The battle is real. The spiritual warfare that we’re facing everyday is taking place right in our hearts. What should we do? How do we defend and protect our minds and guard our thoughts before they ever reach our hearts? I personally am experiencing these challenges on a regular basis. How about you? When your heart tells you one thing and your mind says another, the worldly temptation is right at your door. Where do we even start? Sometimes, we may try to look the other way, pretending we don’t see it or hear it, but that isn’t a solution, is it?
It takes quite an effort to recognize where the battle is coming from and begin to deal with the confusion, doubts, fears, and the lust of our hearts. Some of us don’t have a clue as to why we’re under spiritual warfare. From time to time, we all get distracted by the dazzle of this world. Sometimes it tries its hardest to deceive us. It usually happens when we take our eyes off of the light of God. In a moment, things can turn dark and we unwittingly give a foothold to the desires of our flesh. If however, we are spiritually mature, we know who is instigating these desires. Yes, it is Satan, the father of lies, who constantly tries to whisper false thoughts into our minds. His agenda is to kill, destroy, and put to shame anything that is dear to God. Once we know who we are and to whom we belong to, we recognize who is for us and who is messing with our minds and thoughts. Of course God is always for us, as it is written; “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).
Through one of my studies the Lord reminded me, “You will face the opposition and your faith will be tested many times throughout your life.” My reply was this, “What must I do to succeed in the testing of my soul?” I needed the certainty of God’s presence in order to get through the heavy weight of life. How can I have that kind of certainty? My search through God’s word was telling me that the only way I can have the hope of His presence through life’s severe storms is to devote time to God, asking Him to shed His Light on the rough path that I will travel. He will surely do so, as He has promised. Then I will emerge victorious with a heart filled with gratitude.
God’s light brightly shines in the darkest valleys, as well as on the mountain tops of life. He knows all our struggles and frustration. For that reason He graciously teaches us how to dress for our battles. Unfortunately, some people stubbornly reject His teaching. But He repeatedly, with mercy and grace shows the way out, for He never leaves us, nor forsakes us.
I have learned from one study (I can’t recall which one) the following:
“Transformation of our fallen heart into a pure and well-ordered heart is to practice Jesus’s teaching and follow his steps.” As it written: (Proverbs 4:23)
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
And the next verse warns us, “Awake, Awake! Clothe yourself with strength, O Warrior of the LORD.” (Isaiah 51: 9)
The good news is that immediately upon receiving our salvation through Christ Jesus, we become a child of God. We have access to the weapons needed to fight our spiritual battle – and one of the most important weapons is the word of God as revealed in the Bible. When we don’t know how to fight our enemies, God wants us to dress ourselves head to toe with His word. That means memorizing verses and reciting them every time we face temptation, fear, illness, danger, or any other trial in our daily lives.
The phrase “Full armor of God” comes from (Ephesians 6:13-17): “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.”
The first element of our armor is the belt of “Truth”. In (John 14: 6) Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
For me, I knew my struggle to find the “Truth” was over and done – I found the Truth in the verse above (John 14:6) and I believe it with all my heart. My challenges however, are not over. The question is, “How can I conquer them? How can I free myself from the shackles of this fallen world?” As I read the word of God and started to get to know who God is and who I am, I realized that as long as I am on this earth, I will always be facing adversity, temptation, fear, and difficulty. Before I came to this realization, I would take a shortcut to get around those harsh demands in life. I didn’t know the One who provided the strong weapons for me to fight my battle. Furthermore, I didn’t know that He is the one who would give me the ability to stand strong in the days to come. I came to realize that if I rely on my own strength and my own abilities in the difficult days ahead, I will fall. But if I keep focusing on the One who gives me power, strength, and stability, I will not be shaken when trials and severe testing come. On the contrary I will be blessed with peace, hope, wisdom, and courage. Now I must view my battles as exercises which are designed to built my trust-muscles.
Paul encourages us to “fasten the belt of truth around your waist” in (Ephesians 6:7). Truth is the foundation our faith – it’s what grounds us. The truth of God’s Word is the only way by which we can recognize the voice of God and refuse to hear Satan’s lies.
“Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”(Psalm25:4)
If we are dressed with the six pieces of the armor of God – the “Belt of Truth”, the “Breastplate of Righteousness”, the “Shield of Faith”, the “Helmet of Salvation” , the”Shoes of the Gospel”, and the “Sword of the Spirit”, no one and no other power can stand against us. We will triumph in whatever circumstance we go through.
Jesus is our ultimate example of resisting temptation in spiritual warfare. Observe how Jesus handled direct attacks from Satan when He was tempted in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). Each temptation was met with the words “It is written.” The Word of the living God is the most powerful weapon against the temptations of the devil. “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11)
God assures us that with the full armor we can confidently walk free of the shackles of this world. He has removed the dirty rags of our sinful living, and put on us the robe of righteousness, giving us the ability to step into the lives we were called to live. As Beth Moore once said, “Satan can’t win and we can’t lose” if we’re fully dressed for our battle with the WORD that is alive.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you on fire.” (Isaiah 43:2)
I kept moving forward, striving to develop maturity in my spiritual walk, so that I could successfully fight my enemies with the powerful tools of God. I began studying the bible on a regular basis to get to know God and his promises. God not only led me to the way of Truth, He also encircled me with a group of godly women. I am immensely grateful for their presence in my life. They stand by me in times of distress and hold me up with their prayers.
“As Iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” Proverbs 27:17
I have learned a vast amount from each and everyone of them. I don’t think any of us can grow without each other as we are all uniquely gifted.
We have a responsibility to protect our minds and hearts. I must not spend time with people that cause me to compromise; rather, I choose to connect with people that will cause me to rise higher. On the other hand, there is a reason for everything. I am in someone else’s life and they are in mine by design. God has a plan!
Now I live my life in a way that make others ask “WHY?” And “HOW?” They may disagree with me and at times, their disagreement has caused me to get closer to the Lord, for I am certain that He is my refuge, fortress and my rock. I feel His presence with me always. How about you, my friend? Do you live your life in a way that makes others wish to live a life that’s fully armored by God?
I would love to hear your thoughts.