You have an enemy he is called Satan the devil
Now you have been saved but you are still in the world. Indeed, the Lord still has assignments for you in the world to carry out for Him. So you are in the world but not part of the world. However, the world will not leave you alone or let you be. Rather it will come after you on its own terms and as a strong ally and instrument of the devil to try to win you to its ways, failing that, it will try to discourage you from continuing the journey of faith, and if possible, to stop whatever you are supposed to be doing for yourself and for the Lord.
Failing to stop you, he is determined to make life as difficult and unbearable for you as possible. The devil sees your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as a declaration of war against him and his kingdom of darkness. And truly, that is what it is: you are at war! You are a soldier of Christ on the battle field. However, the Lord Jesus Christ has defeated Satan, the enemy.
The devil has been found guilty, and condemned in judgment, and the execution of that judgment is being awaited at the end of the age when the Lord will come for His own. Meanwhile the believer is to be occupied till He comes. The believer is still in the world though not of the world. He is here to carry out the good works that had been ordained before the foundation of the world.
The Lord Jesus Christ won positional victory for the believer on Calvary. But the believers, the recipients of that victory are expected to go ahead and win the conditional victory. Conditional victory is victory over our personal situations and circumstances on event by event or on everyday basis. In other words, the believers still have their part to play in the work of the kingdom.
The situation of the born again believer in Christ is almost similar to the situation of the Israelites when they were to enter the land of Canaan. Though the ungodly inhabitants of the land that God had dis-inherited, including the giants were still living there, God said He had given the land to the Israelites. He told them that He was going to be with them. Though they were no match for their enemies, the enemies were not going to be able to stand before them because God had taken away their defence and protection. He then commanded them to begin to take possession of the Land.
Though the land was now potentially theirs, the Israelites still needed to believe God, be ready and willing to fight with their enemies, and take possession of the land by defeating the Canaanites in the various battles that were necessary for complete victory.
Similarly, the believer has victory in Christ. But he is faced with a formidable enemy in the person of Satan and his kingdom of darkness with his host of fallen angels and demons. This enemy kingdom and it power are described in the Holy Scriptures in such graphic details not so as to frighten the believer, but so that he would realise and understand the enormity of the task at hand and will then avail himself of the resources that God has graciously placed at his disposal for the successful prosecution of the war.
The warfare is spiritual, the enemy though fallen is still powerful
Though there may be physical manifestations, the warfare is essentially spiritual. For we are told that:
“We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Eph. 6:12).
Some of the terminology used in describing the enemy include: Principalities, powers, rulers, spiritual wickedness or evil ones in high places terms which describe the hierarchy or chain of command within the kingdom of darkness with Satan or the devil at the apex.
- Satan is the thief that has come to steal, to kill and to destroy (John 10:10).
- He is the strong man (Luke 11:21).
- He is described “as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour.” (1Pet 5:8).
- He is “the God of this world who had blinded the minds of them which believe not.” (2Cor 4:4).
- He thus leads sinners captive at his will (2Tim 2:26).
- One of his methods of operation is the way “Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.”, and “his ministers also be transformed as the minsters of righteousness.” (2Cor 11:14-15).
- He also has numerous devices that the believer should not be ignorant of (2Cor 2:11).
The believer should be aware that however powerful he may be, the power of Satan is derived and limited and whatever authority he may have is delegated authority: Satan is completely limited by God. He cannot do what he wishes and he will not be able to do what he can. He can only do what God allows or permits him to do, nothing more, not less (Job 1:12; 2:6; John 19:11).
The believer is adequately equipped for the warfare
Though the enemy is still powerful though fallen and the warfare may be intense and sustained, the genuine child of God is adequately equipped to successfully prosecute the war and come out victorious.
Hence, the realisation
- That the battle is the Lord’s; and
- That contrary to heathen and secular thinking, there are no two equal and opposing forces of good and evil in the universal but only one power:
- That of the Almighty God; and
- That Satan, the devil is only a rebellious and fallen angel, and
- That he and his kingdom is already judged, convicted, condemned but his execution awaits until the consummation of things when the Lord will come for His own,
- Ought to be of great reassurance to the believer in this battle.
Better still, the fact that God’s power is engaged in the defence of His own ought to enable the believer to by the grace and power of God fight the good fight of faith (1Tim 6:12).
- The believer should therefore “contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 3),
- Knowing that as he submits to God, and resists the devil, he will flee from him (Jam 4:7).
- Since the battle is spiritual, and as believers:
- “though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong;), casting down imagination, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” (2Cor 10:3-6).
The mind is the battle ground
You see, the battle is spiritual and the ground of the battle is the mind, the heart of man.
- It is in the mind that strongholds against God and His Christ are built;
- It is the minds of them which believe not that Satan, the god of this world, has blinded lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ should shine unto them (2Cor 4:4).
- It is in the mind that pride, rebellion against God and other sins that defile a man reside.
- Hence, it is of such darkened heart that it is thus spoken of that:
- “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Gen 6:5).
- It is the heart that is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” (Jer. 17:9).
Provision for the warfare
However, our good Father, who loves us and knows the enemy more than we can ever know him has not left us at the relentless and merciless onslaught of the enemy, neither has He left us to our own devices. Rather, the Lord has made adequate provision for us to successfully prosecute the war without becoming casualties of the intense battle.
The power of God’s might
One of such effective weapons is the armour of God. We are exhorted to “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” (Eph. 6:10). Everything has to be done in the Lord and in His power. Our strength or power if any is too puny, too corrupt to be of any use before such an overwhelming force as that of the kingdom of darkness.
As we are informed: “Except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain” (Ps 127:1). Nowhere is this verse more apt than in the area of spiritual warfare. Without our God being with us, no matter what we do, we are no match for the devil. But with our God we are assured of resounding victory. We lock into the power of God through the whole armour.
The armour of God
We are therefore commanded to “put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Eph. 6:11).
Next, we are given a glimpse of the nature of the war and the extent of the organisation of the enemy:
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Eph. 6:12).
Just as no good soldier takes only bit of his weapons to war or gets to the battle front only to sit idle, rather, he puts on his full compliments of weapons and vigorously engages in the battle, so the believer is commanded:
“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Eph. 6:13).
The believer is to put on the whole armour of God not some of it. His whole body is to be appropriately covered. The various parts of the armour are then described with their functions:
“14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” (Eph. 6:14-18).
Certain pertinent observations
The armour is for the believer in Christ in this present life. The battle is in the present dispensation. The robe of righteousness is for heaven. We shall not be engaged in battle in heaven. The battle is mainly against sin for to make the believer to sin and thus disobey God and if possible, to cause his ruin is the ultimate goal of the devil. He wants as many amongst the children of men as possible to go with him to hell.
The Christian is commanded to be sober and to be vigilant because of the adversary the devil (1Pet 5:8), and so to be ever prepared to respond appropriately to every situation that may crop up. These are basic characteristics of a seasoned soldier.
We thus see the frequent use of these military expressions “put on,” “stand,” “withstand,” and “stand therefore” in Ephesians 6:11, 13, and 14 to portray the Christian’s attitude towards sin, the weapon-in-chief of Satan against the true Christian.
- To put on (v.11) is to wear something, to make it part of one’s appearance. In this case the Christian who is the soldier is to put on his weapon, wear it and thus make it part of his appearance. Just as no sane soldier in the physical world will go into the battle field without his weapons on him, the Christian soldier is to have his weapon on as part of his appearance at all times.
- To stand (vv.11, 13, 14), is to resist, to throw back: it is the opposite of passivity. Standing suggests readiness for action, attentiveness or alertness. Hence he is not to be there uninterested or distracted.
- To withstand (v.13), is to stand against, to resist with firm determination especially, to resist successfully. Hence, to withstand is an aggressive move against the enemy with the determination to be victorious over him. No retreat, no surrender. All your members must be brought into subjection, not allowing them to be instruments of unrighteousness.
- This is the case of “If thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.” (Mat 18:9).
- To stand therefore is to stand orderly and attentively (as soldiers stand orderly in rank on the battle field), being in full combat gear, in the place where God has chosen you to be, and continuing to be true to Him there. This is an active and continuous battle that the believer should aim to win all of the time.
Remember, the Lord is the Lord of the battle, He is your commander and determines your place and function on the battle field. Just as soldiers on the physical battle ground of the world must obey their commanders for victory to be ensured, so the Christian soldier is to obey the Lord too. The spiritual battle is fought in this world, so the armour is for the Christian in this life.
Taking another look at the armour, we observe that overall, the armour is a defensive weapon. However, the Lord has also provided us with the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit. Hence, the believer has been provided with both defensive and offensive weapons. The armour is a defensive weapon against sin and should never be used to cover sin.
The shield of faith that the believer is commanded to take is faith in God alone, that is, taking God at His word. The believer is to believe and put his whole trust in God at all times. For:
“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: Hath he said, and shall he not do it? Or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Num. 23:19).
And “For ever, O LORD, Thy word is settled in heaven” (Ps 119:89).
The believer is exhorted to use the shield of faith “above all”, that is, in addition to all the rest of the armour. He is assured that the shield of faith will stop all the missiles the devil might haul at him when he uses it correctly. It is not that faith is more important than the other graces. Faith is not more important than love.
For God gave the gift of faith, the capacity to believe, in regeneration (saving faith), and
“he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1John 4:10), and also
“the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us.” (Rom 5:5).
Saving faith is foundational to the new life of the new creation in Christ and is critical and essential for consistent and sustained Christian life of faith. Hence, the shield of faith is the armour of the armour or the protector of the protection so to say. It protects all the other parts of the armour mentioned within the context.
The Christian is born into the warfare, destined to be attacked and must fight. Even if he doesn’t want to fight he will be assaulted and would have no choice but to defend himself. He is therefore a soldier of Christ whose duty is to defend himself against and to attack the enemy. Hence, the believer has to protect himself: defend and attack. The shield of faith is his weapon of defence and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God is his weapon of attack.
It is important to understand that the believer himself has to put on the whole armour of God and that he does this daily as a way of life not as an emergency or like the fire fighter coming only after the fire has almost burnt the house to the ground.
Yes, daily the believer must be exercised in the various components of the armour: [[Loins: Truth; Breastplate: Righteousness; Feet: gospel of peace; shield: Faith; Helmet: Salvation; Sword of the Spirit: The Word of God; Prayer: All prayer and supplication in the Spirit; Watching: Perseverance.]]
It is also important to understand that the sword of the Spirit is more than owning a Bible, having an adequate library, attending worship service, and hearing a preacher, all of which are good and necessarily have their appropriate place.
More importantly, the child of God is responsible for and is expected to take the things he has heard and make them his by studying the word of God and meditating on it. This is especially crucial because “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom 10:17).
The shield of the soldier on the physical battle field entirely covers him and all the armour he had put on, and absorbs the blows from the enemy. Similarly, the shield of faith entirely envelops the believer in Christ and protects the whole man. The shield of faith absorbs the blows, all the fiery darts of the wicked. As the shield enveloped the entire man, so faith envelopes the entire Christian. Faith protects the whole man.
- This is also borne out by the way God’s protection of His people is illustrated in the Holy Scriptures:
- The Lord is the shield of His people:
- “For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield” (Ps 5:12).
- “The LORD is my strength and my shield…” (Ps 28:7).
- “Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield” (Ps 33:20).
- Like the shield, faith receives the blows, fiery darts meant for the child of God.
- Although the physical shield was made of metal, wood, or various materials, it always had a covering of leather which not only stopped the dart from piercing the armour but also quenched the fire on the dart.
- There are gaps between the many pieces of the armour where the fiery darts may penetrate.
- Therefore, the shield is to protect the armour.
- The shield which is of one piece should be kept before one’s person and moved about to protect the attacked parts.
The soldier while under the protection of the shield performs his duty, in spite of all the shots being fired at him. Similarly, faith defends the child of God in the exercise of his graces. He doesn’t sit and cower in a corner. Rather, the believer goes about his duties, “the good works that had been created that he should walk in them”, as a believer while being protected by his faith.
The centrality of faith in the life of the believer is the reason why when faith fails, every other grace is also put to rout or disarray.
Hence, when faith fails:
- Courage is turned into cowardice.
- Thus, Abraham lied about his wife and
- Peter denied Jesus Christ in the presence of the damsel.
- Self-control is turned into self-indulgence.
- Thus, Noah made wine, drank thereof and was drunk;
- David instead of being at the war front stayed behind, committed adultery and murder.
- Brotherly kindness is turned into contention and strife.
- Thus, though endowed with abundance of spiritual gifts, the Corinthian church was rife with contention, strife and sects and parties arose.
None of the graces in the Christian are safe unless it is under the protection of the shield of faith. Therefore, the shield of faith must be properly handled and be used against Satan’s attack on the mind, sentimentality, and persuasion to walk by sight rather than by faith.
The believer’s enemy is Satan, the evil or wicked one though he may hide under human beings and other agents and thus approach through them.
But the child of God who has on the whole armour of God and the shield of faith in place all the time will be able to cut him short or even shut him up with the appropriate use of the sword of the Spirit.
Here is a sample of some of the fiery darts the devil might throw at the child of God and how the believer might quench such darts by wielding the shield of faith to good effect:
- Potential susceptibility
- Satan is aware of your potential susceptibility, that you may not always be sober and alert.
- Therefore, Satan will say:
- “Someday you will fall by my dart. Sooner or later I will get you for you are no match for me!”
- But the believer will answer:
- “I am confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in me will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil 1:6); and the promise of God to me is that:
- “No weapon that is formed against me shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment I condemn.” (Isa 54:17).
- You are flesh and weak.
- Satan is a spirit though a fallen one and knows you are flesh and therefore no match for him.
- So Satan comes to you and says:
- “You cannot stand against me because you are weak and are easily frightened.”
- But you the believer will with confidence reply him: you must be naïve otherwise you would know that:
- “My Lord’s grace is sufficient for me: for His strength is made perfect in my weakness.” (2Cor 12:9). And
- “My God gives power to the faith, and to him who has no might he increases strength. He will renew my strength; and I will mount up with wings like eagles; I will run and not be weary; and I will walk and not faint.” (Isa 40:29, 31).
- The issue of sin
- Satan knows that though you are saved, that you may still sin though not as a habit.
- Either he makes you to think that you cannot sin again thus cause you to become complaisant or when you have sinned, to make you think you cannot be forgiven again and thus fall into self-condemnation.
- Therefore, Satan may whisper to you and say:
- “Your sins have caused God to cast you off and now you are not a Christian anymore.”
- However, you will respond in faith with: Devil, you miss the point: I have repented and not only has my God forgave me, but my
- “God has promised He will never leave me nor forsake me and I believe Him for He is faithful.” (Heb. 13:5; 1Cor 1:9).
- Your worth
- Satan will let you know and want to make you think you are worthless and so, undeserving of anything from God.
- Hence, The Devil may say to you:
- “There was nothing in you good enough for God to choose you.”
- You will respond in faith by saying: Satan, that is your irrelevant point of view but the true reality is that
- “God loved me enough while I was yet a sinner that He gave His Son to die in my place and He has also given me of His Spirit.” (1John 4:10, 13).
- And further, you will continue:
- “God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, and things which are not to bring to nought things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.” (1Cor 1:27-29).
- Fall away
- The devil has been around for a long while and knows many whom he had successively taken down.
- He therefore comes to you confidently and says to you:
- “I know some who have suffered shipwreck of their faith and you cannot continue without having the same terrible experience. Yes, soon you too will fall away!”
- It is true that in the journey of faith, some had failed calamitously! (1Tim 1:19)
- But these were people who did not genuinely believe (1John 2:19).
- So you will respond to this satanic taunt by saying that: devil, you must be ignorant of the difference between genuine faith and false faith.
- “However, for your information, I am a true child of God and I am able to distinguish genuine faith from false faith.
- Further, be aware of this truth: I am kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1Pet 1:5).
- So, “no man can pluck me out of the hand of my Lord.” (John 10:28).
- Poor or lack of growth
- Satan is able to observe you but it is not as if he is with you all the time for he is not omnipresent, ONLY God is.
- So when he comes calling and informs you that:
- “Faith grows from faith to faith, but I have not seen any growth in your life. And if you must know, you have regressed seriously”
- He is trying to unsettle you, to cause you to doubt and to fear.
- You should respond to him in faith saying:
- Satan, you don’t know what you are talking about. You may refuse to acknowledge it but I know that I am growing in faith.
- “Further, don’t expect fruit every day or month of my life. The fruit tree does not bear fruit perpetually. There is the winter season, spring, and fall, but there is also the summer for fruit-bearing.
- You are looking at me in only one point of my life, though you may refuse to see it, I am growing, and at the end of my life there will be a manifestation of growth because faith grows.” (2Thes 1:3).
- Failure on occasions
- Remember that the devil knows the bible.
- Only that he cannot rightly apply it.
- He uses the word of God to his advantage by taking a little truth and mixing so much of his lies with it to make it believable.
- This is how deception becomes a major weapon in his hands.
- Hence, the devil may come around to taut you again by saying:
- “You know what, true faith never fails, but I have seen your faith fail many times.”
- You know that he is really trying to put you on the spot by pretending that he knows all about you.
- But the truth is that he is not omnipresent.
- But because his kingdom is so well organized with his agents diligently reporting all they can see to him, he thus presents a false impression of being omnipresent.
- But he is restricted in location and does not know everything about you.
- Recognising his limitations, you should respond in faith by telling him that:
- As is your habit, you are twisting the facts for you are the father of lies (John 8:44).
- “The strongest faith will limp a little when it is tried. David’s faith was tried, and he limped when he thought he would perish by the hand of Saul. Satan, the fact that you are throwing that fiery darts at me proves that my faith is genuine.
- You may have decided to have me that you may sift me as wheat, but my Lord has prayed for me that my faith will not fail, and Christ’s prayer shall never go unanswered.” (Luke 22:31-32; John 11:41-42).
These are just a few examples of how the devil may assault the child of God. I pray that these gives you a good idea of what may happen and how you may respond.
Remember that Satan is a deceiver and one of the methods he uses is to exaggerate things, making them look or feel worse than they really are. It is part of the attempt to make the believer to panic and thus reveal by his actions what the devil cannot otherwise know. He may leave you for a season only to come back with a new scheme or through another device. That is why the spiritual battle is life-long on this part of God’s creation.
Keep up the good fight of faith, you will ultimately be victorious.
You are blessed.