“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” (Ephesians 6:10-12).
You may have heard this passage of scripture many times. Some Christians pray through this passage everyday, one by one declaring that they are putting on the armor of God (Sword of the Spirit, Breastplate of Righteousness, and so on). But is this what is meant by putting on the whole armor of God?
There’s nothing really wrong with praying such prayers. They help us stay focused on the spiritual rather than the earthly. But we should focus on one specific term when we take Ephesians 6 into account. It’s that little phrase Paul uses when he says, “The strength of his might.” What might? What is Paul referring to?
Since Paul takes great pains to lay before us the spiritual nature of our warfare, it naturally follows that the armor is spiritual too. And it begins with the, “Strength of his might.” Where does that strength come from? Only from the Holy Spirit.
Regular weapons, which Paul refers to in his analogy, are good for earthly battles. But only the power of the Holy Spirit, who indwells us, is good for spiritual battles. Only the Holy Spirit can defeat the spiritual rulers, authorities, cosmic powers, and the spiritual forces of evil. No such evil can stand against the Lord, the Spirit. And what, specifically do we battle?
“The weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” Then Paul describes those strongholds. “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (II Corinthians 10:4-5). This means that when we engage is sharing Christ and helping others to know him better, we are engaged in spiritual battle. For every person whom we lead to Christ, we stab a mighty thrust into the enemy, who is defeated when people stop living for sin and instead begin to live for Christ.
“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (II Corinthians 10:5)
How do you expect to do spiritual battle today? Earthly battles usually happen with intent. We don’t step into battle on accident. So too, be intent with your spiritual battles. Look for someone to share Christ with. Help others overcome spiritual deception and learn how to walk rightly in Christ.