As Christians we must know how to fight spiritual warfare with an enemy who seeks to bring us down. Yet, we should not be fearful as the Lord has abundantly equipped us for the battle ahead and guaranteed victory in the end through Christ. In this article, Josephine D. Rose shares 7 biblical tactics to put on the armor of God and stand firm against spiritual attack.
We step onto the battlefield the moment we come to faith. The Bible calls this spiritual warfare. Unlike wars on the earth, this fight occurs in an invisible world. And although we can’t see it, it is very real. In this spiritual war, we have a personal enemy. Satan is not a metaphor. He is living, roaming, and searching for opportunities to cause you and me to fall.
War is tiring, messy, uncomfortable, and inconvenient. But we have good news as we fight, because on the cross Jesus disarmed Satan (Colossians 2:15), meaning believers don’t fight for victory; rather we fight from a victory that has been already won. In the many battles in the Old Testament, Israel was promised success against their enemy before they ever stepped foot on the battlefield. Yet, they still had to fight. In the same way, in Christ we are assured of our victory, yet we must stand on the battlefield ready and willing to face spiritual warfare.
REMEMBER, ALL AUTHORITIES ARE UNDER CHRIST’S RULE
1 Peter 3:22 assures us that Jesus has gone into Heaven and is now at the right hand of God, where all angels, authorities, and powers have been subjected to Him—including the very same forces we do spiritual warfare with.
When we look deeper into this spiritual place, we see that a lot is happening in the heavens. The war is raging. God, our Father, is there, and Christ, our Savior, is seated next to Him. In a way, we are also there (Ephesians 2:6), and our spiritual blessing is there in Christ, too (Ephesians 1:3).
The spiritual world is not something to come in the future; it is here and now. May we truly see where the war is and remember that all rule, authority, power, dominion, and every name is under Christ. He is raised from the dead and seated in the heavens!
USE GOD’S STRENGTH TO DO WARFARE
Ephesians 6 is one of the most detailed passages in Scripture about this spiritual battle. In it, Paul tells of the strength we must use to put our armor on. It is not a strength we muster on our own; rather it is the very strength of God. We can have no confidence in our earthly skill because this is not a physical fight. This kind of fighting takes supernatural, divinely-enabled muscles. We need only look to Jesus, lean on His power and grace, put on our armor, and stand firm.
The Ephesian church was the original audience that read Paul’s instructions about God’s armor. As they read, they would have noticed that the spiritual armor mirrors what a Roman soldier would have worn when going to battle. But, Paul explained, their fight wouldn’t be against a physical enemy; instead they would be fighting against demonic powers (Ephesians 6:12).
It is the same for believers today. Many of us try our own tactics of fighting, but earthly strategies don’t work in this kind of war. We must lay our human ways down and pick weapons that work supernaturally. We will have to rely on Christ’s strength rather than our own.
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11).
BE PREPARED FOR THE EVIL DAY—AND STAND
Paul thought it necessary for us to know the real reason we should put the armor on—so that we can stand firm on the evil day.
Standing firm connotes a proactive mindset. We don’t put on these truths and then go about our business. Instead, we must be sober-minded and alert because we have an enemy roaring like a lion actively looking to devour God’s people. He is patient and sneaky, waiting until we are vulnerable—the evil day.
Yet his pursuit shouldn’t cause us to fear, because we are children of the King. We can resist the enemy—not by chasing or yelling—but simply by wearing our armor and, in faith, standing firm.
Here are 7 biblical tactics to overcome the enemy and help you stand firm today on the battlefield:
1. STAND WITH THE BELT OF TRUTH
Our enemy is the father of lies. He is skilled at deception. When doing spiritual warfare, we always deal with a level of deceit, yet we must keep ourselves rooted in truth and we must stay in communion with Truth Himself.
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” (John 14:6).
Take any lies you hear and compare them to the truth you see in the Bible; then keep that truth before you. Write the lies and the Scripture that combats them on index cards, and carry them around when warfare gets intense. Do whatever it takes to keep the Word before your eyes. This is how you fasten on the belt of truth.
2. STAND WITH THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
Like a breastplate on our chest, Christ is our righteousness. When He died on the cross and rose again, a transfer occurred. He put on our sin, bearing it on the cross, and He clothed us with His robe of righteousness.
One of the lies the enemy will throw at us is condemnation. He will remind us of our past sins and lead us to question whether we are clean. Many Christians struggle under this weight, but it is one God never puts on His children. Believers must fight this condemnation with the righteousness of Christ. While it’s true that we are sinful, our stains have been removed because the blood of Christ has washed us clean.
When the enemy tempts us to despair, we need only look to the blood of Christ for assurance of our good standing with the Father. Remember what your Savior has done for you. Meditate on verses about the gospel—it’s a truth we need not only to enter the faith, but also to stand firm on the battlefield.
3. STAND WITH FEET SANDALED WITH THE READINESS OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE
Our standing is rooted in the gospel of peace, which helps us to live ready on the battlefield. In warfare, our eyes often turn inward, making it easy to forget we have been called to the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). The enemy would love for us to become self-focused to the point that we are unable to share the gospel. But we must fight to remain steady and ready on the battlefield.
Isn’t it interesting that part of the armor of God is sharing the message of Christ? Sister, it is easy to forget that we are pilgrims on earth, but as citizens of heaven, one of our jobs is to be representatives of Christ. When you find yourself in spiritual warfare, ask yourself if your attention is more on yourself than on the Kingdom of God. Seek to ready yourself to share the gospel of peace.
When you do this, you advance God’s army against His enemies.
4. STAND FIRM WITH THE SHIELD OF FAITH
Our shield—our main defense—is not rooted in ourselves. Instead, it is grounded in the work of Christ. No matter how well we can dodge the enemy’s arrows, we still must rely on something stronger to protect us. Something more promising, more enduring. We need faith in an immovable person!
Faith is more than simply knowing something, or even believing in something. Faith goes a step further by actively trusting the information—or, in our case, the Person of Jesus Christ.
This trust is essential on the battlefield. When the enemy throws his fiery arrows, the shield of faith will protect us from unbelief and fear. All we need to do is lift the shield of faith by trusting that God’s Word is true and that God is good.
God wants our unwavering trust in His character and Word—a faith that leads to obedience.
Using the Shield
I’ve had to use this piece of armor many times. There was a year stretch where I was afraid of sleeping. I would lie in bed with the covers over my head, rehearsing ways I could die. What if the house caught on fire? What if I had an unknown sickness and died in my sleep? I thought that the answer was just to keep myself awake, but I was fighting with human means.
It wasn’t until I used faith that I saw a change. I felt so weak that I didn’t even have words to offer to God. But I had His Word. Every night, I would pray the entire book of Ephesians. I didn’t know it then, but the Spirit was helping me raise the shield of faith. Slowly, my sleep returned.
Has the enemy tried to weaken you with fear and unbelief? He loves to hurl such arrows at believers, but the shield of faith extinguishes them all!
5. STAND WITH THE HELMET OF SALVATION
Have you ever felt that—even though you believed the Bible and had seen God’s faithfulness—you just couldn’t handle what was in front of you? You needed the helmet of salvation. This helmet grounds our hope in the assurance that God wins in the end.
Satan ruthlessly attempts to lead us to despair, whispering that there is no hope and that we should give up. He gets in our head, and if our head is not protected with the knowledge of God’s victory, we will be tempted to believe his lies.
This helmet reminds us that even though we are waiting for Christ’s return, his finished work saves us and guarantees that all will be redeemed in the end. This victory means that no matter what is thrown at you, you can look forward to triumphing in Jesus. The blood of the Lamb secures it. He is coming back. In the meantime, put on the helmet of salvation and remember He wins!
6. STAND WITH THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT—THE WORD OF GOD
What is war without weapons? As we’ve learned, Satan’s primary weapon is deception. It is no surprise then that the only weapon Christ has given us is His Word. Scripture says of Itself that even though the heavens and earth will pass away, God’s Word will remain (Matthew 24:35). Our weapon is everlasting, trustworthy, and never fails!
The book of Hebrews says the Bible is sharper than any two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12), which describes a short sword that would have been used by soldiers in close battles. In spiritual warfare, it seems like the enemy is right next to us. He’s meddling with our emotions and our thought life, trying to knock us down with his attacks. But we have the Word, and Christ has taught us how to use it!
We see His example when He was tempted by the devil in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). After a 40 day fast—when Jesus was tired, hungry, and thirsty—Satan showed up. His goal was to get Jesus to distrust God, give in to his desire for food, and turn from God to worship Satan.
However, Jesus’ weapon was, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God'” (Matthew 4:4). Jesus didn’t fight or argue. Instead He applied Scripture to Satan’s temptations.
We too must hide God’s Word in our hearts to be prepared for Satan’s attacks. We can do this by reading our Bible daily, memorizing Scripture, and writing verses on note cards and speaking them aloud when the time comes. Take the sword of the Spirit. Fight back with the weapon you have been given. His Word is living, active, sharp, and effective. Be quick to pick it up and use it.
7. STAND AND PRAY AT ALL TIMES
When faced with spiritual warfare, we are to maintain continual fellowship with our Father. Pray all kinds of prayers as the Spirit leads you. At times, you may pray bold prayers; at other times your prayers will be tear-filled and weary-hearted. Bring your whole heart to God. Prayer is vital to warfare because as we talk to God, we remain dependent on Him, which is the only way to overcome.
A commentator said, “A prayerless Christian can have good armor and fall because we have no strength in ourselves to stand.” But sister, Satan trembles when he sees weak Christians fighting in prayer. Pray about everything. Pray with other believers and by yourself, silently and shouting, walking and kneeling, with poetic words and groanings. Stay in fellowship with your Lord—He is your Victor.
YOU ARE ABUNDANTLY EQUIPPED FOR SPIRITUAL WARFARE
The Lord has abundantly equipped you for the fight. He has guaranteed victory in the end. We are fighting a war that Jesus Christ has won. We are only called to follow Him. He has triumphantly led the way, and He promises never to abandon us in this Christian walk.
Satan is the father of deception, and he has lost. Jesus wins, and if you are in Christ, you win too. So, put on the whole armor of God and stand firm as you fight. There is every reason for hope of victory.
What are your experiences of fighting spiritual warfare in your own faith journey? How has the armor of God protected you in the battle and enabled you to stand firm?
Photography by Kristy Berends | @kristyberends
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