“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil…. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:11,16, ESV).
Paul is giving this teaching about the battle that we’re in and what we need to be victorious in it, what we need to pick up or put on. Notice, you can’t just acknowledge that there’s armor. Scripture doesn’t say “study the armor of God.” It says, “Put on the armor of God!”
This is one of the problems for many Christians today. We’re into a type of mental positivism and false triumphalism where it’s hard for us to talk about what really goes on in life. We’re all involved in warfare. Paul was involved in this struggle, and he’s one of the greatest Christians we’ve ever heard of. So if one of the greatest Christians talks about our struggle against the demonic forces that are arrayed under Satan, we should pay attention.
Our minds are where the warfare is, temptations to sin, to quit, whispers of despair, taking our eyes off of Christ.
If you hear anyone talking spiritual smack — “I’ve got to a place where I’m not even tempted by the enemy. I just have victory every place where I put my foot down.” — don’t ever believe them. We’re all in a battle. We’re all tempted. We all fight off discouragement. We all have to ask God for grace every single day. We need mercy because we all mess up.
Don’t tell me that’s not real because the battlefield is littered with people who were once preaching the gospel! Forget simply being a Christian. These were preachers and church leaders, and now they’re in rehab somewhere or have created great scandals and a mess in their church and city.
Some people lose out in this battle. They don’t put on the full armor. Somewhere the enemy got entrance. The arrow sticks. We must not lose sight of the battle we’re in right now, each day. We must encourage each other with these passages and help one another fight effectively as war rages on around us.
Jim Cymbala began the Brooklyn Tabernacle with less than twenty members in a small, rundown building in a difficult part of the city. A native of Brooklyn, he is a longtime friend of both David and Gary Wilkerson.