“Put on the full armour of God” (Ephesians 6:11a)
In the Old Testament we see many battles being fought between Israel and their enemies. When we see the Israelites engaged in physical battles it is a type of the spiritual battles we fight as believers in the army of the LORD. The Lord Jesus Christ is our commander in Chief as Joshua was the Commander in Chief for the Israelites. The Israelites eventually went into the Promised Land but there were still strongholds to be demolished and intense warfare ahead for them especially the giants in the land. When we see these physical battles being fought in the arena of this world there were spiritual battles going on in the heavenly and unseen spiritual realms at the same time. The Israelites were not only up against physical forces but spiritual forces of wickedness and darkness in high places. The Canaanites were demon worshippers. In the book of Deuteronomy and in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians he clearly annunciates that worshipping idols is in reality worshipping demons. (Deuteronomy 32:16-17) (1 Corinthians 10:20) The Israelites were up against demonic powers as well as human enemies and so are we if we have been enlisted into the LORD’s army!
Pulling down the strongholds!
Now Paul tells us that as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ that we are to pull down Satan’s strongholds. He writes; “For though we walk in the flesh, (living in human bodies) we do not war according to the flesh, (human strength) for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5) For the believer in Jesus the mind is the battle ground. Having said this, the LORD has provided us as believers with spiritual armour and weapons to fight this battle against these spiritual powers of wicked spirits and principalities in high places. So often the adverse situations and circumstances we face in the natural realm every day are in reality situations and circumstances arranged by Satan. God does and will use them and allow them for His purposes but He is always in control.
In the strength of the LORD!
Now there are times when Satan will often dispatch a cohort of his demons to turn us aside from the path of righteousness and obedience. He will use people and circumstances to do this. If Satan can get us into fear and unbelief then inevitably at some stage we will sin and fall short of all that God has provided for us to maintain victory. Tragically a whole generation of Israelites who originally came out of Egypt perished in the desert because of unbelief and never inherited what God had promised to give them. Only a faithful remnant went in. There were only two of the original Israelites that went in to possess their inheritance and that was Joshua and Caleb and they were not young men either! In the strength of the LORD their God they took out the Giants in the Land and demolished strongholds!
We are not without weapons!
God has provided us with spiritual armour and weapons to fight His battle and if appropriated by us through faith will protect us from the wiles of the evil one. Satan has been around for a long time and knows how best to get to us if he can. However, we can beat him at his own game and if we draw near to God and resist Satan long enough he will flee from us. (James 4:7) Sometimes he will attack us through those dearest and closest to us or through our colleagues with whom we work every day. He is a dirty, no holds barred player, and goes by his own rule book, however, we can beat him! All of the armour God has provided is defensive except for the sword of the Spirit. When Satan sees a believer clothed in God’s armour coming at him swinging that sword of the Spirit he has an involuntary knee jerk reaction and knows he is in big trouble! So then what is this armour God has provided that will enable us to demolish strongholds and to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ? Let’s now look at the book of Ephesians chapter six verses 10-18.
The Full Armour of God
(Ephesians 6: 10-18) “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Saints.”
1. The Source of all Spiritual Power
(Vs 10) “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.”
The Bible says; “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” (Zechariah 4:6) And again we read; “When the enemy comes in; like a flood, The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.” (Isaiah 59:19b) The LORD has not left us as believers in the Lord Jesus without weapons and armour to fight His battle. Sadly there are many of the LORD’s soldiers enlisted into His ranks but are not furnished with the weaponry and armour of the LORD that He has provided for them to use. The spiritual armour and weapons are dormant in them because of the indwelling Spirit of God but they have not availed themselves of what He has provided for them. They have never really been activated in that believer’s life. When a believer is genuinely filled with the mighty power of the Holy Spirit the armour and weapons are no longer lying dormant but are suddenly activated in that believer’s life and they begin to understand and act upon the fact that they are in a spiritual battle with the spiritual forces of wickedness in high places. At that point Satan knows he is in trouble!
2. Standing against the wiles of the Devil
(Vs 11-12) “Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Now the devil is a master schemer and has been around a long time and knows all the dirty tricks in the book to destabilize our faith and confidence in the LORD and in the Bible. A believer who is not filled with the Spirit will be aware that Satan is around but will not fully understand or comprehend what they are up against in the spiritual realm. In most cases they do not understand how the spiritual gifts operate because they have never been taught or they have a theology that say that the gifts of the Spirit died out with the Apostles and they are not for today. Many of their pastors and teachers are reinforcing this view.
The Gifts of the Spirit have always been around
The Gifts of the Spirit have never died away but have always been around. The reason the reformers came up with this idea that they had ceased in the Church was because of the extremes of the Roman Catholic Church with their so called magic and supposedly emphasis on the innate spiritual power of relics, icons and even about their emphasis on the bread and the wine itself being transubstantiated. Bogus miracles and so called ‘cures’ of one sort or another were common place during Medieval Europe. The crusades were imbued with this kind of spiritual ’Hocus Pocus’ and nonsense. The reformers in their zeal to maintain the authority of scripture went the other way and came up with this idea that the Spiritual Gifts were no longer needed. They saw the extremes of Roman Catholicism and went to the other extreme. Of course most of the well-known reformers were once the intelligencer within the Hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church before they came out of that spiritually corrupted institution. Over time reformed theology reduced the Holy Spirit to basically a doctrinal formula and put Him in a place where He could be controlled, if that were possible! In a very real sense in their lives and theology the magnificent Holy Spirit had become a prisoner without power.
We are to walk in the Spirit
The apostle Paul wrote; “Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfil the desires of the flesh.” Those believers who have never been filled with the Holy Spirit or encountered His deeper work and power in their lives will often see and experience adverse circumstances through their natural senses and miss what is really happening. Having said this it is their right and privilege to know what they have available to them to fight the LORD’s battles. Without the power of the Holy Spirit resting moment by moment upon their lives they make themselves vulnerable to spiritual attack and defeat. They have not yet fully realised that they are not fighting against human power but demonic forces in high places bent on their destruction as believers yet it is their privilege to know what they have and who they are in the Lord Christ Jesus! Knowing this and acting by faith will inevitably pull down spiritual strongholds in their own lives and circumstances and in the lives and circumstances of others.
3. Resisting the Devil
(Vs 13) “Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”
The Apostle James spoke about resisting the Devil when he wrote; “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:7-9) Firstly he tells us to submit to God, making Him the CEO as it were over all and every aspect and circumstance of our life. After this he tells us to resist the Devil. Of course when we are in submission to the LORD and our five physical sense gates under His control He will empower us to resist. The problem for most of, if not all of us at times as believers, is that we start to resist the Devil but give up when the pressure is continuous and unabated. We fail to hold our ground. When this happens we become “double-minded.”
Consider it joy?
James also writes; “Consider it all joy, (pure joy) my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4) Not only will we grow into spiritual maturity but also have God’s wisdom made available to us in every situation and in all the circumstances of life whether good or not so good. James also writes; “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:5-8)
Facing the ‘evil’ day
Every one of us as believers will face an evil day when it will seem that the powers of hell will be arrayed against us either through physical persecution or spiritual oppression or through the everyday circumstances of our life. For some it will be the temptation to chase money, success and prominence in the business world. For others it will be the temptation to yield to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and to embrace the pride of life. For others it will be an attack on their marriage or on the relationship with their children or even to pursue an adulterous relationship. In these days more than ever with the influence of the Media there is continuous bombardment on our senses to yield to the temptations of the flesh in whatever form they come. Satan’s attacks today are often centred on Christian marriage. The media with its emphasis on adultery, promiscuity, sexuality, sensuality, sodomy and promoting the outward appearance and alternate lifestyles can be potentially the pressures that can produce chinks in the armour of the believer that Satan aims for. In all such circumstances we are to stand our ground and resist him with our eyes fixed on the Lord Jesus alone who is the author and perfector of our faith. When we do this we have no chinks that the fiery darts of the enemy can penetrate. The Lord Jesus is the Author and Finisher (perfector) of our faith and what He starts He intends to finish! As Paul also said; “He who has begun a good works in you will bring it to completion at the Day of Jesus Christ.”
Having done everything to stand
When the evil day comes have we done everything to stand? Or do we give up under pressure? If we determine to resist him and draw near to God at such times Satan will flee in abject terror! He is a worm and not a man at all! He fears the believer who knows who he is in Christ and what he has in Christ! Thanks be to the LORD for the blessed intercessory ministry of the Holy Spirit, Sometimes praying in the Spirit is the only way to relieve the constant pressure from the evil one. We need to cultivate praying in the Spirit in all and in every circumstance of life. God Himself has ordained praise to drive the devil out of our affairs. The Bible says; “Whoever offers praise glorifies Me; And to him who orders his conduct aright I will show the salvation of God.” (Psalm 50:23)
4. The weapons of our warfare
(Vs 14-18) “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Saints.”
a. The Belt of Truth:
The belt that went around the waist of the Roman Soldier kept the rest of his body armour in place. If the belt was not on he had no way of supporting the breastplate leaving his heart to be exposed to the fiery arrows of the enemy. Likewise, in the believer’s life the belt of truth is essential as all of the other weapons of spiritual power are supported by the truth. Of course the Lord Jesus Himself is truth but God also says that the sum of His Word is truth. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth and not error. If we do not have the truth of God’s Word in our hearts and acting on it in our lives then we cannot withstand Satan’s attacks.
Test all things
Every manifestation, every supernatural revelation, every prophecy and doctrine and every miraculous occurrence must all be examined in the light of God’s Word. We are to be like the Bereans who we are told; “examined the scriptures everyday to see whether what Paul said was true.” They undoubtedly saw the miraculous power of God operate through the Apostle but still examined the word he preached. Like many are doing today there were those in Paul’s time who were manifesting spiritual power by the power of the occult and influencing many. The Apostles had to deal with these false prophets and so called ‘miracle workers.’ They are more numerous today than at any other time in history. The Internet and television abound with these charlatans and conjurors of the occult, especially the wealth and health and faith prosperity money preachers! Just watch TBN and you will see many of them parading their goods and chattels in the name of Jesus! These are the modern money changers in the Temple of God profiteering on the Blood of the Lamb!
Spurgeon said two things about God’s Word. He said; “The Word of God is the anvil upon which the hammers of men’s opinions were smashed!” He also said; “How do you recognize a bent stick? By holding it next to a perfectly straight stick.” Some doctrinal sticks look straight to the natural eye but on closer examination from the perfectly straight stick of God’s Word the bend in the so called straight stick can be seen. We are to hold forth the Word of life because “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God!” If we are not living by the truth and practicing truthfulness in our daily lives then we cannot use the other weapons effectively and we will soon be overcome by the enemy of our souls.
b. The Breastplate of Righteousness:
The Bible tells us that all of us are by nature and by birth are unrighteous in our character and that even from our conception in the womb we are tainted and warped by our sinful nature. (Psalm 51:5) We need to have righteousness if we are to dwell in His presence forever. The Lord Jesus Christ was the perfectly righteous one who by His sinless and perfect life provided for us a righteousness ( a righteous life) that we can never earn, deserve or merit because we are carnal and sinful and by nature and birth children of wrath. We have violated God’s law summed up in the 10 Commandments and have failed to love God with all of our heart, with all of our mind, and with all of our soul and with all of our strength and to love our neighbour as we would love ourselves. This is why we need to have imparted to us a righteous life that God can accept.
He is everything we will ever need
Our righteousness at best is like a filthy women’s menstrual rag in God’s sight. It smells really bad and is only fit to be burned. The only one who can give us this righteous life that pleases God and makes us acceptable to Him is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is all that we will ever need in this life and for the life to come for true peace, happiness and heaven. As it is written of Him (Jesus); “He (God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin ( A sacrifice for sin) on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
This righteousness is given to us as a breastplate to cover our hearts. When we stand on God’s Word and lean upon it and trust in it we cover the seat of our affections and desires and are kept safe from falling away. This righteousness comes through faith in Jesus Christ. (Romans 3:21-26) God’s standard of righteousness is imputed to us when we receive the Lord Jesus by faith alone into our heart and life. We become a new creation in Christ the old way of living has gone and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Paul understood this righteousness from God as a gift when he wrote; “That I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.” (Philippians 3:9) Satan is called the accuser of the brethren and he accuses them day and night before God. He will accuse us and drag up our past offences and sins against God. At such times we are to speak out the word of God that tells us who we are in Christ and stand by faith on His unchanging promises. Like Him His word does not change. What He has said in His Word in the past He will say in the future, He cannot go back on His Word. He has shed the blood of His Son over His promises and can never cancel them out or dishonour them. He is a Covenant keeping God! At times we will face strong opposition and at such times we need to find those promises from God’s Word that cover the situation or circumstance we are facing and apply them to that situation. We need to speak them out aloud. Sometimes we will have to rebuke the devil and tell him in Jesus name to get out of our affairs. God Himself has put all authority in the name of Jesus and everything and everyone whether above the earth, or on the earth and even under the earth must bow to that name and this includes those wicked and evil principalities in high places.
c. The shoes of the Gospel of Peace:
In the Bible we read these words; “How lovely on the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who announces peace And brings good news of happiness, Who announces salvation, And says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”(Isaiah 52:7) The Apostle Paul takes up this theme and applies it to preaching the Gospel (Good News) of Salvation alone in the Lord Jesus Christ. He writes; “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? “And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!” (Romans 10:14-15)
We can all be witnesses
Now we are not all evangelists but we can and should be able to witness one on one. Even if you find it hard to speak to someone you can always hand them a gospel tract. In the Bible we are told; “Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defence to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”(1 Peter 3:15) One thing to keep in mind that we are never alone in witnessing because the blessed Holy Spirit is in us and with us to empower us to witness. Only that which is said and done in the power of the Holy Spirit will be effective. Just being a natural talker can get a believer into trouble if their words are not sanctified by the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgement to come, not ours! We are so dependent upon Him to work in and through us in all things.
One thing that really gets the devil upset is when we witness for the Lord Jesus to sinners. If we are actively involved in the proclamation of the Gospel of the Kingdom then it will be hard for the devil to get to us. He will oppose us and sometimes strongly but if we are relying moment by moment upon the Holy Spirit then the devil will have to flee! By preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom evil is restrained. Also keep in mind that the one who works in the office stuffing envelopes with Gospel tracts to be posted is just as important to the work of evangelism as the one who is on the front line! When the Lord Jesus comes back He will be looking for faithfulness. The Lord Jesus Himself said; “However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith (faithfulness) on the earth?” “(Luke 18:8)
God Himself says that “the feet” (evangelists) in the body of the Messiah are beautiful in His sight! Why? Because they honour and uplift the Lord Jesus Christ His only begotten Son with whom He is well-pleased. Paul commanded Timothy; “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction…. …But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:1-2, 5) A Pastor may not be an evangelist as this in itself is a different calling and gifting but he must be able to do the work of an evangelist. When the Lord Jesus called Peter to follow Him Peter was fishing. He would primarily be a fisher of men. When the Lord Jesus called John to follow Him he was mending nets. Primarily Peter was an evangelist and John a pastor (a mender of broken lives) However, being Apostles their gifting and ministry often overlapped. In the book of Acts Peter was the primary speaker rather than John. It was Peter who preached the Gospel of the Kingdom on the Day of Pentecost.
d. The Shield of Faith:
When the Roman soldier went into battle he had a shield that covered him from head to foot that had very thick leather covering the front of that shield. The enemy would shoot flaming arrows at the soldiers and the arrows would be extinguished on their shields. A Roman soldier on his own was a fair combatant but when he locked shields with the shields of his fellow soldiers they became virtually a solid wall that the fiery arrows could not penetrate. When the Roman soldiers advanced on the enemy as one man the enemy could not overcome them. This is why we need to stand with our brothers and sisters as one against the devil. As it has been sung; “United we stand but divided we fall!”
Those fiery darts of the devil
Faith is the shield that protects us from the fiery darts (arrows) of the evil one. All of his darts are aimed at the shield wall of faith. He knows full well that if we lower that shied then the fiery arrows will stick into the breastplate of righteousness and then they will be difficult to dislodge and extinguish. As believers we need our brothers and sisters. We need to join ranks with those who love the Lord Jesus and His Word the Bible. Again always keep in mind that “a house divided against itself cannot stand.”
All are One in the Messiah
We may have different views from other believers on some minor points in scripture but on the essentials we must agree to stand together whether we believe in the gifts of the Spirit or not or have differing views on certain aspects of Eschatology . Every brother and sister in Messiah who has been genuinely born again and has been washed and justified by the blood of the Messiah are one in Him and need to realise this and stand together against a common enemy. If we hold high the shield of faith individually then Satan will not be able to get to us. If we become a shield wall standing alongside our brothers and sisters then Satan cannot breach that shield wall! As it is written; “a three-fold cord (rope) is not easily broken!”
“Have faith in God”
Indeed the Lord Jesus said; “Have faith in God. Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.” (Mark 11:22-26)
One of the fiery arrows that will hinder our faith is harbouring an unforgiving spirit. Unless we allow the Holy Spirit to deal with this kind of thing in our lives we will be spiritually incapacitated until we repent of it. When we do pray we must do so in the power of the Holy Spirit. He will pray with us and for us and in place of us if we allow Him to do it through us. Every day, moment by moment, we need to yield our tongues to the control of the Holy Spirit. Whenever our prayers are in line with the will of God they will be answered in God’s way and in His time, but they will definitely be answered! (1 John 5:14-15) If we pray the promises of God in the Bible we will definitely have our prayers answered! So then hold high the shield of faith. How do we get this faith? Paul tells us how; “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17) If we knew the Word better we would know better how to stand!
e. The Helmet of Salvation:
When Paul wrote to the Thessalonian believers he said; “But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.” (1 Thessalonians 5:8) Now the Roman helmet guarded the soldiers head from the blow of the enemy’s sword. Our minds need to be renewed as the mind and the emotions are connected and they are the battle field for the Christian believer. Some of us are “walking battlefields” at times when the enemy is assaulting our minds and troubling our emotions. He often drags up the past sins and shortcomings and really lays it on thick. No wonder he is called “the accuser of the brethren who accuses them before their God day and night” as he did regarding Job. This is why we must have our minds renewed by the Holy Spirit using the Word of God, the Bible.
Wielding the Word
If we know what the Bible says then we can use scripture against him when he presses home his attacks which at times will be intensely fierce! One of the most important things to give a new believer is those verses that give them the assurance of Salvation. After Paul had led the Philippian jailor to faith in the Lord Jesus he spoke the Word of God to him and to all in his household. Our faith is grounded upon the written Word of God. In his first epistle the Apostle John said; “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 1:13) Those whose lives are built on the solid foundation of God’s Word will stand when the stormy winds of adversity are unleashed upon them. (Matthew 7:24-27)
f. The Sword of the Spirit:
The roman soldier had a short sword and with this he could defend himself at close quarters. When the shield wall was advancing as one man the swords of the roman soldiers would dart in and out between the shields impaling the enemy on them. The Roman shield wall was virtually impenetrable. Again their strength lay in their united shield wall. They were able to stand side by side and strike out hard against the enemy. The Word of God is the weapon that God has given us as believers with which to attack Satan and his cohorts from hell. When Satan and his minions see a believer coming down the road at him fully armoured and with the sword of the Spirit swinging he will retreat and eventually flee if hard pressed. Sometimes when the spiritual conflict is fierce and unrelenting the only recourse we have as believers is to use that sword of the Spirit and drive it home with a powerful twist to make sure we stick it into him deeply! Remember when the Lord Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness three times he said to Satan; “It is written…” He used the Word of God to drive away the devil. We also need to do this when Satan attacks us, especially in our family relationships and also in our relationships with our brothers and sisters in the Messiah or in the hour of fierce and unrelenting temptation to yield to sin.
The ‘seed’ of the Word
Also when we are witnessing to the unsaved we must give them the Word of God. This is the only divine seed that can be sown in the soil of the heart by the Holy Spirit. Faith then comes from hearing and hearing by the Word of God. This “hearing” is by the “Rhema” of the Word. The Word of God is the Logos (the very Word of God) but must become the Rhema (a personal revelation to the mind and the heart) if the New Birth is to occur. As it is also written; “The seed is the Word of God!” Pray the Word of God and the devil cannot keep up the pressure! He will flee!
g. Praying always in the Spirit:
The Bible says; “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) What does this mean and how do we do this. Well one of the ministries of the blessed Holy Spirit is that He enables and empowers us to pray. Prayer must undergird the use of the spiritual armour and weapons. The Bible says concerning this aspect of the Holy Spirit’s ministry; “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind (thought, feelings, purposes) of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:26-28)
A wonderful friend
We have a wonderful, divine, loving and powerful friend and companion living within us in the person of the Holy Spirit. He is God the Spirit, the third person in the Tri-Unity within the Godhead. It is His pleasure and purpose to work in us the Good, acceptable and perfect will of God. Several things we need to see in this passage of God’s Word concerning His ministry to us. The Greek text is really enlightening.
The Holy Spirit strengthens us
He “helps” us we are told. He “takes hold together with us” when we are wrestling in prayer or to even pray. He is called “the Paraclete” in John’s Gospel meaning “one called alongside to strengthen another.” He is the one who stands alongside of us when we are praying to the Lord. He takes hold of the situation along with us so that together we can wrestle through the night until the break of day when the victory comes! When we are at our weakest He is at His strongest! His strength is made perfect in our weakness. In other words when we acknowledge our weakness in spiritual matters He goes to work on our behalf. How does He do this?
The Holy Spirit prays for us, with us and in place of us
The word “helps” also has a three-fold meaning in the Greek text. He prays “for us” when we cannot pray for ourselves. He prays “with us” when we are wrestling in prayer or to even pray. He prays “in place of us” when words fail and groans and sighs are all that we can manage.
The Holy Spirit prays through us
One of the blessings we receive from the Holy Spirit is when He empowers us to pray in tongues or in a language from the Spirit we do not necessarily understand. Scripture allows for this when praying privately before the LORD. When words fail the Holy Spirit finds a way out for us to express our deepest thoughts, desires and longings when we pray in tongues especially those desires to love and serve the Lord more fully or when we are praying for others or for seemingly impossible situations. Whenever we do pray ”in the Spirit” we must make sure our wills and our minds are totally submitted to the Lord, that there is no unconfessed or un-renounced sin and especially we must submit our tongues to Him. Allowing the Spirit to pray with us, for us, through us and to intercede for us is a wonderful liberating experience when praying. When words fail and emotions are lacking and physical strength and resistance is at very low ebb praying in the Holy Spirit will lift us up before the Lord and revive our lagging spirits. Even a baby in Christ can whip the devil! The Bible says that God Himself has ordained this; “Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength (praise), Because of Your enemies, That You may silence the enemy and the avenger.” (Psalm 8:2) The devil hates it when we praise God even when the going is tough!
The Holy Spirit always prays according to the will of God
The blessed Holy Spirit knows the mind and heart of God because He is God the Spirit and knows what God the Father and God the Son are thinking at all times. He knows the perfect will of God, being God the Spirit and prays for us according to the perfect will of God. When we do not know what to pray for, or how to pray, and there will be many times when this will be our experience, He is praying on our behalf. At such times we have the according to what He knows to be the perfect will of God.
The only way for us to survive spiritually in these days is to put on the full armour of God every day and to pray without ceasing in the power of the Holy Spirit. We may know about the armour of God and how it applies to out walk with the Lord but it is when we put it on personally that we are then empowered to take our stand against “the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms!” At the start of everyday we need to put on the armour of God. We need to make it personal. We can make it a prayer and one that needs to be spoken out loud.
How to put on the full Armour of God everyday
“I will be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. I put on the full armour of God, so that I can take my stand against the devil’s schemes. For my struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore I put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, I may be able to stand my ground, and after I have done everything, to stand. I stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around my waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with my feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, I take up the shield of faith, with which I can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. I take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And I pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, I will be alert and always keep on praying for all the Saints. In Jesus name I pray. Amen!”