 37:1 NASB)."

Third, my feet are fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. This Scripture "refers to a believer's stability or surefootedness from the gospel which gives him peace so he can stand in the battle."1

  • "Do not be anxious about anything (Philippians 4:6 NIV)."
  • "I will fear no evil, for you are with me (Psalm 23:4 NIV)."

Fourth, the shield of faith:

  • "Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You (Psalm 56:3 NKJV)."
  • "Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)."

Fifth, the helmet of salvation.

  • "put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:8 NASB)."
  • "For we live by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7 NIV)."
  • "Think about good things."

Sixth, the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God.

  • "For the word of God is living and powerful (Hebrews 4:12 NKJV)."
  • "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV)."

Finally, pray. Prayer is essential. Get into the habit of bringing all your issues to God, big and small. And also get into the habit of continually coming back to prayer, from time to time, during the day. God is your partner—don't ignore him.

It is my recommendation that you put on the armor when you first get up in the morning.

So that's it. The battleground is primarily in our minds. The idea is to base our thoughts and behaviors on Scripture—not on how we're feeling. If we go by our feelings, we will be defeated.

Ephesians 6 makes it possible for us to understand the spiritual battle we are in—and win. It makes it possible for us to experience the blessings of God—rather than the torment of the Devil.

Note: I also recommend that you listen to the CD Discovering Our True Identity: Dressed For the Battle. It can be purchased from In Touch Ministries.

1 Walvoord, John F. & Zuck, Roy B., The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Faculty New Testament, (Colorado Springs: Chariot Victor Publishing, 1983) 643.


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