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Miranda Writes: Itís War, Part 2




by Omar Miranda



Last week we began our discussion with a silly-but-true story of my unfortunate run-in with one of my son’s toys. We learned the importance of taking Satan seriously, and we learned what the Bible had to say about him and his strategies of warfare. This week I want to continue by discussing what God has given us to beat the devil and what we can do to prepare ourselves to do battle with him.

When it came to dealing with this battle between good and evil and being aware of what it took to be successful in the Christian life—and just to literally stay alive—the apostle Paul was an old pro at it. Near the end of his letter to the Christians in the city of Ephesus, Paul addressed this issue very clearly and comprehensively. Remember, the Christians were used to seeing Roman soldiers walking around dressed in their full battle armor and carrying their swords, spears, and shields. So he uses this as an example of how we need to be prepared to meet the devil and his angels in this battle for our hearts, minds, and our very lives. 

I want you to read this passage of Scripture for yourself, and then we’ll talk about it. It’s found in Ephesians 6:10-18. 

There are a few crucial points that we need to take away from this passage of Scripture:

1. It is God’s strength that makes us strong. Don’t think for one moment that you can battle the devil or his demons in your own strength. 

2. We must put on all the armor that God gives us, so we can defend ourselves against the devil’s tricks. By the way, all the devil has is tricks; the reason is if he came at you directly, you would push him away—so he has to be sneaky, deceptive, and underhanded.

3. We’re not ultimately fighting against human beings but against the devil and his demons. Now, it’s true that sometimes flesh-and-blood beings get involved; but many times they are controlled by the spirit of the devil and his demons—perhaps even controlled by them directly, aka demon possession. Yikes! I hope you want to be possessed by the Holy Spirit, not an unholy one!

4. Paul tells us to “be ready!”* Notice he didn’t just suggest for us to be ready. He knew all too well that the “day of evil” and the battle that followed it was coming our way—and we could either be ready and stand firm or not prepare and die, spiritually speaking.

5. Let’s look at every piece of the armor individually and see what truth we can apply to our lives:

a. Belt: God’s truth. The mark of a soldier, a belt was not meant for civilian use! The belt was commonly used to hold the soldier’s sword and/or a dagger. I find it interesting that the belt held the sword in place and kept it ready for the soldier to fight with when needed. God’s truth is the only truth we should be using to fight off the devil. It’s the only truth that will work because it is . . . truly true! Everything else is man’s knowledge, philosophies, and lies! 

b. Armor or breastplate: God’s justice. This armor appears to have been a purely Roman invention. This piece of armor was made up of overlapping pieces of iron bound together with leather straps and metal hooks, forming a very flexible, strong protection for the soldier. This armor protected the soldier’s chest and torso—where the majority of the vital organs are. You can lose an arm or a leg, but if you get injured in this part of your body, you’re in bad shape! The understanding that God is ultimately in control of what happens in this world and will ultimately make all things right can really help to take a lot of pressure off us, when we would typically get angry for all the wrong reasons and consequently want to get even. Our faith in God’s sovereignty should inform our knowledge of where and when to use the knowledge of the Scriptures. 

c. Shoes: your desire to spread the gospel. Roman military sandals used iron hobnails as treads, a lot like the cleats of a modern-day football player’s shoes. This footwear was basically made for any and every situation and allowed the Roman soldier to fight with total confidence in any battle condition. Our desire to spread the gospel should come from the total confidence that this is what God has put us on this earth to do!

d. Shield: your faith. The shield was the main form of body protection for the Roman soldier. It served the purpose of deflecting targeted missiles, as well as protecting from the impact of handheld weapons. The shield’s large size allowed soldiers to form a shield wall that could protect them all during an advance. For us, the faith that we have is not in ourselves but in God. So we see here the application that our faith can not only protect us but also bolster the faith of others and protect them as well.

e. Helmet: God’s saving power, or God’s salvation. I find it interesting that Paul tells us to wear on our head the knowledge and assurance that we have received salvation. Our brains are in our head, and God knew that the devil would consistently try to put doubts in our minds about our salvation. 

f. Sword: God’s Holy Bible. This is the only offensive weapon—not something that offends people (although it does that as well), but something that is not defensive. Every other part of the armor is used to defend you, but the Bible is used to fight back against the devil. It’s interesting to note that the original Greek word used to describe the Bible is literally the “saying” of the Bible—not the writing or the reading. By the way, this is just how Jesus, when tempted in the desert, drove the devil away. Reading and writing the Bible is important, and those methods really help you to move the knowledge from short-term to long-term memory, but when you speak Scripture out loud in a situation that is stressful and tempting, it is absolutely amazing to experience the resolution and conviction that you begin to feel. And the Bible tells us that if you submit yourself to God and resist the devil, the devil leaves . . . no, he flees! That means he runs away really fast—in a panic!

6. Last, Paul says to “never stop praying, especially for others.” Isn’t it interesting that Paul distinguishes praying by the power of the Spirit from praying within our own power? Again, we are told to “stay alert.”

In our time together we learned about the devil’s plans and organization of his demons and how they can disrupt good things that are meant for us. We learned that although we are treated badly by the devil and the world, we still have God’s Holy Spirit with us and there is nothing that can or will happen to us that’s bad enough to ever separate us from the love of God. We also learned that the devil doesn’t play fair and that he attacks us when we’re at our weakest, and that he knows Scripture, so we must know it too and always fight him in the power of the Holy Spirit. Last, we learned that we must always be on our guard and put on all the armor of God, and we should never stop praying with the power of the Holy Spirit.

I hope that after our time together, you realize how important it is not only to know your enemy, the devil, but more important, to know God, the One who can give you, and who has already given you, the power and full and complete victory over Satan. In Paul’s letter to the Colossian Christians, he boldly writes from jail, of all places, that “God wiped out the charges that were against us for disobeying the Law of Moses. He took them away and nailed them to the cross. There Christ defeated all powers and forces [of Satan]. He let the whole world see them being led away as prisoners when he celebrated his victory” (Colossians 2:14, 15).

So remember, in the darkest part of your life, when you step on the proverbial Lego piece, never forget in the dark what God has told you in the light. Suit up and get ready for battle, because God has promised you that greater is He (God) that is in you than he (Satan) that is in the world.

Until next time, remember these things: God’s way is always the best way. Life is full of decisions, so make yours good ones. Make God first in your life, and you can’t go wrong.

Feel free to contact me: you can e-mail me at omarmiranda@earthlink.net; or you can keep up with me on Facebook; or you can read more of my stuff on Miranda Writes at www.insightmagazine.org; or you can check me out or send me a message at my Web site, thriveatlife.org; or you can reach me via snail mail (slow!) at the address printed below.

In Christ,

Omar Miranda, certified Christian counselor

Abundant Life Ministries

155 Earl Street

Plainville, GA 30733

Phone: 1-770-354-2912

  *Scripture quotations in this article are from the Contemporary English Version. Copyright © American Bible Society 1991, 1995. Used by permission.

Omar Miranda is a Christian counselor with 20 years’ experience working with youth in public and private middle and high schools. He’s married and has two kids. He enjoys teaching the youth at his church, reading, writing, gardening, and camping. He’s a recovering knucklehead who spent a lot of time in the past doing stupid stuff away from God. He’s been back with God for years now and is eager to share what he’s learned from his experiences by answering any questions you may have about life, the Christian life, Jesus, spiritual matters, and relationships in his column, Miranda Writes.

 





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