Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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. – Ephesians 6:10-12
Ask anyone from our leadership team about this past summer and they will tell you we were plagued with Spiritual battles which affected our relationships and health. I can personally attest to struggles in my marriage because I let my guard down and Spiritual warfare ensued. I allowed the enemy to consume my thoughts and speak lies into my heart.
This message is a reminder to me as much as it is for you.
Spiritual warfare is real, designed to prevent us from living out God’s best for our lives. Satan and his army exploit our personal pains, fears and insecurities to cloud our vision and distort the truth. As a result, we interpret our relationships and circumstances based on lies.
Priscilla Shirer says it best in her Bible study on the Armor of God, “The enemy’s attacks are always wrapped in the packaging of deception, always designed to manipulate the truth about God, and about your value in Him. He desires to lead you into sin so that fellowship is broken between you and God—this way you’ll be disconnected from the Source of true power and strength,”
Priscilla also says, “The evil temptations that appeal to your specific desires and happen to show up when you are most vulnerable are not accidental. They are his deceptive tactics (and that of his evil entourage), specifically designed, timed and personalized in hopes that you fall prey to his demon ploy and miss out on experiencing an abundant life in Christ,”
Satan exploits our weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Our setbacks, mistakes and failures are his victories and result in broken fellowship with our heavenly Father. The more the enemy can come between us and our relationship with Christ, the more we feel inner turmoil and suffering.
This ministry has suffered attacks from almost every angle over the past year. Satan does not want us to succeed. As I knowingly battled attacks in my marriage, family and health, my eating habits suffered. I have struggled with weight and my health my entire life. Junk food and laziness are my weakness. At the same time, I have a calling to run a rock climbing ministry. Rock climbing requires health and fitness. Yet the cravings and constant thoughts about chocolate have translated into significant weight gain.
I have realized lately how much my diet and laziness have kept me from what God has intended for me.. As I research and reflect on what Spiritual Warfare really is and how it affects me, I see how I have allowed Satan to rob me from not only God’s best plans for me, but also my health and well-being. Honestly, it makes me angry. Not just angry at Satan and his army, angry and frustrated with myself. I haven’t utilized the tools God has given me to fight the good fight.
How do we fight against Spiritual attack? How do we keep our minds focused on truth rather than submit to distorted lenses based on lies from the enemy? Ephesians 6:10-17 gives a visual reminder of a Roman warrior preparing for battle. With the armor of God, we can withstand any 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. – Ephesians 6:13-17
Paul summarizes our battle plan with perhaps our most important strategy. Prayer.
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 Lord’s people. – Ephesians 6:18
On the topic of prayer Priscilla says, “Consider your areas of greatest strength and greatest weakness. Keep a close eye on both of these areas and safeguard yourself through prayer. These areas are likely the places where you can expect the enemy to target his attacks against you. When you know where to look, you can see him coming a mile away. He’s really not that clever. He’s just cunning,”
Prayer keeps us connected to the Holy Spirit and strengthens our resolve to withstand attacks from the enemy. Through prayer we build up our arsenal, fortify our hearts, and strengthen our resolve.
Considering what I have personally faced over the past few months, I want to spend a few weeks focusing on how we can recognize and withstand spiritual warfare. Next week we will begin to explore each piece of our climbing gear as our personal battle armor. My hope is that you will never look at your climbing gear the same. Instead, I want it to serve as a reminder of the tools God has provided you to withstand attack and battle the enemy.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18