The third in our series on how to live as a believer once we are saved is:
Put on the full armor of God; Submit to God and resist the devil.
What does it mean to ‘put on the armor of God?’ and how do we do that? Spiritual battles are a part of a believer’s life. Not only do we have the battles within, the struggles between wanting to do what is right and desiring to do the things of this world contrary to the will of God, we also have an enemy who desires that we fail and not get close to God, and he wants to keep others from coming to God. He will use those desires and your weaknesses to come after you. But, we can resist him and we have the weapons to do it.
1 Peter 5:8-11
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
The enemy has many tricks up his sleeve and his goal is to keep you from growing and sharing the good new to others. He wants to knock you down and kick you while you are down. God wants to lift you up and strengthen you, especially in your trials.
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness 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.
Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints — and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel
Our battle is not with the people around us, but with the spiritual forces of darkness. We have the means to defend ourselves from that. First we must remember who we are in Christ. We are redeemed, we are forgive if we believe in Jesus Christ and trust in Him.
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
So what is this armor? Paul explains this in Ephesians using analogy of a Roman soldier.
- belt of truth: God’s word is truth. Follow Him. Know the truth.
Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Remember His faithfulness and truthfulness. Imitate Him. Always live with integrity (honesty and truthfulness).
- breastplate of righteousness: this guards your heart, things vital to life. Align your will with God’s will. Always put God first and seek the things that glorify Him.
- Standing with the preparation of peace. It’s like having boots that would give you solid footing. Be sure your foundation is Jesus Christ. As He said in the Sermon on the Mount, the kingdom of heaven is like a man who builds his house on solid rock and not sand, so that when tough times come (spiritual battles), a person is able to stand. Hold on to the promises of the gospel and your faith (see 1 Peter 3:13 and Hebrews 11:1).
- Take up the shield of faith. Your strength and protection comes from your faith. You are saved by grace through faith and no one can take that away. The devil has already lost. You are a child of God and part of His inheritance.
- Sword of the Spirit. This is the word of God. Read your Bible daily and live by it. The Bible tells you who God is, how to live and encourages you by the promises of God.
- Above all, pray. Pray as you read the Word that the Spirit in you would give you understanding. Pray for strength and that God gives you greater faith. Pray that He will give you wisdom and help you to deal with anything the devil or this world tries to throw at you and overcome any temptation that comes your way. Pray for those who share the gospel with others that God would speak through them and to the hearts of those around us. Pray that God would give you and all of us boldness to share our testimony and the gospel.
I leave you with a couple promises and words of encouragement as you may go through spiritual battles or whatever you may have to deal with in life as a believer.
1 John 4:4-5
You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
1 John 4:15-16
Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.