Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Ephesians 6:11-13 (ESV)
After exhorting the Ephesians to be strong in the Lord, the apostle Paul doesn’t leave them defenseless. He tells them that God has armor that will help them stand against their enemy. And unlike David who could not wear Saul’s armor (1 Samuel 17:38-40), God’s armor was designed specifically to fit the Ephesian believers. This armor was designed for us as well and we will need all of it to be victorious in our battle with the enemy.
Notice that Paul told these believers, not once but twice, to put on the “whole” armor of God (vs. 11, 13). By the whole armor Paul meant both the offensive and defensive array. A good soldier would never think of going into a fight only partly armed and protected. Neither should a Christian soldier enter into battle against the devil only partly clothed in battle gear. The enemy uses trickery (schemes) in spiritual warfare, so to be only partially armed would be suicide.
Satan is the father of lies and has been from the beginning (John 8:44); the deceiver of the whole world (Revelation 12:9 ESV). He will even try to use something that looks good and right to cause us spiritual harm. He did just that by quoting God’s word when he tempted Jesus in the wilderness (Luke 4:9-11). Paul wrote, And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. (2 Corinthians 11:14 ESV)
Our enemy is crafty. It might be easier to defeat him if we could fight in the open field, but the devil is cunning and his attacks against us most often come covertly. We must guard against being outwitted by his designs (2 Corinthians 2:11). Peter warns us to be sober-minded and watchful (1 Peter 5:8 ESV). Satan is very organized. Paul alludes to this when he speaks of rulers, authorities, cosmic powers and spiritual forces. We must not give him any opportunity to get the upper hand or out flank us (Ephesians 4:27) in the evil day or the day of his assault (temptation).
As Christians we can expect times in our lives when men oppose us; times of persecution. We can also expect times of temptation. However, our fight is not against flesh and blood; neither with man nor our carnal natures. Our main fight is against the invisible works of darkness; spiritual wickedness in heavenly places. That is why God has given us spiritual weapons to use for the battle. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. (2 Corinthians 10:4 ESV)
In addition to the armor that God gives us we have a champion, Jesus Christ, who sits at the right hand of God with angels, authorities and powers subject to him (1 Peter 3:22).
Will you put on the armor of God and having done all, stand firm?
Scriptures for meditation:
2 Corinthians 6:7