Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast Episode 110 - Armed for Spiritual Warfare
Welcome to the Terri Hitt – Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast
Episode #110 – Armed for Spiritual Warfare
Thank you for entrusting and investing your precious time with me to seek, find, and follow Jesus together and live with purposed eternal perspective.
My youngest daughters and I have always enjoyed laughing at our dog, because he does something every single day that amuses us and fills us with an appreciation for the unique personalities God takes time to place in His creation. We expect the individuality with people, but we’ve seen that the world of nature and animals has special qualities, too. Even though animals are not gifted with a soul that can choose God like we can, He has taken time to specifically craft each and every animal he placed on this earth. God personally knows each family pet He has gifted us with over the years and has given us the animals we have enjoyed and loved. Every one of them has taught me more about life and love and brought me closer to the person God intends me to be.
Sometimes when we observe our dogs, we see them do actions that lead us to wonder what they know about God intuitively and whether they can see into the spiritual world surrounding us. Our Golden Retriever, Max was especially good at making us ponder the line between what we see and cannot. Sometimes he would lay with us, but lift his head up toward the ceiling and just look around. I can’t say whether he had the ability to see beyond what we can, but it doesn’t matter. It is true, however, that there definitely is an unseen world around us. Scripture actually refers to it.
One example is in 2 Kings 6:15-17, where a passage of scripture reads, “When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early in the morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. So he asked Elisha, “Oh, my master, what are we to do?”
“Do not be afraid,” Elisha answered, “for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.”
And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw that the hills were full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”
In this passage, we know that Elisha understood that we are surrounded by powerful, yet unseen forces. I read these verses because they can be a reminder to us that we also have forces around us that we do not see, but trust that God is managing. God’s spiritual army was in place in biblical times, just as it is today. The evil and deceit, selfishness and division in our world is spurred by evil unseen forces that seek to steal, kill, and destroy.
As we know from the book of Genesis, spiritual warfare first attacked in the garden. Satan, disguised as a serpent, sought to ruin what God had created. He saw that it was good and sought to destroy it. We cannot see Satan, but we see the effects of his influence in the world daily. In fact, we are each under attack daily. A mind that is unprepared and oblivious will always fall victim to the schemes of the deceiver. Of course, we cannot blame every bad thing that happens to us, mistakes we make, or consequences of choices on the devil. We make plenty of decisions based on our selfish fleshly desires, but we should not overlook the dark influence of evil in the world caused by Satan and an unseen force.
The name, Satan comes from the Hebrew word, “accuser.” Scripture tells us that the devil prowls the earth looking for whom he can destroy. 1 Peter 5:8-9 says, “Be sober-minded and alert. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in your faith and in the knowledge that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering.”
The devil wants us enslaved, in bondage to sin, fear, and separation from God. He attacks us in a full-on assault with tactics he has tested and used since the beginning of time. He is not creative, and doesn’t have to try very hard. We keep falling for the same tactics, and unless we are mindful of drawing nearer to God each day through a maturing relationship with Jesus, we will be powerless to stop the devastating effects of war waged by the devil.
Thankfully, we do not have to engage in battle. God has gone before us, giving us gifts personally designed to withstand any attack. James 4:7-8a says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”
Satan devises and uses many strategies to try to destroy and defeat humans, especially believers. The Bible warns us, actually arms us with what we need so we will be alert and ready. If we pay attention to the descriptions of Satan from scripture, we are better equipped to recognize his methods and schemes. Revelation 12:12b says, “But woe to the earth and the sea; with great fury the devil has come down to you, knowing he has only a short time.”
Let’s take a moment to look at some facts about Satan.
1. The devil is a deceiver. Revelation 1:9 says, “And the great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.” Satan began his deception toward man in the garden when he first disguised himself as a serpent, then twisted God’s words as he deceived and tempted Eve.
2. The devil is a murderer. John 8:44 says, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out his desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, refusing to uphold the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, because he is a liar and the father of lies.”
3. The devil is a tempter. Matthew 4:3 says, “The tempter came to Him and said, “If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
4. The devil is a liar. John 8:44 says, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out his desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, refusing to uphold the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, because he is a liar and the father of lies.”
5. The devil is an accuser. Revelation 12:10 says, “And I heard a loud voice in heaven saying: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Christ. For the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down— he who accuses them day and night before our God.”
6. The devil is wicked. 1 John 5:9 says, “We know that we are of God, and that the whole world is under the power of the evil one.”
7. The devil is a thief. John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it in all its fullness.”
2 Corinthians 2:11 says, “in order that Satan should not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.”
Scripture warns us of the truths of the devil, prepares us for his attacks, reminds us of holy truths, and arms us with power through Jesus.
God’s word equips us for the temptations and attacks by Satan that will surely attempt to throw us off course and crush us with devastation.
1 John 5:18 says, “We know that anyone born of God does not keep on sinning; the One who was born of God protects him, and the evil one cannot touch him.”
We know that the enemy in this world is Satan. Jesus warned us that we would face trials and persecution, but He also reminded us that He has already overcome the world; He has overcome Satan. The devil knows his time is short. Followers of Jesus walk in one direction, while the devil tempts believers and non-believers in the opposite direction. The heavenly kingdom of our precious Jesus is not what we would typically do or how we would think. But because of the holy power within believers, we are more than conquerors. Jesus’s power is alive within us! Our Savior has given us everything we need to live a life that can withstand and defeat the wicked, fiery evil the devil devises to use against us. Don’t be distracted or sidetracked in a fight with the devil. Scripture is where we will turn to see exactly how to prepare and protect ourselves to withstand the evil onslaughts that will come to each of us in our lifetime.
Ephesians 6:10 instructs us with two commands. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.” We must rely on God, and we must allow His mighty strength to fill us, not so that we will fight, but so that we will allow Him to battle through us.
Ephesians 6:11-18 says, “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can make your stand against the devil’s schemes.” We aren’t told to fight. When we think of battling, we tend to fight in our own strength. Instead, we are instructed to wear the strength Jesus wore, the mighty, holy armor of God that will enable us to stand against the devil’s schemes.
Ephesians 6:12 says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world’s darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
We will have conflict with and be persecuted by people in this world, but we must remember that this world is under the evil influence of the devil and his forces. When we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, our true Defender and Conqueror, our focus is adjusted so that we allow Christ to work within us and we rely on His armor to protect and provide for us. If you examine OT war history, it is obvious that each time the Israelites failed to rely on the strength of God and looked to self, they lost. Just like us, when they kept their gaze on the Lord, and humbly asked for His grace and mercy, wisdom and direction, they were victorious.
Every piece of armor we need to withstand Satan’s schemes has been given to us, yet we have to choose whether to continue wearing each piece at all times. Our armor isn’t designed to be slipped on when we feel it is needed. It is too easy to rely on our own strength. God has designed His armor to be kept on, a permanent attire that keeps us imperishable through God’s provision and strength. Each piece of His armor is specially designed for specific purposes. Each piece fits and works together, which is why Ephesians 6:13 tells us, “Therefore take up the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you will be able to stand your ground, and having done everything, to stand.” We must humbly and intentionally wear and depend on each piece: truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, and the word of God. These are the exact, powerful, and effective weapons God has ensured will defeat the devil, the unseen spiritual forces, and the ones we see and encounter in daily life.
Ephesians 6:14-18 says, “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness arrayed, and with your feet fitted with the readiness of 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. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times, with every kind of prayer and petition. To this end, stay alert with all perseverance in your prayers for all the saints.”
Now let’s examine these verses more closely to see the sacred ways God has lovingly provided for us with each piece of armor.
1. Belt of Truth – Just as a belt holds our clothing securely, the belt used in a soldier’s armor was the foundation of his armor and held his sword and breastplate. Jesus is the firm foundation of every believer. Through Him we use His belt of truth to center us on holy truths and protect us from the lies of the accuser. In John 14:6, Jesus tells us He is the way, the truth, and the life. We must hold God’s truth securely in our heart and mind to guide our beliefs and actions in order to deflect the lies of the devil.
2. Breastplate of Righteousness – Every soldier wore a breastplate to guard their heart. This armor so beautifully designed by God protects our heart, our spiritual life. Without this breastplate, our heart is exposed and easily deceived and overtaken. Philippians 3:9b says, “Not having my own righteousness from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God on the basis of faith.” A believer’s righteousness is justified and sanctified by Christ.
3. Gospel of Peace – During battle, the soldier wore shielded sandals that allowed him peaceful security and firm traction as he maneuvered and fought. We stand solidly in the truth of Jesus and walk confidently and peacefully with our Lord. Philippians 4:7 says, “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
4. Shield of Faith – Roman soldiers wore the protection of leather-covered shields that had been soaked in water so that the flaming arrows of the enemy would be extinguished instead of penetrating them. 2 Corinthians 5:7 says, “For we live by believing and not by seeing.” This means that our faith, hope, and trust in the promises and truths of God are sufficient to destroy the devil’s sure, steady, and sneaky attacks.
5. Helmet of Salvation – Just as an armored helmet protected the brain of the Roman soldier, we must protect our mind to withstand the spiritual warfare that Satan uses to attack us. When we know we have relationship with God through Jesus, we must also believe what He says about us. Our mind is vulnerable and must be confidently conquered through truths and thoughts from Christ alone. What we think easily shapes our belief system, words, and actions. John 8:44 warns us, “For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.” If the thoughts in our mind are not consistent with God’s words, we must be able to recognize and immediately reject those evil lies and replace them with God’s holy words and truths. Remember, God cannot lie. What we think and believe is so critically important. Doubt can easily be planted in our mind. Only the truth that comes from Christ will set us free. Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 says, “For though we live in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh. The weapons of our warfare are not the weapons of the world. Instead, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We tear down arguments and every presumption set up against the knowledge of God; and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
6. Sword of the Spirit – Each of the pieces of armor that I have mentioned are for our defense. There is one piece left, however, and it is for our offense. Our sword is the word of our Heavenly Father. God’s word is life and shows us how to pattern our thoughts and steps after Jesus, and shows us how Christ stood against the devil and his evil schemes and actions. Although He could have, Jesus did not engage in hand-to-hand combat or arguments with Satan. Instead, Jesus knew and spoke God’s holy word. I have heard Dr. David Jeremiah explain it this way, “The Bible as a whole is an armory from which to select swords for specific battles.” Jesus showed us the way to God and lived a life that honored our Heavenly Father in every way. In Matthew 4:1-11, Jesus was tempted by Satan three times. Every single time, Jesus quoted scripture, causing the devil to flee. God’s word is living and active, our very best offense.
7. Prayer – In all things, prayer is needed. As we watch the life and instruction of Jesus, we learn how to pray. Prayer is a beautiful gift from God for His purposes, not our selfish whims or desires. Watching the example of Jesus through scripture has taught me so much about the gift and lifeline we have been given to speak directly to our Heavenly Father. In Matthew 6:13 Jesus says, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Jesus knew we must be watchful and careful at all times, reliant on the strength of God to carry us. James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” We have no strength to resist the devil if we do not have a maturing relationship with Christ, are not in the word, and living a prayerful, connected life with Him. If you would like to learn more about this topic, I suggest that you listen to a past Live With Eternal Perspective episode, number 18, entitled “Prayer” from May of 2020.
2 Thessalonians 3:3 says, “But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.”
Dear Heavenly Father, You are in heaven, yet also right on this earth with us. How great you are! You have prepared us with all we need in this life and yet we still fail to follow You as we should, fail to recognize the schemes devised against us. Cleanse our heart and minds. Keep us drawing ever nearer to You, Your grace, Your love, and Your truths. May Your will be done in our lives as we submit to You and flee from the devil with Your words protecting our mind and Your armor strapped securely on. Keep us ever present with You through prayer and may the cries of our heart match Yours. Guide and guard us. May no weapon formed against us prosper. May our vindication arrive from You, for we know that greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world. In the precious and holy name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Thank you for listening to this podcast. If you find value in what you hear, I invite you to share Live With Eternal Perspective episodes with friends and family so that they can begin to listen each week. Would you please also place a rating and review at Apple Podcasts or Spotify to enable others to find each episode?
I’m very excited to share that my second podcast, “Purposed Parent/Connected Child” has released! I hope you will look for it, follow it, and share both podcasts with friends or family who would like to choose Christ over culture and be a parent (or be a grandparent) who connects with eternal purpose. Right now the podcast is on Spotify and iHeart Radio, but will be available on other platforms soon.
These podcasts are important steps of obedience that I pray bless you. If we are not purposed in knowing Jesus ourselves and showing Him to the next generation, the world will direct them away from Christ. Live With Eternal Perspective helps us to find, trust, and follow Christ more intimately. Purposed Parent/Connected Child shares biblical, practical truths for parents and grandparents to influence and mentor Christ over culture.
I pray that what you hear on this podcast draws you nearer to God and helps you cling to Him, despite any circumstances in your life. Until next week, keep looking Up while focusing on new ways to Live With Eternal Perspective.