In the New Testament-era time of Christ and the apostles, the spiritual teachers used practical, everyday persons, places, objects and real-life examples to help their listeners and readers understand and visualize spiritual truths and concepts. A few common examples used through the New Testament are:
- Farming—illustrations of farming such as planting, protecting and harvesting grains and fruits (Matt. 13:18-32).
- Fishing—catching men, mending nets, and dealing with storms (Matt. 4:18-20; 13:47-50).
- Running—a foot race, winning the prize, not giving up, and laying aside weights and sins (Heb. 12:1-2).
- Warring—a soldier who is equipped with armor to fight and defeat enemies (Eph. 6:10-20).
Perhaps you enjoy those promises of reaping and sowing and prefer to remain in the farming scriptures. For those who like athletic activities, you can relate to the run-the-race admonition in Heb. 12:1-2 because you desire to win the prize. However, if you are an active Christian, you are to be continually prepared for a surprise spiritual conflict that attacks your health, wealth or family—similar to the assault the enemy leveled against Job (see Job 1-2).
We must all understand that this conflict is the battle of the ages, and each soul that falls in battle, wounded and unable to stand, is a victory in the kingdom of darkness.
Anyone who is a Christian is also a soldier. After ministering to hundreds of thousands of believers, I have observed four basic types of soldiers in the body of Christ:
1. First there are those who know nothing about the armor of God. They live from one battle to the next, survive from one beating to the next, and anticipate one defeat to the next. They are the ones who have a desire to serve God but their conflicts bring a defeatist mentality, as they are uncertain as to how to win in a conflict.
2. The second category is those who know something about the armor but refuse to wear it. To them Eph. 6:13-18 is a beautiful poetic passage penned by the apostle in prison. However, their belief is that we must all learn how to deal with our own problems in our own wisdom and strength and not overly concern ourselves with some form of invisible spiritual warfare.
3. The third category comprises the soldiers who pick and choose their protection, wearing some but not all of the armor. They enjoy a spiritual victory occasionally, answered prayer from time to time, a healing during certain seasons, but they often leave areas of their lives exposed to the darts of the enemy. They may attend church for many years, but suddenly they drop off the radar and no one sees them in the Sunday services because the enemy hit them in an unprotected moment.
4. The fourth category of Christian warrior is those believers who wear the entire armor of God and actually know what it represents and how to use it. These Christians have battles just as everyone else, but despite battles and wars, they continue to survive and even thrive during raging conflicts.
It is interesting that Paul would write a detailed discourse on the spiritual battle of a believer against demonic rebels to the Ephesian believers. The city was known for its prostitutions (including temple prostitutes), public bathhouses and idol worship, which dominated the city. Crowds of more than 10,000 people often filled the stadium for gladiator fights.
This was the setting Paul had observed when reminding the saints that their battle was not with flesh and blood but against satanic spirits ruling in high places (Eph. 6:12). This God gear is invisible to the natural eye, yet it is activated through our knowledge of the Word and our faith and trust in God’s promises.
You may not see the armor with your natural eyes, just as Job did not see a “hedge” around him with his natural eyes (Job 10:10), but the adversary knows if you are fully clothed or partially naked, and he knows if you truly believe or if you are going to “fake it till you make it.”
As a soldier, you would never go to war without proper training, weapons and protective gear. The Bible is our training guide; our life experiences and spiritual walk become our boot camp; and the temptations, trials and attacks we face are all a part of the warfare. As a Christian engaged in spiritual conflicts, you must never leave home without your mind and heart covered and fully clothed with the warfare gear. Paul said, “Put on the whole armor” (Eph. 6:11). The armor of God—never leave home without it!
Prayer Power for the Week of 9/8/2014
This week determine to put on the whole armor of God on a daily basis. Then take your position to stand in faith against all the wiles of the devil. Your prelude to any battle is praise, so begin your prayer time with praise. Exalt God and declare Him worthy of praise and victorious in your life. As this school year begins around the country, lift up our children, youth and young adults.
Pray for godly instructors to teach and direct them in the ways of integrity. Ask God to protect all those doing His work in educational institutions, as well as our local, state and national leaders. Continue to pray for revival to break out in our churches, communities and across the nation. Pray concerning Israel, the conflicts in the Middle East, Africa and the Ukraine (Eph. 6:11-18).