Like it or not, faith involves spiritual warfare. Are you combat ready?
It is amazing how God will use natural tools to make a spiritual difference in our lives. Before I was saved, I could not relate to the spiritual, so God used the military to put me on the right track. Enlisting in the service was part of my destiny. And the Lord has blessed me with the experience of an extensive military background. While in the United States Army, I moved through the ranks at an incredible pace.
However, initially, because of my background, my transition from the streets to basic training was quite drastic. When the recruiter picked me up to go to the processing center to be inducted into the army, I was smoking cocaine. The recruiter waited in the car as I took my last hit.
Upon my arrival at basic training, the army's first challenge in turning me into a soldier was making me look like one. New recruits were taken to a big warehouse that had an assembly line. We were given everything we needed to be clothed as a soldier: boots, hats, belts and uniforms.
Before we went to the assembly line, orders were given to us to authorize uniform pick up. In the same way, believers are given spiritual orders in Ephesians 6:11: "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil" (NKJV).
Holokleros, the Greek word for "whole," means "complete in every part, leaving nothing out, or to be perfectly sound." Our warfare cannot be perfectly sound unless we use every part of the armor of God.
Clearly stated, the armor of God gives us the power to stand against the wiles of the enemy in the midst of evil days. The Bible speaks of wiles in both the Old and New Testaments.
The Hebrew word for "wiles" is nekel. Among other things, it means treachery, conspiracy, beguilement, trickery and deception (see Num. 25:18). To be subject to the wiles of the enemy means to be deceived.
Few people willingly worship the devil. But worship is what the warfare is all about. God desires our worship, but the devil wants to be worshiped as well.
When we accept the things of the world from the devil it is the highest form of worship, and it opens demonic doors in the spirit realm. Worship is not just what we do but what we abstain from doing. Most believers are trying to serve God so the enemy has to use deceiving methods to make them worship him instead.
In the New Testament, the word "wiles" is methodeia in the Greek. Though it is related to the English word "method," it actually means "to operate under a traveling cover and to lie in wait." This is the foundational truth of the wiles of the devil—to lie behind the scenes and watch a person until a vulnerable moment arises. Then through various means, all designed by the satanic kingdom, the man is attacked and deceived.
THE WHOLE ARMOR
Ephesians 6:10 says, "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might" (emphasis added). This verse indicates that the armor of God is for the "brethren"—all those who are saved and blood-bought.
Ephesians 6:12 says: "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly place" (emphasis added).
Ephesians 6:14-18 explains every part of the armor and its purpose. The passage begins by telling us to put on the armor in order to stand. This word "stand" is histemi in the Greek, and it means, "to abide in established covenant."
When we stand, we abide in the covenant promises of God. Putting on the whole armor of God is a part of this covenant. God's covenant promise to us is that no matter how mad the devil gets, and how evil times get, He will keep and protect us.
Personally, I find it easier to go from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet when I put on my armor. After I am spiritually dressed (head to toe), I take up the sword of the spirit and the shield of faith and go forth equipped for the evil day.
EACH PART HAS A PURPOSE
Every individual piece of the armor covers a vital part of the body such as the head, heart, loins or feet. The armor also covers our offensive and defensive positions against the enemy in the spirit.
The helmet. The word "helmet" in our armor of salvation is perikephaiaia in the Greek, and it means to encircle and protect the head. When we wear the helmet of salvation, it empowers us for continual renewal of the mind. The mind is a spiritual battlefield, and without the helmet of salvation it is impossible to have a victorious life in Christ Jesus (see Eph. 6:17).
In the military, going outside without a head covering was unheard of. I was brainwashed to believe that this was unacceptable. If your head was not covered in wartime, the enemy could easily detect you from above and target you for attack. This is why our caps and helmets were made to fit in with the scenery so that enemy forces flying above us could not identify us.
The prince of the power of the air can easily identify believers who do not wear the helmet of salvation. I am convinced that people who end up in backslidden states took their helmets off at some point.
The breastplate. The breastplate of righteousness covers the chest. In the days of the Roman soldiers, true warriors wore a breastplate for battle. This part of the armor is very important because it covers the heart. To be righteous means to be in right standing with God. To do this we must guard our hearts (see v. 14).
The word "breastplate" is thorax in the Greek. It means a "a breastplate or corset consisting of two parts and protecting the body on both sides from the neck to the middle."
I have a sister who is a police officer in Jacksonville, Florida. I can easily relate the breastplate to her bulletproof vest. When she is on duty, she is never without it. At any time she can walk into a dangerous altercation and be under fire.
Because we do not know when the enemy will attack, we should put on the whole armor of God every day. Surely we need the breastplate daily to guard our hearts. Witchcraft flows freely through dirty hearts. A dirty heart is a heart that is not right with God. Dirty hearts create wrong spirits. I have met prayer warriors who were powerful, but had wrong spirits. They got off course by allowing the wrong seeds to be planted in their hearts.
David was a great prayer warrior, and he prayed, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me" (Ps. 51:10).
The belt. The Bible says that our loins should be girt about with truth (see Eph. 6:14). Oh how we need loin truth in the church today! This word "girt" in the Greek is perizonnumi, and it means, "to be fastened with a belt."
I do not think that it is by chance that this part of the armor covers our private parts. It is only the truth that can keep even a believer sexually pure. I have met with some of the greatest men and women of God, and they have admitted either to being trapped or almost trapped by seducing spirits.
Let's look at the fall of mankind. The death that Adam and Eve experienced was not natural death. They lived hundreds of years after the fall.
In Genesis 2:25 (before the fall) Adam and Eve were both naked. It is interesting that after they fell, the Bible declares their nakedness as if they never were earlier (see Gen. 3:7). Apparently this was a different kind of nakedness.
In Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, the Hebrew word translated "naked" in Genesis 2:25 is arawm, and it simply means to have no clothes on. However, in Genesis 3:7, after the fall, the original word for "naked" is eyrom, which comes from awram, but means "to be made bare." That is, "to be removed from under the covering of God."
We do not have to be uncovered in the private areas of our lives, especially when it comes to sexual purity. God gave us a way out before the enemy ever laid his snare. If you are a man or a woman bound by sexual impurity, repent and go the other way!
Girt your loins about with truth, and walk out of the enemy's stronghold. Just as the enemy had a tailor-made trap, God has a tailor-made deliverance for you.
Pray, and then contact someone whom you can trust. You will need support, and God has someone for you. Seek counseling, deliverance and accountability. If you attempt to walk out your deliverance alone, the enemy will snuff you out.
The shoes. It is important that our feet are shod with the gospel of peace (see Eph. 6:15). The steps of a just man are led by the Lord (see Ps. 37:23). This is the covenant that we have with God concerning covering our steps. We may make some mistakes, but God ultimately delivers us into victory.
When the book of Ephesians speaks of the gospel of peace, the word "peace" is the Greek word eirene. When our feet are shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, it prepares a path for our way to be prosperous. There is also a rest released, and we are at one with the will of God for our lives.
The sword. Here the sword is both an offensive and defensive weapon. The word "sword" is machaira in the Greek, and it is defined as an instrument of war for judicial punishment.
It is related to the Greek word mache, and this word is used to convey controversy, fighting and striving. The sword of the spirit is a weapon used for war.
Weapons are made to attack and to protect. A sword can be used to stab or to stop a blow. Though this part of the armor is offensive in nature, it also has a defensive operation.
Ephesians 6:17 declares that the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. This is the part of the Word of God that judges our enemies. In biblical times God brought the sword upon the land to judge the enemies of His people. This was the case with Babylon (see Ezek. 33:2). We do not use the Word to judge our enemies, but when we carry the sword in obedience, the Word of God automatically judges them.
The shield. The shield of faith, or thureos in the Greek, is described as a large "door-shaped" shield in the spirit. Based on this, I believe we can say that using the shield of faith closes doors to our enemies. Ephesians 6:16 says that above all we should take the shield of faith so that the fiery darts of the wicked will be quenched. This is a very important part of our defense in spiritual warfare. A shield covers and protects. Without this part of armor, doors can be opened to ignite the darts of evil in our lives.
Praying in the Spirit. Many do not see this as part of the armor of God. Ephesians 6:18 reads: "Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God's consecrated people)" (The Amplified Bible).
Praying in the Spirit is the part of the armor that we use offensively, but it becomes a defense to those for whom we stand in the gap. As we release a weapon of prayer, our enemies will be shut down.
We have to pray in every biblical manner, especially "praying in tongues." I believe that those who refuse or neglect the gift of tongues in their lives have a big hole in their armor that causes them to be less effective in the kingdom.
Every person in the body of Christ should be putting on the whole armor of God. God has given each piece to us. No part works alone.
Ephesians 6:13 reminds us that the days will be evil. As a believer, you will be under attack. The whole armor of God helps us to ward off the attacks of the enemy.
These revelations may seem too radical to you if you are in a comfort zone. But those in the household of faith must take a radical position against the wiles of the devil. The motto of the natural army is to be "combat ready." In other words, every time a training exercise is called, soldiers must be ready to respond as if it is a real war.
God is calling His church to a "real war" mentality. Do not be afraid of what is new to you. Allow these revelations to put a demand on your spirit to go to the next level. I challenge you, plunge into the deeper things of God.
Kimberly Daniels is the author of several books and pastor of Spoken Word Ministries.