By Marsha West – BarbWire guest contributor
Some of the news headlines this past week gave me reason for concern. Here are a few of them:
- Satanic Temple Approved for [Florida] Capitol Holiday Display
- Legal group: repeal of D.C. amendment will have ‘severe impact on religious liberty’
- ‘We love Jesus!’ – Iraqi children proclaim love for Christ in face of Islamic beheading
- Court orders school district to pay $75,000 for denying boy use of girls’ restroom
- Rick Warren’s call for Christians to unite with Catholics, ‘Holy Father’ raising concerns
Satanism…religious liberty…beheadings…gender confusion…ecumenicalism. My tendency is to fret about such things, even though God reminds us in His Word:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:6-7)
Likewise, 1 Peter 5:7 commands believers not to be anxious but to lay all our worries on God because He cares for us. So is there any question that His people are to go to Him with the hard things, lay them at His feet, and trust that we can literally “let go and let God”?
Listen to the comforting words our Lord Jesus:
And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? (Luke 12:22-26 Also see Matthew 6:25-34)
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)
What must the believer do when a black cloud forms over her head and follows her wherever she goes? If you’re a black cloud magnet, keep in mind that when you find yourself in a situation where you’ve been utterly and completely robbed of all joy, chances are the spiritual forces of evil have something to do with this dreary mood. I mean, think about it. Satan’s main aim is to take his victim’s mind off her Heavenly Father and turn her focus on the unholy trinity of Me, Myself and I.
Evil entities can and will camp out in their target’s mind and offer unbiblical advice to those who are willing to listen:
Life’s no picnic, Agnes! Anyone in your situation would worry about this terrible thing that’s happened to you – and don’t feel one bit guilty about worrying! God understands.
You lost your job for Pete’s sake! With Christmas right around the corner, it’s going to be rough on the kids. The thought of seeing those disappointed faces Christmas morning would make anyone feel anxious! God understands.
Your desire for vengeance is reasonable, dude. You deserve to hold on to your anger…resentment…hatred. That’s perfectly normal. Now go and retaliate! God understands.
Because of all the wickedness in the world your children and grandchildren are going to suffer, big time. So of course you’re fearful about the kind of world they’re growing up in — that’s normal. God understands.
You get the picture.
Several years ago I came to the realization that a large number of professing Christians were not using biblical principles when handling society’s slide into moral chaos. In fact they were doing just the opposite. For instance, many were getting angry and upset, worrying and fretting over how the God hating secular humanists’ vice grip on almost every facet of society, including the Church, was growing stronger by the day. So I penned a piece to shed light on what the Bible teaches on fighting the world, the flesh and the devil. Believers face an enemy far more diabolical and cunning than any secular humanist or malevolent ruler that has ever lived. The Bible tells us that since the fall of mankind a battle has been raging in the invisible realm between two opposing forces– good and evil. Without getting too far afield, there was a rebellion in heaven and its leader, Lucifer, and his followers were told to leave. Ever since then Lucifer aka Satan (the devil) and the other turncoat angels (demons) have been at war with God’s holy elect angels. (For more details go here.) Not surprisingly one target of the evil forces is anyone who professes a belief in Christ.
Never fear! God has given believers a way to protect themselves. Paul describes how to do it in Ephesians 6. (I’ll share the particulars in a moment.) After doing a thorough study on this subject, it became apparent to me that my brothers and sisters had been unarmed while fighting a vicious enemy—and so had I! I came to realize that those of us in the thick of the battle to “reclaim America” had to lay our worries and woes aside (worry is sin) and do battle God’s way. But before we could face the enemy, like any soldier going into battle, we had to go into it with helmets, breastplates, shields, swords and, most importantly, the Gospel of Christ that changes minds and hearts! So — I wrote a piece to share what I had learned about fighting the good fight and how to win. What I wrote is even more pertinent today than it was umpteen years ago. My hope in reposting it here is that the serious Christian will take Paul’s words literally when he says “put on the whole armor of God!”
Are You Armed for Battle?
I am amazed by how many Christians are unfamiliar with the Armor of God the Apostle Paul spoke about in Ephesians 6:10. “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” Yes, the devil is real, he’s a schemer, and he’s out to get you! If you don’t believe he’s real, then read the Gospels. Take Mark 9:25 for example. Jesus actually spoke to a demon. “You deaf and mute spirit, I command you, come out of him and do not enter him again.” It would be a little ridiculous for Jesus to talk to demons if they didn’t exist. There are plenty of other examples but my point is that Christians are failing to arm themselves for battle against these spiritual powers of darkness.
So, how can you defend yourself against demonic attacks? You must get dressed! In Ephesians 6:10-19 Paul tells you what you should wear. First, buckle the Belt of Truth around your waist. Truth is a deep knowledge of God’s character and will as applied to our lives. Second, the Breastplate of Righteousness must be firmly in place. This refers to the righteousness of Christ, not your own! The breastplate protects your heart from the attacks of Satan. Third, you must have on the proper shoes if you’re going to resist Satan’s attacks. He is an expert at keeping you off balance! Solid footing is provided by the gospel of peace. (Peace comes when you learn to rest in God’s promises.) With the right shoes on you’ll be prepared to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Your feet must always be ready to move! Fourth, take up the Shield of Faith. Faith is complete trust in Christ. When you have faith in God, Satan will be unable to worm his way into your life because Christ offers adequate protection. Fifth, take the hope of the helmet of salvation—look forward to the day of Christ’s return, when the wicked will be judged and you’ll have peace. In the meantime, the helmet will protect your mind from temptation and from believing false doctrine. Feel confident that the moral depravity taking place throughout the world will “ultimately be resolved by God’s program.” Moreover “live unafraid in a world of fear and terror.” And remember that “God is moving in history, and nothing that happens can upset or delay His plan.” (Source) Sixth, you must wield a very sharp and deadly sword – the Sword of the Spirit. The Word of God is a Christian’s sword. The Bible is “living and active and sharper than any two edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12). When you’re tempted, do as Jesus did and use Scripture as a weapon to fight off the Adversary. Lastly, pray! The Sword of the Spirit and Prayer are offensive weapons. Use them!
There you have it. The Armor of God is a symbolic description of the Lord Himself. You must put on Jesus Christ. Trust completely in His power! It’s a mistake to try to live for Christ in your own strength. You must receive and utilize Christ’s power. He wants His people to live as He did, in complete reliance on God. He will work through us by the power of His Holy Spirit indwelling in us. So, when the devil comes knocking on your door, let Jesus answer it!
Whoever reads this knows what they must do to withstand the attacks of the enemy. Stand firm! Rely on God and His mighty power! What’s unbelievable to me is that a growing number of professing Christians fail to grasp the reality that the One who hung the moon and stars says He will fight for His people. He told Abram, “Do not be afraid … I am your shield, your very great reward.”
Remember brethren, God wins!
I’ll close with a quote from a sermon given by the late Ray C. Stedman entitled Advice When Attacked:
There is a very strong and powerful relationship between putting on the armor of God and praying. These two things belong together; in fact, one grows out of the other. It is not enough to put on the armor of God; you must also pray. It is not enough to pray; you must also have put on the armor of God. It is impossible to divide these two. As we have been attempting to see, putting on the armor of God is not something merely figurative, it is an actual thing you do. It is remembering what Christ is to you, and thinking through the implications of it in terms of your present struggle and experience. Putting on the armor is essentially something that is done in the realm of your thought life. We have been trying to make that clear. It is an adjustment of the attitude of your heart to reality, to things as they really are. It is thinking through the implications of the fact which revelation discloses. This is always the necessary thing to do in trying to face life.
Marsha West is a religious/political writer and owner of EmailBrigade.com. She is also the founder and editor of the Email Brigade News Report, a biweekly news resource for people of faith that is chock-full of critical news and information.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.