Well, we are back to our blog series on spiritual warfare, and in this blog I want to talk about the weapons of warfare. What resources or tools do we have to fight spiritual battles? If you’ve been raised in the church, chances are your mind automatically goes to the Armor of God. Ephesians 6:10-19 lists several different characteristics and tools which can help us in spiritual battle.
I’m not going to go through each one here, because you have probably already heard a lot of teaching on the Armor of God (and if you haven’t, I would recommend GotQuestions.org as a great resource for learning about the Armor of God and many other spiritual topics). But, one thing always perplexed me about the Armor of God. Putting on the armor actually seemed rather removed from God himself. God provided the armor, but we must put it on and fight the battle. This seems contradictory Scriptures such as Exodus 14:14 where God says He will fight for us. So, what was I missing? It was only recently that I studied the armor of God and learned something astounding:
Jesus is the armor.
God does not give us the armor and consider us prepared to fight His battle. Instead, He gave us His son to be our armor.
Let’s consider a moment:
- The Belt of Truth – Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6)
- The Breastplate of Righteousness – Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:30, “[Christ] has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness, and redemption.
- Shoes of the Gospel of Peace – the good news of Christ is that He has saved us from our sins through His death on the cross. Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
- Shield of Faith – Now it could be argued that we are the ones who must have faith because faith is believing and trusting in Christ’s work on the cross. This is true, but even in this, Christ helps us. In Mark 9:24 a man cries out to Jesus, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” So Christ helps us to have faith. Not only that, but He is also called our shield in many places, such as Psalm 18:2, “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
- Helmet of Salvation – The very gospel itself is that Jesus is our salvation. Matthew 1:21 says, “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
- Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God – Jesus is called God’s Word in the Bible. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Verse 14 adds, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” This makes it clear that Jesus is the Word.
Each one of these items is clearly connected to Christ. This means that “putting on the Armor of God” is essentially putting on Christ, as we are called to do in Romans 13:14, “Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” We clothe ourselves with Christ by becoming more like Him. Preparing for spiritual battle, then, is doing the same thing: learning about Christ and aligning ourselves with Him.
What I find astounding is that in everything I have studied about spiritual warfare, it all comes back to one thing: my relationship with Christ. If I am daily working to grow and develop my relationship with Christ, then I will be prepared to fight spiritual battles. If I attempt to fight on my own, I will not succeed.
This reminds me of a story of Jesus that comes up a lot in discussions about spiritual warfare. In Mark 9:14-29, we read the story of the disciples trying unsuccessfully to cast a demon out of a boy. Jesus casts out the demon, and the disciples ask him later why they couldn’t do it. In verse 29 Jesus answers, “This kind can come out only by prayer” (some manuscripts add “and fasting”). So in the study of spiritual warfare, people often ask, does this mean there is a certain ritual we must take part in before engaging in spiritual warfare? A certain amount of prayer, or a certain amount of fasting? But, by asking these questions, we are missing the point! What is prayer? It is communicating with God. What is fasting? It is letting go of all other things and devoting ourselves to God. So what does it mean that it can only come out by prayer and fasting? It means that in spiritual warfare, you must be intimately connected to Christ before you can be effective! There is no secret formula or ritual – instead, it all comes back to Christ. We must build into that relationship first and above all else. That is the basis of spiritual warfare.
So, my friends, take Christ as your armor! Build yourself into Christ and you will be able to face spiritual battle without fear.