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Posts Tagged ‘Spiritual battles’

[S]o that you may be able to [successfully] stand up against all the schemes and the strategies and the deceits of the devil. Ephesians 6:11b

We’re told in Ephesians 6:11a to “put on the full armor of God,” and now in Ephesians 6:11b, we’re given the reason–that we might be ale to stand successfully. To understand Paul’s meaning we must consider that in this passage, Paul is speaking of the armor that a Roman soldier would wear into battle. When he tells us to stand, his meaning is that we might be still standing at the end of the battle.

What is it that would oppose us? What would cause us not to stand? Paul tells us that there are schemes, strategies and deceits of the devil all of which will threaten and undermine our ability to stay standing.

A scheme is a secret, dishonest plan or underhanded plot. The schemes of the devil involve discrediting God through discrediting the work on the cross, the transforming power of the blood and the sanctifying power of the indwelling Spirit. The devil has a scheme. We don’t know exactly what he will do next, but it will be underhanded. He will not fight fair.

A strategy is a master plan; a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim. A strategy is the art of war, military tactics, a plan for a military operation and movement during a war or battle. Why would we be at risk when the battle has already been won? In the spiritual battle we are not taking ground, but rather we are holding ground–standing not advancing. The strategy of the devil is to steal, kill and destroy by taking with him as many as he can–keeping them from the abundant life here and eternal life with God.

A deceit is a trick; the action or practice of deceiving someone by concealing or misrepresenting the truth. A deceit is the act of causing someone to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid; an attempt or device to deceive. The devil will try to substitute the false for the truth. He will shave the truth, bend the truth, distort the truth, but he will never tell the truth. Therefore, that is how this battle must be fought–with the truth–the Word of God. Against that, the devil will never prevail.

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In our last post, we began our discussion of how to deal with persistent negative thoughts.  If we are obedient to the command of God, we know that we need to forgive those who wrong us.  However, even when we have forgiven someone, we may experience occasional or even reoccurring thoughts reminding of what they did to us, how it hurt, how unfair it was or the like.
The mind is a battlefield, but we have weapons which are mighty in God according to 2 Corinthians, which we discussed in the last post.
In this post, I want to take a closer look at some of the weapons to see how they can help us in the battle with recurring or persistent negative thoughts (sometimes known as Stinkin’ Thinkin’)
  • The Whole Armor of God – 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.  No one weapon will protect a solider in battle from injury.  That is why Paul exhorts us to put on the whole armor of God.  Leaving one piece of the armor off can expose the soldier to great injury and render him or her ineffective in battle.   Leave no weapon behind.
  • The Belt of Truth –Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth  Let truth be like a belt to keep your movement uninhibited and allow you to move quickly and easily in battle.  The belt can seem like a frivolous accessory until you get caught with your pants down.  Living in the truth and having truth as our belt keeps us from being susceptible to the devil who hates truth and is called “the father of lies.”  It may be hard to always tell the truth.  Even some of the Fathers of the Faith, like Abraham were caught in lies, but they always paid a price for the lies.  Whenever we fail to put on the belt of truth, we make it harder for us to be successful in battle for the important things.

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Ever have someone wrong you, and you forgave them but negative thoughts persist?    I have found myself with such thoughts more than once.  So what’s a body to do?

Choosing the right weapons

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.  For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ  2 Corinthians 10:3-5

The battle will wage regardless of the weapons we choose to take up to fight.  Although no one can escape the  battle, the good news is two-fold:

  • The battle is won.  Jesus said, “It is finished.”
  • The weapons are “in God.”  This means that I do not have to think about finding my own weapons or using ineffective weaponry to fight my foes.

What are the weapons that I can use?

  • The Whole Armor of God
  • The Belt of Truth 
  • The Breastplate of Righteousness 
  • The Gospel of Truth
  • The Shield of Faith
  • The Helmet of Salvation
  • The Sword of the Spirit
  • Prayer                                                          –Ephesians 6:13-18

These weapons will help us to bring those thoughts, those persistent thoughts, into captivity to the obedience of Christ.  We will look in more detail at what this means and how this might be applied to our lives more specifically in the next post.

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