Spiritual Warfare, Part II; The Elijah Experiment
“He is sending us a Mighty Savior from the royal line of his servant David (Jesus, Yeshua), just as he promised through his holy prophets long ago–someone to save us from our enemeies, from all who hate us.” Luke 1:69-71
We concluded in our last article with trusting God, and how God has to let us take the initiative in our steps toward faith. But in this article, I want to focus more on the actual scriptures of Ephesians chapter 6:10-20; our God-given spiritual armor.
I would like to take a moment to go over this with you here, if you would take the time to do this with me, so that together, you and I may gain a better understanding. I would like to say in all of this, because I can’t stand hypocrisy, that I also struggle just as much as you; yet I know firsthand what the Father would have us to do.
Let’s take a quick glance at Ephesians 6:10-11. “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 (schemings) of the devil.”
First, we are told to be strong IN the Lord, and IN the power of His strength. The keyword here is IN. We are to live in Christ, and we do this by accepting Him as our Savior and by following in His footsteps in every area of our lives. We are to consider God in ALL things; not some things, but ALL things…even the seemingly simple things. So, the first thing we must do in order to truly be covered in His spiritual armor is to be strong IN Him, and in the divine power of God’s strength…and that person is the Holy Spirit…He is the power of God’s divine strength because the Holy Spirit is the hands of God. He gets things done.
01. Be one with God by having Jesus as your Savior, therefore having the Holy Spirit inside of your spirit with you at all times.
He then tells usto put on the WHOLE armor of God, that we may be able to stand against the wicked schemes, or plans, of Satan. Notice, please, it does not say to put on some of the armor, it says the WHOLE armor so that we may be able to stand against the wicked plans of Satan. So, in our spiritual battle, we must have the entire armor, not just part of it.
02. To successfully defeat the enemy, we must be cloaked in the WHOLE armor of God or else we may be triumphed over (defeated) by the armies of hell.
The next verse we’re going to go over now is verse 12, “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.”
I could write an entire book on this passage. This verse is telling us that the things we’re going through may seem like flesh and blood battles—when you’re at odds with someone, when your bills are out of control, you disagree with a new law that has been passed, your fight against abortion and child abuse seems pointless, your anger with your spouse, your frustration with your child, the disagreement you had with a friend, etc. For everything you go through, you are not truly fighting the physical realms as you believe. Remember I had said everything happens in the spiritual realms first. Secondly, faith is the SUBSTANCE of things hoped for, the EVIDENCE of things NOT SEEN. Are you trying to solve these problems on your own by physical means? Are you living in strife and unforgiveness with someone?
What this verse is saying, simply put, is that our fight may seem like a flesh and blood battle, but it’s not. Your enemy is the invisible hosts of enemy troops waging war against you through people and through circumstances. This is their job, and they are specifically commanded to keep on and on at you until you are defeated and give in. Note that not only does it say principalities and powers of darkness, but even higher ranking demons than this; the rulers. And believe it or not, they are everywhere in the atmosphere around us. As a matter of fact, if our eyes were opened to the spiritual places, we would probably have a heart attack and die from fear.
So, we’ve got Privates, Sergeants, Captains, Lieutenants, Commanders, Generals, and then of course, the Leader, or President if you will, Satan, and thousands of them, running to and fro throughout the world constantly dropping bombs, planting mines, and lying in wait for us at our every turn. Spiritual warfare is just as real, if not more, than physical war. If you never believed or thought Satan had an army, you’d better think again. He’s a professional devil, that’s for certain, and he knows his stuff.
But thank God, because God’s also got an army, and His army is ready to defeat our enemy if we allow them. One of my favorite Bible stories is the story of Elijah and the young servant boy. Elijah has no fear because he knows God has an invisible army lined up and ready to take out their enemy. He prays for the Lord to open the eyes of the boy so that he may see, and God does just that. Behold, he is amazed as he looks and sees thousands of heavenly warriors mounted on horses.
Now, we are given specific instructions on how to do these overwhelmingly, seemingly impossible things called spiritual warfare.
03. Realize that our battle is in the spiritual realms first. Whatever things we are experiencing in the physical are merely a manifestation of the spiritual battle taking place that our eyes are blinded from.
From here on out, we’re going to call this the “Elijah Experiment.” By the time we’re done, we’re going to have the expertise, strength, and faith of the prophet Elijah. But you must put these things to use in your life for it to work. Make it simple by choosing one area in your life that’s a little rough, and use the Elijah technique to overcome your strongholds.
Verse 13 reiterates, once again, the importance of the whole armor. “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.”
The WHOLE armor must be in place if you do not want to be knocked down to the dirt and trampled on; by this, you will have done all to stand your ground firmly without wavering.
04. Be completely covered from head to toe in His armor so that you will not be defeated or lose your foothold.
Verse 14-15, “Stand therefore, having girded (restrained, bind, tightened) your waist with truth (certainty, genuineness, precision), having put on the breastplate of righteousness (virtuous, moral, blameless), and having shod (clothed) your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;”
Now begins the spiritual armor of a fully equipped warrior ready for battle. Notice that we keep seeing the word stand. To stand is the opposite of move, to be still…unwavering. So we are being told not to waver or surrender in defeat—STAND! And stand with the truth bound tightly around your waist.
Think about the human body for a moment. Our waist area is the center of our body. If we have toned abdominals, we have a better chance of not hurting our backs when we lift something heavy. This would be the centermost point of our bodies…the waist area. It is also the place where we secure a belt. Sometimes we wear a belt because our pants are a little too loose, and sometimes we wear it to look nice, or make a fashion statement. So lets use the fact that this is the center of our body, securing our slacks, and making a fashion statement all three together in a spiritual sense.
The truth secured tightly around our waist gives us the ability to carry a heavy load without harming us; the truth around our waist secures our heavenly cloak in place to prevent it from slipping or coming off; and, the truth around our waist can be seen by the enemy, which inflicts fear in them. In a sense, we’re making a spiritually profound fashion statement!
According to the notes in the ESV study Bible on this particular verse, these are aspects of God’s and the Messiah’s (Jesus’) own character—truth, righteousness, and the gospel of peace, (which is God’s Word).
05. Make truthfulness the center of your walk with God; not only are you to be truthful with others, but with yourself, as well as the Lord. Although God knows everything, He expects us to kneel before Him daily and own up to our mistakes as we repent of them.
Next is the breastplate of righteousness. A breastplate protects your heart, making it hard for any weapon to penetrate there. Our heart is the focal point of our physical body here on earth; it’s the muscle that makes our blood flow throughout our veins and arteries.
In the spiritual realms, righteousness protects our heart (spirit) from penetration by the weapons of the enemy. Blameless, virtuous, or moral before God in obedience protects our spirits from lethal damages from advances made toward us from the kingdom of hell.
06. Cover your spirit with God’s protection by living your life in obedience to God’s will.
“…and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace…” What exactly does it mean to shod our feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace? We know that shod means to clothe, or cover; but what is the PREPARATION of the gospel of peace? Synonyms for preparation include training, groundwork, research, and homework. And what do our feet do? They move us, carry us, and get us to where we are going. Now that we have a better idea of what this means, let’s put it in proper perspective.
We are to mediate, or study, our Bible constantly—do our homework! Just as a soldier trains for battle, or a football player trains for the big event, we are to train for battle against the kingdom of hell daily by constantly feeding on the living words of God. I find the word groundwork here quite interesting, and that feet are also mentioned. I’ve already explained that our feet get us where we’re going. What we’re being instructed to do here is clear—train hard by consistently staying in God’s Word, and put it into action. This could be taken two ways—get out and spread the gospel to others, and put to use what we’re reading in the Bible. Don’t just read it, but do it!
07. Spend time studying/meditating in God’s Word, and do it, or better, live it!
Verse 16, “Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.”
We all know that a shield blocks the enemy’s arrows from hitting us anywhere on the body from the waist up. A person using a shield has to be fully trained and quick to maneuver it or the arrow (dart) will pierce the skin of the opponent. Once again, faith is the SUBSTANCE of things hoped for, and the evidence of things NOT seen. So we have to be quick to have faith; not doubting for even a moment. If the person holding the shield was blocking an arrow, they would fall in defeat if they hesitated for even a moment. We can’t allow unbelief or doubt in anything God’s Word promises to creep into our minds. Any doubt or unbelief has to be dealt with immediately by rebuking it (in the name of Jesus, I rebuke the spirit of doubt and unbelief!), then confessing it, (Lord, for a moment there, I called You a liar because I did not trust in Your Word.”), and repenting, (“Father, in the name of Jesus, help me to be strong against my enemy, Satan, and his spiritual hosts of wickedness! For it is written, “No weapon formed against me shall prosper!”)
Also, please note that it doesn’t just say ‘darts’, it says, ‘fiery darts’! So these aren’t just your average bows and arrows, they’re covered with fire so that they don’t just pierce and sting, they burn. If you’re covered with fiery arrows sent from the enemy’s bow, take a moment to pull them out. At first it’s going to hurt horribly, and you’ll be covered in OPEN wounds..open wounds that the enemy can slip right back into. But go to the Lord in repentance and take your stand against the kingdom of hell as you and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, wage heavenly war against them.
08. Be quick to extinguish the enemy’s artillery with faith. Think it, speak it, believe it—rebuke, confess, and repent of any doubt and unbelief at once.
Verse 17, “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
A helmet is used to cover and protect the head of one’s body. Remember that God is the head of the trinity; Jesus the voice, the Holy Spirit the hands. Head wounds can oftentimes be fatal or serious; thus, salvation is a serious thing. Your head is not protected if you are not saved; anything can happen to you. If your head is covered, your chances are better of coming out alive and well. So what is the helmet of our salvation? The Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ, who is our spiritual covering, shrouding our heads constantly with His light in the spiritual places. The more time you spend with God, and the more you devote your life to Him, the brighter your light; and when demons see that bright, effervescent light of the Holy Spirit gleaming around your head, they’ll flee.
09. Repent of all of your sins and ask Jesus Christ to come into your heart to be your Savior. Don’t waste another minute because tomorrow, even a few minutes from now, could be too late. He doesn’t want you to spend your eternity away from His glorious presence; nor does He want you suffering in a lake of fire forever—hell was not made for us, it was made for Satan and His minions..and Satan wants to take as many of us to hell with him as he can. He is well aware of his end, although he is so full of pride that he even lies to himself, trying to convince himself that it won’t happen.
Verse 18, “…praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints…”
This verse speaks for itself—prayer! Pray, pray, and pray some more. I am aware that the next thing I am going to say is a hot topic, but if you study the New Testament fully, there were two types of tongues—the ones of other earthly languages, and of the angels. When people got saved, Paul laid hands on them and they were baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoke in the Spirit. We are to pray in our language, and also in the Spirit, because the Spirit makes utterances for things for us that we know not, and Satan hates it because he cannot understand it. Of course you don’t have to believe in praying in the Spirit, but it is definitely something that will improve your life and the outcomes of things in it. I am going to reiterate, it is the Holy Spirit praying to the Father for you, for what you know not! Satan would have us think that it’s not true, or it’s mumbo jumbo because He doesn’t like us to speak in the Spirit. When we pray to the Father, he hears our prayers and can begin making plans in order to try and defeat whatever we are praying for. However, when he can’t understand or make sense of what we’re saying, he doesn’t know what to do.
Think of prayer like this: if your child didn’t call you up for a long time to speak with you, and constantly forgot about you—your birthday, holidays, any old day—just plain out forgot to talk to you, and only called you once in a blue moon when they needed something from you, it would hurt your feelings. And then even more so after they got what they wanted, and then once again, you didn’t hear from them for a while. That’s what we do, myself included; we get caught up in things in our lives and we forget to talk to God. We forget to thank Him for our food, our money, whether we have a lot or not, our car, whether it’s a hunk of junk or not, our clothing, our health (even if we have problems, there’s always someone worse off than us), the roof over our head, and so much more.
When you give something to someone, how would it feel if they never even acknowledged that you did anything for them at all to begin with—no thank you, no expression, no emotion, no nothing? Sure, when we do things, we aren’t seeking recognition necessarily, but it’s nice to know we’ve made someone happy. Or worse, what if you did something nice for someone and it just wasn’t good enough; the person sat down and complained about it the entire time. We also do this to God on a regular basis.
Try to remember to talk with God; not to Him or at Him. Talk with Him regularly. Start your day talking with Him, and end your day talking with Him. The more the better. Give Him time to talk to you by listening for the still small voice of the Holy Spirit within your heart.
Print this up if you have to. Pick one small thing out of your life and step by step follow Yahweh’s plan for defeating the enemy in your life. It’s not the simple do it yourself kit, nor is it rocket science; with the help of God, you’ll get through it. Next time you’re feeling negative or hopeless, say out loud, “Shut up devil, in the name of Jesus, you sack of lies! I refuse to listen to your hogwash!”
So, will you pick up your cross and carry it with me? I will be with you in spirit and in truth, your friend; rest assured, I’m doing it to, and it’s not always easy. Even better, Jesus will be with us in Spirit and in divine truth, holding our hands every step of the way. Allow the Lord today to come into your life and defeat your stumbling blocks and strongholds.
Elijah did it, and he was not afraid. He trusted in God’s truth, and in the invisible army of our Lord to come quickly to his aid. Don’t be afraid! Step out in faith and try it. Let’s do this experiment together and see what happens. This empty life might be full of hope and joy for all we know!