A half century ago, when I was younger, America was a totally different country. In many ways, it was still a nation that had strong Christian values and morals. We still read the Bible and prayed in public school. It was rare for anyone to speak out publicly against Christianity, God, Jesus or the Bible. Many issues that are contaminating our culture today were still considered to be wrong and kept hidden.
Politically, American government protected the rights of the majority of the people and things like traditional marriage. Any politician who dared speak out in favor of things like homosexuality, same-sex marriage, transgender rights, etc., had a very short political career.
In the past 50-60 years, the world and America has drastically changed and whether you realize it or not, those changes are due to a spiritual battle being waged by the evil one, aka Satan. Consider 1 John 5:19, which states:
“We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”
Allow me to share the words of my pastor, Don Green, who shared:
“If support for homosexuality and transgenderism says anything:
Our government, entertainment world, news media, higher education, business, and even athletics have coalesced to oppose the order of God who made us male and female.
To resist that consensus is to become an enemy of the state, subject to penalties from state commissions on human rights and lawsuits from the U.S. Department of Justice.”
If you think the problems with moral decay are confined to the secular world, think again. I can’t tell you how many supposed Christians I’ve spoken with and have heard of who say that there is nothing wrong with homosexuality or same-sex marriages because God loves everyone. These people have succumbed to the evil ways of the world instead of remaining true to God’s Word.
Pastor Green commented about this, saying:
“Difficult times are compounded within the professing church.
Unfaithful ministries flourish in the Christian marketplace.
Self-pleasure rather than self-sacrifice animates the lifestyle choices of many Christians.”
Many Christians have expressed fear of what’s happening in today’s evil-filled world and they have no idea how to cope. It’s easy to feel discouraged, hopeless and defeated.
So how does a Christian survive in today’s hostile and evil world?
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 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 firm.”
The armor of God includes are the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shoes of the Gospel of peace, helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. These are all very important, especially when used together, but how do we withstand the constant attacks of the evil one?
Turn to Ephesians 6:16 for your answer. It commands us:
“In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;”
So how do we use the shield of faith? I’ll allow Pastor Green to help instruct you as he was kind enough to share his sermon notes with me. He broke our use of the shield of faith into 3 key points:
[I highly recommend that you listen to Pastor Don Green’s full sermon which provides a lot more instruction on how to use the shield of faith by clicking here.]
“1. Affirm Your Confidence in Christ.
You do not live by sight. You rely on your sufficiency in Christ.
Read Ephesians 6:16 (taking up the shield of faith).
The phrase in addition to all in the original language is more simply in all. The ESV translates it in all circumstances.
Roman soldiers used a large shield, four feet long and two-and-a-half feet wide. It was covered with hide and bound with iron.
He used it because the enemy tried to kill him with arrows that were dipped in pitch, set on fire, and shot at him.
His shield absorbed the impact and extinguished the fire.
The shield kept him safe if he kept it up at all times.
We have a shield of faith. Faith is confidence in the revelation of God, the righteousness of Christ, and our reconciliation.
What gives you courage in this evil world? What supplies discernment? What strengthens you in temptation?
You stand firm as you consciously rely on Christ. He himself said:
In the world you have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world (John 16:33).
- Acknowledge Your Responsibility
You engage this battle with an expectation of spiritual success.
Read Ephesians 6:16 (you will be able).
This verse supports the central imperative of stand firm. Scripture doesn’t command God to stand firm in the battle. It calls you.
You are responsible to take what God has given and develop a sanctified mind and an obedient life, no matter what else happens.
You say, “But I’m too weak.” Nonsense.
You will be able is not a conditional statement.
It is in the indicative mood. It is a statement of reality.
Paul is declaring confident facts, not wishful hypotheticals. God’s provision is sufficient for your spiritual struggle.
Even in this world, you are able to live serenely in Christ.
That faith starts with acknowledging your responsibility to stand.
Can you really prosper spiritually?
- Anticipate Complete Victory
You can look to the future knowing that Christ is sufficient in all.
Read Ephesians 6:16 (in all; all the flaming arrows).
Flaming arrows pictures the various attacks Satan uses against us.
He tempts us to ungodly thinking and behavior. He undermines us with doubt and despair. He instigates persecution. He undermines the truth with false teaching.
But our union with Christ overcomes all of Satan’s schemes.
When you have full confidence in the revelation of God, the righteousness of Christ, and the reconciliation we have with a holy God, you are ready for whatever battle comes.
We’re entering difficult days to be a Christian. But fear not. The battle hasn’t changed. We just see it more clearly now.
Our shield has never been the Constitution. We were never going to put out demonic fires with political squirt guns.
Our struggle is against spiritual forces of wickedness.”
WOW! I don’t know about you, but that helped me in my quest to stand firm against all attacks. I know that some of my political writings may bring some kind of retribution but I’m prepared for whatever Satan throws at me.
Have you ever wondered how Christians like Dietrich Bonhoeffer were able to go to the gallows, firing squad, stone pit and even the stake to be burned alive, while still standing firm in their faith and praising God? It’s because they were wearing the full armor of God and using the shield of faith to prevent Satan from attacking their faith. Remember I said at the beginning that this is a spiritual battle.
Far too many supposed Christians are allowing their faith to be attacked. They end up giving into the wiles of the world, compromising their faith and walk with God. They begin to accept sin as a natural and acceptable way of life.
They say there is nothing wrong living together before marriage.
They say there is nothing wrong with having sex outside of marriage.
They say there is nothing wrong with homosexuality or same-sex marriage.
They say there is nothing wrong with biological males using the ladies’ bathrooms and locker rooms because they claim to be transgender.
They say there is nothing wrong with a little white lie or stealing small items from work.
They say there is nothing wrong with kids standing up to their parents.
They say there is nothing wrong with coveting what others have.
They say there is nothing wrong with believing in lies like evolution and billions of years of death and suffering before sin.
The list goes on and on and on. Once a person lets down their shield of faith, this is what happens. Consider Jesus words in Matthew 16:26:
“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?”
Keeping your focus on Jesus Christ and His teachings can help protect you from the onslaught of Satan’s attacks. Be in the Word every day and you will learn how to use the whole armor of God and you will survive in today’s hostile and evil-filled world.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.