The closest I’ve ever come to body armour is shoulder pads, shin pads and a mouthguard in a high school rugby league competition. I was in the position of fullback and we were playing Blacktown High School. But the protection was still insufficient and I ended up with a broken arm because of a poorly timed tackle.
The apostle Paul instructs Christians to put on the armour of God because we are in a battle with the spiritual forces of evil and the dangers are significantly higher than a broken arm. (Eph.6:10-20). The Christians in Ephesus who are told to put on the full armour of God were surrounded by significant demonic activity, both in the worship of a greek godess Artemis (Acts 19:35) and significant sorcery/witchcraft (Acts 19:18-19). Ephesus was a dark, pagan and occultic city.
Yet, Paul did not want the Christians in Ephesus to be overly worried by this demonic activity. Paul makes it clear that through faith in Jesus Christ the church members have been liberated from “the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who at now at work in those who are disobedient” (Eph.2:1-10). Paul wants Christians to know that although they are surrounded by evil spiritual forces, they are safe and secure in Christ. Jesus is seated “in the heavenly realms far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come” (Eph.1:20-21). God has placed all things under Jesus’ feet” (Eph.1:22).
In the discussion of spiritual warfare it is important that Christians who have come to faith in Jesus do not have undue fear about that which is pagan, occultic or demonic. For greater is he that is in Christians, than he that is in the world (1Jn.4:4). But neither should Christians be naïve or complacent about Satan’s schemes by which he attacks the church both directly and through personal agents. In Ephesians 6, Paul writes;
Eph.6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
Although Christians are saved by God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, we are saved for good works which God has prepared in advance for us to do (Eph.2:8-10). One of the good works God has prepared for us to do, is to stand firm against Satan’s attacks in the full armour of God. Indeed, it is by putting on the full armour of God that we are able to take our stand against the devil’s schemes.
The Devil and the spiritual forces of evil
Paul states that in order to be strong in the Lord we should put on the full armour of God, so that we will be able to take our stand against the devil’s schemes (Eph.6:10-11). Paul encourages Christians to realise that there are opponents in life that are not only physical, but also spiritual. The church is in a battle against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Eph.6:13).
The devil, Satan or Lucifer is the major antagonist of evil in the Bible story. The devil first appears as a snake in Genesis 3. He twists God’s word and encourages Eve to disobey God (Gen.3:1-3). Despite God’s teaching Eve not to eat the fruit on the tree in the middle of the garden, the devil tells her; “you will not surely die.” This was both deceptive and false. The devil is the first thing we discover in the Bible that is not good.
In Genesis 3 we also learn that God has cursed the devil for his deception of Eve and consigned him to destruction by one of Eve’s future offspring (Gen.3:14-15). The child who ultimately crushes Satan head is the Lord Jesus Christ. But what is the origin of Satan and the spiritual forces of evil?
The Bible is clear that God made everything that exists both in the visible world and the invisible world (Col.1:15-17; Jn.1:1-3). Only God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit is eternal, without beginning or end. The Bible also says “God saw everything that he had made and it was very good.” (Gen.1:31). Consequently, we must conclude that Satan himself was part of God’s good creation.
In the book of Job it says “that one day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD and Satan also came with them.” (Job.1:6; 2:1). In Revelation 12, we are told that Satan and his angels lost their place in heaven and were cast down. It says that “the archangel Michael and his angels, fought against Satan and his angels but he (Satan) was not strong enough and they (Satan and his angels) lost their place in heaven… He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him (Rev.12:7-10). It seems right to conclude that Satan was an angel and perhaps even an archangel who was cast from heaven for mounting some sort of coup de’tat against God.
Isaiah perhaps speaks of Satan’s fall from heaven when he writes;
Isa.14:12 How you have fallen from heaven,
morning star, son of the dawn!
You have been cast down to the earth,
you who once laid low the nations!
13 You said in your heart,
“I will ascend to the heavens;
I will raise my throne
above the stars of God;
I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,
on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.[b]
14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.”
15 But you are brought down to the realm of the dead,
to the depths of the pit.
Perhaps Ezekiel also speaks of Satan’s fall when he writes;
Ezek.28:12 ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“‘You were the seal of perfection,
full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
13 You were in Eden,
the garden of God;
every precious stone adorned you:
carnelian, chrysolite and emerald,
topaz, onyx and jasper,
lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl.[b]
Your settings and mountings[c] were made of gold;
on the day you were created they were prepared.
14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub,
for so I ordained you.
You were on the holy mount of God;
you walked among the fiery stones.
15 You were blameless in your ways
from the day you were created
till wickedness was found in you.
16 Through your widespread trade
you were filled with violence,
and you sinned.
So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God,
and I expelled you, guardian cherub,
from among the fiery stones.
17 Your heart became proud
on account of your beauty,
and you corrupted your wisdom
because of your splendor.
So I threw you to the earth;
I made a spectacle of you before kings.
Although the Isaiah passage is directed against the King of Babylon and the Ezekiel passage directed against the King of Tyre, there is biblical basis for believing these prophecies may not be directed solely against the respective kings, but also against the evil spiritual forces at work behind these kings.
A historical contemporary of Isaiah and Ezekiel is the prophet Daniel. In Daniel 10, the prophet has a vision where one who looks like a Son of Man is delayed because “a prince” of the Persian Kingdom opposed him. Daniel is then informed the archangel Michael helped the one like a Son of Man to overcome this prince of Persia. The context makes it clear that this prince of Persia is a spiritual entity, just as the archangel Michael is a spiritual entity. But this spiritual prince of Persia is also linked to the human king of Persia (Dan.10:13). There is a spiritual entity behind or present within the human king and his activities.
If Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 are speaking in a similar manner to Daniel 10 then it is perhaps right to see that the downfall of the King of Babylon and the King of Tyre speaks typologically of the downfall of the spiritual entity behind them. The elevated language of calling either the King of Babylon or the King of Tyre, the morning star or guardian cherub, suggests more is taking place. The King of Tyre certainly wasn’t in Eden, the garden of God, but Satan was present. Consequently, in the history of the Christian church many have believed Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 speak of Satan’s fall from grace. The name Lucifer used in the King James Version of the Bible is actually a transliteration of the word “morning star” in Isaiah 14:12.
The spiritual forces of evil that Paul warns us about in Ephesians are to be understood as Satan and “his angels” who were evicted from heaven by the archangel Michael. Like the rest of creation, it appears that Lucifer (the Morning Star) was orginally created good and was the seal of perfection (Ezek.28:12). He was blameless in his ways until wickedness was found in him (Ezek.28:15). Because of an unweening pride to usurp God as God (Isa.14:13-14; Ezek.28:17), Lucifer was cast from heaven and became the evil antagonist we know in the Bible as Satan, the devil, Beelzebub and the father of lies. But like all God’s creatures Satan remains a created being. He is a powerful creature. But he is still a creature. He is not God’s equal. He is simply a fallen angel wreaking havoc while he too awaits the final judgment of Jesus.
The Devils Schemes
In Ephesians 6 Paul tells Christians to put on the full armour of God so that we might take our stand against the devil’s schemes. The devil’s spiritual attack on Christians is not a brute power, but a scheming deceitfulness. His power is largely lost once Christians understand Satans schemes.
Satan’s scheming is first revealed in Genesis 3 as he comes alongside Eve. Satan comes alongside Eve, presenting himself as part of God’s good creation (a snake) while twisting God’s Word. The Bible leads us to believe that in God’s perfect creation a child could play in both a cobra’s den and a vipers nest (Isa.11:8). So in God’s original creation, before the fall, there was no fear attached to snakes. They were part of God’s good creation.
Satan rarely presents himself as the evil creature, that is his true identity, for fear he will be rejected. Rather, in his deceptive ways, Satan always pretends to be an ally and at times, even a friend. The apostle Paul tells us that Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. (2 Cor.11:14). This is part of the devil’s scheme. Satan comes alongside Christians as a friend or ally and poresents himself as something good before he endeavors to lead us astray. We need to remember the old adage “appearances can be deceiving” for this is part of Satan’s scheming.
Many scholars have also observed that Satan’s interaction with Eve involved appealling to 1) the lust of the flesh, 2) the lust of the eyes and 3) the pride of life (1Jn.2:16). These are things that the Bible calls the desires of this world.
First, Satan convinces Eve that the fruit was good for food (lust of the flesh) Then Eve sees that the fruit was pleasing to the eye (lust of the eyes) and it was also desirable for gaining wisdom. Particularly, Eve is told that by eating the fruit she will become like God (the pride of life). What pride and arrogance for a creature to think they could be like their Creator. Eve succumbs and falls into sin, encouraging Adam to join her.
Some Christian scholars have also noticed that Satan follows a similar pattern in Lukes gospel when he tempts Jesus in the desert (Luke 4:1-13). First, Satan twists God’s Word in the Bible and appeals to Jesus’ hunger. Turn these stones into bread (lust of the flesh). Then, Satan takes Jesus up a high mountain and shows him all the kingdoms of the world, offering to give them to Jesus if he bows down (the lust of the eyes). Finally, Satan tempts Jesus with pride. He tells Jesus you are the Son of God and you are so important that God will command his angels to catch you if you throw yourself off the temple (the pride of life). There are noticeable similarities between Satan tempting Eve and Jesus. But where Eve fails, Jesus remains faithful.
In these interludes some of the devil’s schemes are exposed. Satan likes to appeal to our humanity and especially our sinful humanity. The lusts of the flesh for food, drink and sex are strong. The lust of the eyes for shiny possessions or spectacular positions in society run deep. The pride of life to be more than others or even be like God is a tantalising prospect. Satan’s schemes include pressing these buttons in all of us in order to achieve his purposes both in non-Christians and Christians.
The Father of Lies
In John’s gospel, Jesus tells unbelieving Jews that God is not really their Father. He says; “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (Jn.8:44)
Satan is a liar and a murdurer. Lying is Satan’s natural language by which he robs us of true life. Just as Satan masquerades as an angel of light, rather than revealing himself truly as an angel of darkness, so he presents all sorts of things as “true” when in reality they are lies. This is one of Satan’s most devious schemes. Sometimes the lies are directly applied to our minds (through temptation) and sometimes through a deceptive intermediary. More often than not Satan’s lies are half truths, even Scriptural truths taken out of context, masquerading as whole truths. Then Satan tells us that going against God’s Word will not end badly. This is a lie. It is an echo of Satan’s words to Eve – “you will not surely die.”
Satan and his intermediaries, both knowingly or unknowingly, tell us that sin in all it’s manifestations of adultery and sexual immorality is a good thing. Lying, gossiping and slandering other people is also presented as being ok, with no negative consequences. Then, believing Satan’s lie and giving into temptation we reap the consequence of our actions. We sow to the wind and reap the whirlwind (Hos.8:7). If we are true born again Christians we will not lose our salvation. But we will reap the negative consequences of our actions in the form of discipline from our loving Father (Heb.12:4-11). This means we must be wary of all thoughts, mediums and/or teachers that promote things that are contrary to the Bible. The Bible is God’s truth and anything that directly contradicts the Bible is a lie, coming from Satan.
But the lies of Satan may not always be encouraging direct disobedience of God’s Word. Many of Satan’s lies are an attack on our person, especially if we’ve had a traumatic childhood. Satan continues to tell us things about ourself – our value, our nature and our abilities that are also untrue. The Bible says that each and every person is “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps.139:14). But Satan may lie to people that they were an unwanted accident or that they are useless and unloveable. The Bible says, “we can do all things through Christ, who strengthens us.” (Phil.4:13). Satan tells people that they will never amount to anything. Believing such lies brings discouragement, despair and paralysis.
In Revelation, Satan is also called the accuser of the church, who accuses us before God day and night (Rev.12:10). But Satan doesn’t just accuse us of wrongdoing before God. At times Satan accuses us directly and personally of not being worthy of heaven. Or he makes us believe that one of our sins is unforgiveable. In such direct attacks on our personhood and status as Christians we must choose to believe what God says and not what Satan whispers. His words are all lies and deceit designed to steal, kill and destroy (Jn.10:10).
Slavery through fear
The second tool Satan uses against Christians (and people in general) is fear. Particularly, Satan likes appealing to our fear of missing out (FOMO). Satan said to Eve “God knows that when you eat from it (the tree) your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Gen.3:5). Eve was suddenly concerned that she was missing out on the knowledge of good and evil. This fear then led her to doubt the goodness of God. Was God holding back something good from her? Sadly, Eve not only believed Satan’s lie, she also gave into the fear she was missing out and she failed to trust God.
The Bible says that Jesus’ death for us was meant “to break the power of him who holds the power of death – that is the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” (Heb.2:14-15). Satan holds people in slavery by their fear of death. Death is a powerful and scary unknown. So, men and women will do all sorts of things to avoid death and they will do all sorts of things to try to add significance to their life before death. Satan exploits this fear of death in order to pull our strings. This also is part of his scheming.
Apart from lying to Christians directly, Satan also adds the fear that if people obey God they will miss out on the good things this world has to offer. For instance, if a Christian tithe’s their money they will never save that house deposit. If a person limits themself to only dating Christians, they’ll never get married. Satan uses the fear that life is short and people might miss out to undermine their faith in God’s Word. Then, when Satan is succesful in undermining people’s faith in God’s Word – all sorts of other fears and anxieties begin to overwhelm them. If people do not confront these fears and intentionally choose faith in God’s Word, worry and anxiety will often begin to shape their life.
The most common four-word phrase in the Bible is “Do not be afraid” says the Lord (Gen.15:1; Rev.1:17). Sometimes this is accompanied by the the words “for I am with you” says the Lord (Isa.43:5). The greatest expression of God being with us and for us is the Lord Jesus Christ. The man Jesus Christ was known as Immanuel, which means God with us (Matt.1:23). The Bible is clear that if God is with us in Jesus who can be against us (Rom.8:31). The great surprise is that God is still with us and for us after all that we have done as sinners.
Human beings have all sinned against God and deserve to be punished for their wrongdoing. People have been tempted into sin by Satan. People have also given in to their own fleshly desires and done things they know are wrong. Such conduct has hurt ourselves, hurt others and offended God. God’s righteous and just verdict is that man deserves to die. Man is destined to die once and after this face judgment. (Heb.9:17) But, in His great love for us God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to save people from this fate (Jn.3:16). As Jesus died on the cross, he took the punishment for mans wrongdoing. Jesus loved us so much that he went through the most horrendous death conceived by man so that sinful people can be forgiven and saved. How many people do you know who love you that much they would die to save you? Probably not many! But then, after three days, Jesus also rose from the dead proving not only that he was God’s Son, but also that he is powerful to help people with even their deepest fears. Jesus’ love and power is a great antidote to fear.
The Bible says that if you believe Jesus did this for you and ask God to forgive you, He will. God will then come into your life by the Holy Spirit to help you live a life pleasing to Him. As Christians who know God’s love for them, in the death of Jesus and God’s power to help them in the resurrection of Jesus, should no longer be controlled by fear. If God loves people that much, He will die for them and he has resurrection power to help them, what is there to fear?
Therefore, if Christians know what God wants them to do because there is a clear command in the Bible, but they find fear is holding them back, then it is time to choose faith. Christians must learn to triumph over fear, by exercising faith in God’s Word. Faith must triumph over fear in the Christian life and it does. The exercise of faith in God’s Word becomes self-vindicating. When we trust God’s Word, we discover it is trustworthy and works. So over time it becomes easier to trust God’s Word even though we still at times be afraid.
What about the flesh?
The Bible says “when tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (Jam.1:13-15). This is a significant verse because it explains that when Satan’s tempts people, he tempts them by appealing to their own sinful desires.
Although Christians are justified by faith in Jesus, they are still undergoing a process called sanctification. Sanctification is the process whereby the Holy Spirit is gradually making believers more fit for heaven through the washing of God’s Word (Jn.17:17; 1Tim.4:5). This means that at any point in time Christians will have some holy desires and some worldly desires depending on how much the Spirit has sanctified them. Some of our thoughts will be godly and some of our thoughts ungodly. As Christians we are meant to keep in step with the Holy Spirit, but sometimes we sin and give in to our old way of life.
This is the normal Christian battle with the flesh or old self (Eph.4:22-24; Gal.5:16-17). In our Christian walk we are constantly battling our fleshly, carnal desires and sometimes we may only be battling our fleshly, carnal desires. At times Satan and the forces of evil may not be directly present in the struggle. It may simply be our sinful, fallen flesh. If, we have established bad, ungodly habits, over significant time breaking those patterns of behaviour can be difficult. At this point the battle is primarily with the flesh.
The battle with the flesh is primarily one of self-control. Eating is good, but gluttony is sin. Wine can be good, but alcoholism is destructive. The fleshly desires are not necessarily bad. But they become bad when they are exercised in a way (or in a degree) that is out of step with God’s Word. In such circumstances it may not be necessary to uncover the schemes of Satan or the lies and fears controlling you. There may be no lies. There may be no accompanying fears. It may simply be a fleshly desire. The answer is to confess the sin to God, ask for his forgiveness, ask for God’s help, rely on God’s grace, get an accountability partner to check in with and be patient. Sometimes the battle with sin is won simply by exercising faith and repentance within the Christian community. But other times it is worth thinking about the lies and fears and fleshly desires Satan is using to enslave us.
The belt of truth and the sword of the Spirit
The first piece of armour that Paul instructs Christians to put on is the belt of truth and the last item is the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Eph.6:14; 6:17). The belt of truth is meant to encircle the waist. In spiritual battle the first thing Christians need to do is secure God’s truth. Given that Satan attacks us with lies and deceit – the best counter is to know God’s truth. The only thing that can reveal lies, is truth. So, the better Christians know God’s Word and attain a biblical worldview, the better they will be equipped in the battle.
The belt of truth also holds the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Eph.6:17). The sword of the Spirit is an offensive weapon. Not only does God’s word protect Christians from the lies of Satan, the Word of God enables Christians to advance on Satan’s domain. As God’s truth divides the lies and deceit of Satan, people are liberated and brought into the Kingdom of light (Heb.4:12).
Please also note that the sword of the Holy Spirit is the word of God. In spiritual battle Christians often look for quick fixes or supernatural intervention. Some Christians will advocate saying a particular prayer multiple times, others will suggest cleansing your house with holy water or denouncing family curses (especially if there is a free-mason anywhere in your family’s past). But what Paul advocates is taking up the Word of God. Since Satan’s schemes against us primarily involve lies, the key remedy is truth. The better we know God’s word in the Bible and establish a truly biblical worldview the better we will become at standing firm in Satan’s attacks.
The breastplate of righteousness and the helmet of salvation
It is often noted that the breastplate of righteousness is covering our heart and the helmet of salvation is covering our mind. This may be significant. What we know is that both the breastplate of righteousness and the helmet of salvation are items designed to protect perhaps the seat of emotions and the seat of reason. The nature of armour is that it protects and gives people security in the midst of battle. Although the blows of war may come, the armour gives us the assurance that the assault will cause no real damage.
The breastplate of righteousness is designed to protect and provide this sort of security. Christians are credited with Christ’s righteousness by faith alone in Jesus, not good works. When people believe in Jesus as their Saviour and Lord all their sin is credited to Jesus upon the cross and all his righteousness is credited to their account. This truth is called justification by faith and it means that Christians are now fit for heaven because Jesus’ righteousness has been credited to their account. This means when God looks at Christians, he now sees Christ’s righteousness. So although Satan accuses Christians, telling them their good works are not enough for God – Christians remain secure knowing Christ’s righteousness has been credited to them. As justification by faith is truly grasped it becomes a breastplate that covers the heart of believers protecting them from fear and despair.
Similarly, the helmet of salvation adds security to our mind. There are many Christians who don’t really grasp their salvation in Christ. They fail to grasp that Jesus has paid for all their sins past, present and future. They faill to grasp that nothing in all creation can separate them from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus (Rom.8:38-39). As Christians Satan cannot snatch us from Jesus’ hand (Jn.10:28-29). The helmet of salvation again speaks of Christian security. Although Satan often attacks the minds of believers the helmet of salvation assures them they are still secure in Christ. For Christians to really have the helmet securely fixed they must truly understanding that the security of their salvation rests in Christ and not in themselves.
When Christians fail to grasp the assurance of their salvation in Jesus, it makes them liable yet again to Satans use of lies and fear to enslave. When Christians start to believe they are not good enough they begin to give up. Or if Satan can convince Christians that they are losing the battle in a particular sin it can cause them to despair. But when Christians have the breastplate of righteousness firmly over their heart and the helmet of salvation securely upon their heads – they have assurance of salvation in Christ and do not give way to fear.
For Christians to retain this security in the midst of battle they need to have a clear understanding of justification by faith (breastplate of righteousness), penal substitutionary atonement (helmet of salvation) and perhaps the perseverance of the saints. They will need to hear their pastor tell them; “the Old, Old story; that Christ Jesus makes me whole.” Their own bible reading will also remind them of this truth.
Shield of Faith
The shield of faith is the main counter to fear. Since Satan uses fear to enslave people and control people, faith is the answer. Specifically, faith in God’s Word. Faith is not only the way people are saved. Faith is also the way to live a Christian life that is pleasing to God. Christians need to be not only hearers of the Word, but doers of the Word (Jam.2:14-19). Christians who find themselves getting anxious or fearful about obeying some part of God’s Word, must lift the shield of faith and fend off all the flaming arrows of irrational fear. At times this use of the shield will require an intentional choice of faith, that may be counter to everything we feel. Faith is trusting that God is good in all that he asks us to do regardless of how we feel about doing it.
Feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace
The gospel is the good news that all sinners can be saved by faith in Jesus as Saviour and Lord. If you believe Jesus died for your sins and ask God to forgive you – you will receive eternal life. Christians have been told that we must share this good news with everyone we can because people are perishing and will go to hell without faith in Jesus. The gospel message keeps Christians looking outwards towards the needs of others. Gospel feet keep Christians other-person centered in their orientation of life.
Satan however tempts Christians and all people with a self-centered orientation of life. Satan appeals to the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. Satan’s temptation is always self-oriented and self-centered. But gospel feet are other-person centered and therefore counters Satan’s temptation to self fulfilment.
Pray in the Spirit, be alert.
It is worth noting that prayer is not actually listed as part of the armour. Nor is praying in the Spirit a particular type of prayer, like praying in tongues. Praying in the Spirit is simply normal Christian prayer whereby we commit all our anxieties in life to God (Phil.4:4-6). Paul writes in Romans; “the Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry “Abba Father.” The Spirit himself testifies to our spirit that we are God’s children.” (Rom.8:15-16). Now thankfully as Christians pray, the Holy Spirit reduces their fears and anxieties by assuring them that they are God’s children. The Spirit testifies to believer’s spirits that they are God’s children, perhaps even at a subconscious level; “Do not be afraid, for I am with you says the Lord.”
Yet, prayer itself is not so much part of the armour as the general Christian way of life in which all the armour should be appropriated. It is only in a real relationship with God where believers call on Him as their Heavenly Father that they can expect victory in the battle. Even if God supplied a person with all the bits of the armour – the belt, the breastplate, the sandals, the shield, the helmet and the sword – it would be useless without a personal relationship with God. The answer to life’s battle is not 6 pieces of armor, but God Himself. Only God can defeat Satan and so in all things Christians must rely on God to give them the victory. Prayer, by nature, is the humble acknowledgment that we need God’s help in all things – even the putting on of the armour and the wielding of the sword and shield.
The final instruction is to be alert. It is not right for Christians to be ignorant or indifferent to spiritual warfare. Paul is adamant that our battle is not only against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. So, prayer and alertness are exhorted upon those who take God’s word seriously. Christians must be mindful of Satan’s schemes; his appeal to the desires of the flesh, his lying to us about what is good and his use of fear to manipulate us. Then grasping Satan’s schemes believers should parry, block and at times even cut and thrust with the tools God has provided. Yet Christians do all this while remaining confident that Jesus has already won the battle, knowing they are totally secure in him.