I don’t say that because I’ve had personal experience. I have had personal experience with what I believe was spiritual warfare, but that’s not why I make that statement. Spiritual warfare is real because God’s Word, the Bible, says it is real.
This post is the last session of our online Bible study in the book of Ephesians. Today we’ll look at Ephesians 6:10-24 which discusses the fight we face if we choose to follow Jesus.
This section of Scripture contains far more material than I could ever begin to cover in one blog post. I’m toying with the idea of making a summer study that looks at each piece of the armor of God. For today, however, let’s look at the big picture.
Take a moment and read Ephesians 6:10-24
Spiritual warfare may be more complex than what you think.
The small church where my husband serves has faced an onslaught of trials in the last year. Several people have commented that Satan is on the attack. Satan is far more cunning than that. The trials are his starting point. As you stand dazed, he circles you like a lion on prowl, waiting to go in for the kill.
Which of these struggles do you face?
- Relationship tension
- Job loss
- Nit-picky stuff that adds up to one big ball of discouragement
While we might look at these obstacles as Satan’s attack, this is just the beginning. What makes these a part of spiritual warfare is what Satan chooses to do with them next. His attacks come in the form of questions, accusations, and suggestions:
- Why did God let this happen to you?
- Where’s your faith?
- If you were a good Christian, this wouldn’t have happened.
- Where is God now? Why isn’t He answering your prayers?
- Don’t wait for God. Take matters into your own hands.
- You aren’t strong enough to cope with this.
- Would a loving God allow this to happen to you?
- Wouldn’t a powerful God rescue you?
- You deserve to feel better. Here, console yourself with . . . (name a temptation).
Troubles and trials are bad enough. The questions, accusations, and suggestions add insult to injury. How can we survive the unrelenting pressure? Can we survive?
Yes we can. Here’s how.
Three hang-tough strategies.
Our passage in Ephesians 6:10-24 gives us three overall strategies to come out unscathed on the other side of life’s hurts and heartaches:
- Find your strength through God
- Prepare yourself before the trials come.
- Stay connected to God and other people.
You can’t do this by yourself. What we face is far bigger and more cunning than what we see in the temporal world. More is happening behind the scenes in the spiritual world than we can see.
Read Job 1,2. What spiritual warfare was happening that Job could not see?
Read Ephesians 6:12. When our faith is attacked, is the problem only with the people attacking our faith?
Read Ephesians 6:10,13. Does God expect you to handle your difficulties by yourself?
Prepare yourself BEFORE the trials come.
Where am I getting that idea? Look closely at Ephesians 6:14-17
Several times, Paul gives us the impression that we need to put on protective gear before the attack comes
- Stand firm with the belt of truth buckled around you.
- Breastplate of righteousness in place
- Feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
It makes sense. What soldier would be fully effective if he had to take time to prepare himself after the battle had already started. Look at how long World War Two lasted and how many innocent casualties ensured because the United States had to spend so much time building up resources and training manpower before engaging in battle. We will win more spiritual battles if we are ready to engage in the battle before it arrives.
Read Ephesians 6:18-20.
- How does prayer help us win over spiritual warfare?
- What do we need to pray for?
- How much should we pray?
- For whom should we pray?
Paul’s final request is that his readers pray for him. He uses the word fearlessly twice. Paul’s requests sound like a good prayer prompt for all of us to pray for each other.
Make It Real
Stop right now. Think of a fellow believer who is facing difficult times. Pray that:
- God will give them courage
- they will continue to live a righteous life
- their minds will be filled with Scripture that will bolster their faith.
- God enable them to proclaim their faith to the people around them without fear.
Stand firm, my friends. Only God can give you the strength you need to get through the one-two strikes of trials and temptations. God has your back. He walks beside you. He will lead you through the tough times. Don’t give up on Him because He isn’t giving up on you. And, through His death and resurrection, Jesus has already won the war!