EPHESIANS 6:10-13: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you are able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the worldly forces of this darkness, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist when the times are evil, and after you have done everything, to stand firm.” TLV
OBSERVATION: Am I defining my battles carefully? Do I understand who and what the real enemy in life is? These are important questions to consider each day. If we do not answer them correctly, if we do not view them from a Biblical perspective, we will find ourselves fighting battles that we are not meant to fight, and bearing the consequences of our lack of discretion.
Paul begins his treatise on the armor of God with this statement,
- “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you are able to stand against the schemes of the devil.”
In this statement Paul calls us to provision, position, and perspective.
- Provision – our strength is only in the Lord and in His power.
- Position – we must stand in readiness at all times fully clothed with the armor of God.
- Perspective – we must identify our enemy and stand against his schemes.
We usually focus on the first two, provision and position. Where I find I get tripped up the most is perspective. I can err on either side of ignoring the enemy or in giving him too much attention and credit. Either pendulum swing is wrong. I need to identify the enemy and learn to focus on the Lord. This is the proper perspective in the battle of life.
What happens when I ignore the enemy? I fail to identify and understand his schemes (crafty and deceitful plans). If I walk in ignorance of his devices I can find myself easily tripped up in life and falling prey to the cyclical patterns of failure, guilt, and shame. The enemy knows our weak spots. He is always trying to set up situations where we can succumb once again to these weaknesses and attitudes. Yet, the Lord always is faithful, and will always provide a way of escape.
- “No temptation has taken hold of you except what is common to mankind. But God is faithful—He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can handle. But with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape, so you will be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 TLV
What happens when I focus on the enemy? I can begin to think that everything that happens in life is the result of demonic activity. The pitfall of this perspective is that I fail to take personal responsibility for my own actions. Another trap is that I begin to think that all the problems I have in life are someone else’s fault. I begin to blame my battles and problems on other people and situations. I focus on the external and ignore the internal matters of my own heart. This is why Paul writes,
- “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the worldly forces of this darkness, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
All of life’s battles ultimately are spiritual in nature. All of the evil in life is the result of sin and the influence of the enemy. There is nothing outside of my life that can change my life. The battle is fought and won in my heart. It is a spiritual battle. The only way I can win the battle against sin, death, and the devil, is through the power of God!
- “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist when the times are evil, and after you have done everything, to stand firm.”
When I recognize that my provision is only in the Lord, I stop looking for the solution to my problems and needs outside of His grace and power. I run to the cross and proclaim my sufficiency is in Christ alone.
When I recognize that my only victory is when I am positioned in Christ, I begin each day by putting on the whole armor of God. I put on HIs truth, His righteousness, His assurance of salvation, His good news of the Gospel of peace, the shield of His faith, the sword of the His Spirit which is the word of God, and prayer which is both in and guided by the Holy Spirit.
When I have the right perspective of the battles I face I resist the temptation of simply blaming the enemy, others, or my situation. I wise up to the schemes of the enemy. I see the battle lines clearly. The battle lines are my own heart and how I respond to the challenges of life. In every battle I am assured,
- “You are from God, children, and you have overcome them, because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4 TLV
Lord, help me to begin today by recognizing that my provision for all of life’s challenges and needs is in Christ alone. Help me to position my heart by putting on the whole armor of God. And help me to enter the day with the proper perspective, identifying the true enemy and battle, and taking full responsibility for my actions.
Jesus, be my victory!
In Jesus Name!