The Temptations of the evil one, Part 5
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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 of the devil.
There is so much to say about the devil's tactics, and how to resist him. One day we plan on writing a book on this topic as well (Though we can't give any promises on the timeline as of right now, so we can't tell you anything concrete yet). But let's wrap up this mini series in our blog on a positive note. So far we looked at the devil's schemes. Now let's look at the passage that shows us how to defeat him.
Maybe you have read Eph. 6:10-18 before, the Armor of God. This passage gives us the clearest description on how we can defeat the devil, how we can resist him. At first it can sound difficult and strenous. But I firmly believe in 1. Cor. 10:13
1 Corinthians 10:13 There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it.
Yes, the Armor of God is difficult. But if we understand that we simply have to rely on God Himself, then it becomes a lot easier.
So let's dive into the elements of the armor:
The Belt of Truth
The armor starts with Truth. Some people think that this means we should always tell the truth. Well, that's certainly true. But I think this passage means something else. I think it's not about SAYING the truth, but about KNOWING the truth. Remember what Jesus said about the devil?
John 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
When we know the truth, we will be able to identify the lies of the enemy. When we don't know the truth, we won't be able to identify the lie.
On Alpha, I usually give this analogy: If I tell my children that Beijing is the capital of Germany, they'll believe me! Why? Because they don't know the truth yet. But if I tell the same thing to you, you'll be able to catch my lie. Why? Because you know the truth.
When we know the truth, we'll be able to identify the lie. That's why Jesus asks us to know the truth to defeat the devil. And that's why we need to fill our minds with the truth, day by day, week by week. We need to read God's Word. The only reliable source of Truth. When we know God's Truth, we'll be able to identify the lies of the enemy.
Breastplate of Righteousness
This element speaks of "getting our relationships right". Being right with God and other people. That means we need to allow God to search our hearts regularly. Is there unconfessed sin in my life? False motives? Greed? Lust? Anger and hatred? It's not just about what we do. God looks at our hearts.
And then we also need to get our relationships with other people right. Is there anybody who is offended with us? Do we need to ask someone for forgiveness? Or is there someone that we haven't forgiven yet? Are we carrying anger, jealousy and bitterness in our hearts?
These are important questions that we need to ask to resist the devil.
Shoes of the gospel of peace
It's amazing to me how often I hear people say something like this: "I was a Christian for a while, and I thought I'm doing well. But once I started serving, that's when I really grew in my Faith!"
To resist the devil, we can't just sit back. One of the strongest ways to defeat the devil is when we become proactive and serve. If you have never done so, get involved in church work, evangelism, serving the poor and needy, leading a Bible study,... And you will see how your spiritual journey will take a complete turn. To the better!
Helmet of Salvation
I believe this one speaks of our secret thoughts. Again, it comes back to "knowing the truth". But it also speaks about things that nobody else knows about. What am I secretely thinking of? Good things or evil things? Paul says:
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
I know from my own life how my secret thoughts eventually determine my actions. If I'm thinking about good stuff today, I will eventually do the good stuff that I'm thinking of. But if I'm thinking of bad stuff, it's only a matter of time until I do the bad stuff I'm thinking of.
My thoughts today determine my behaviors tomorrow.
Shield of Faith
Faith isn't really Faith when it's easy. Faith is tested when it gets rough. When the world around us seems to fall apart. When everything goes wrong. When our prayers don't get answered the way we want them to be answered. When bad stuff happens to us. When evil people seem to succeed against us. All these situations.
I know from my own life, that's when I hear the voice of the tempter most clearly. That's when I am most tempted to stop following Jesus and go back to my own life.
And that's when we need to have the most Faith. To resist the devil's temptations.
Sword of the Spirit
The last element is the Sword of the Spirit, which the passage explains is being "the Word of God". Now we already looked at the Belt of Truth and the importance of knowing the Truth, through the Bible. But the original word behind "word" is actually not referring to the Bible. It's not "Logos" (God's written word). It's "Rhema"! Rhema means "God's spoken word, directly into our situations, into our specific circumstances. Not just God's general Word, but God's personal Word for us, into our lives.
That's why it's so important that we learn to listen to God's voice. Because when we hear His voice, He will speak His Rhema words to us, to teach us how to defend ourselves.
We can't defend ourselves in our own strength. But we can ask for God's help. Now we shouldn't just be passive, pray when we are tempted. We should always pray and be proactive. The more we drive the devil away from us, the less he can reach us and attack us.
It's amazing to me to see the whole armor. We have 6 elements
When you think about it: We're well covered, right? Everywhere, right?
No, we are not. Our backs are not covered! If we start running away, we're in trouble. Because then we are not protected any longer. There's only one way to stay protected: Be proactive, move forward, take control of the fight, drive the devil away. Stand firm, face the devil, and drive him away.
Stand firm in Jesus. And find the Life He promised you! Life in all it's fullness!
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