A friend’s husband fights for his life in a battle against an inoperable, malignant tumor…
Another dear friend’s heart tires from a long drought of the soul…
A neighbor loses her husband to a devastating type of cancer…
Riots, hate and division flood our country…
Hurricane waters devastate a thriving city… the images reminding me of the time my hometown in South Brazil was destroyed by flood waters twice during my youth.
In each of these circumstances, it’s not difficult to lose hope and allow our hearts to believe that the worse is yet to come.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12
I know – That is a weird insert in the middle of this blog post. “What on earth does spiritual battle have to do with these devastating issues?” you may ask.
Oh, but it does.
I’m absolutely not saying that every evil happening out there is CAUSED by the devil. That is certainly not a biblical concept.
But this I know: Our trials have everything to do with OPPORTUNITY for the Enemy.
This idea has been playing repeatedly in my mind, as I pray for the people I know, who are deeply hurting today.
I don’t know if it’s because I have gone through cancer and other draining health problems; through unemployment and the financial uncertainties that it brings; through natural disaster and their devastating consequences. But I know firsthand how the enemy takes advantage of our weakness and pain to bring us down. “Been there” – and remember the battle that raged in my heart and mind, each time that bad news reached my ears.
As I stand today, on the other side of these trials, however, I see it – clear as a bell:
The enemy was near each time I felt too weak to stand.
Think about it: It’s the perfect opportunity for his attacks! He watches when we are weak, and pins us down when we fall.
It’s in our weakness that he looks for a breach. It’s when we are hurting that he sends his fiery darts to pierce our hearts. It’s during sleepless nights that he whispers: “It’s all over. God is done with you.”
I don’t know what you may be going through today, but if you are a born-again Christian who is going through a valley, I would be surprised if you are not under spiritual attacks. That’s simply because trials present the perfect opportunity for the devil to try to annihilate every trace of hope from your life, render you ineffective for the kingdom and, ultimately, defeat you.
But Praise God! He gave us the strategy to remain standing and on the fight. This may not be something new to you, as this has been the subject of numerous sermons and books, but I felt compelled to share my personal experience regarding the Armor of God.
Years ago, when my husband and I visited Rome, we brought home a small statue of a Roman soldier. We bought it from a street vendor, near the Coliseum. This statue remains in our bathroom, and we look at it often. It reminds us of a war “secret” that God gave His children through the apostle Paul.
Ever since we bought this statue, I often use it as a visual during my prayer time, while quoting Ephesians 6:10-17. Below are the biblical principles behind my War Preparation Prayer:
1) Be strong in the Lord:
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.” Ephesians 6:10
The first step is to realize that, when in battle, we are naturally weak – physically, spiritually and emotionally. Paul reminds us that we are to draw our strength from the One whose strength never fails.
You do that by repeating words of life. You do that by staying in the Word. You do that by surrounding yourself with those who love Jesus and will pray for you.
2) Deliberately choose to get dressed for battle.
“Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.” Ephesians 6:11
The verb “put on” here in the original Greek is an action verb. It doesn’t just happen. You deliberately get dressed for battle.
Call me weird, but when I am facing a battle, I literally imagine myself putting every item of the Armor of God. I do the hand motions and everything! I’m sure it’s quite a sight, but I don’t care.
3) As you put on each item, remember what they mean:
I declare, out loud, and so every spiritual being hears loud and clear, that I am choosing to put on each item of the Armor. I say something like this:
“Lord, I thank you for the Armor you have given me by faith. I claim it for me, personally, as the protection and weapon I need to stand with you today.
I put on the Helmet of Salvation, that I may never forget that I am yours, and that you promised that nothing can separate me from your love (Romans 8:35.) Because I am saved, I can stand on the truth that you are in this trial with me.
I put on the Belt of Truth, that no lie from the enemy or from men may enter my life. Every time the enemy whispers a lie, remind me of one more precious Truth from your Word.
I put on the Breastplate of Righteousness and the Shield of Faith, remembering that it’s because of Jesus’ righteousness that I have been accepted by you… Remembering that because I believed, His righteousness covered all my imperfections and sins… Trusting that the shield of faith will stop the darts of the enemy from entering my heart to steal my peace. And declaring, by faith, that You are my victory, regardless of the outcome of my trial.
I put on the sandals of the gospel of peace, that even in the fiercest battles, the peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7) will lavish my soul… Also, help me to be an ambassador of peace, wherever I go. Help me to sow seeds of peace, not strife.
And finally, my weapon – my precious Weapon – I pick up the Sword of the Spirit, which is Your Word. Bring to my memory the verses in Scripture that I can use to defeat the enemy and his schemes. Just like Jesus did in the desert (Matthew 4:1-8,) give me the boldness to speak life into my wilderness. May Your Word pierce the darkness of my circumstances and resurrect the hope of glory in me.”Lord, may Your Word pierce my darkness & resurrect the hope of glory in me. Click To Tweet
There is no question about it – putting on the Armor of God does not end a battle. But it certainly equips you for it. Because what I have learned through the many trials I’ve faced is that the war is inevitable, but defeat is not.
Victory for the Christian does not depend on our circumstances. Victory rests on the fact that God is on our side: “If God is for us, who is against us?” Romans 8:31
4) “…and having done everything, stand firm.” Ephesians 6:13b
Yes, soldier. You may be too weak to fight. If so, just put on your Armor and Stand Firm.
Stand firm on His Truth.
Stand firm by Faith.
Stand firm on His promises.