A well know passage that teaches us how to defend against spiritual warfare through the armor of God is Ephesians 6:10-20, you may have heard it before or have seen it next to a picture of someone dressed as a knight. This passage is extremely important in telling us what we should equip ourselves spiritually as we face spiritual warfare described within this passage.
What is Ephesians 6:10-20 about? Ephesians 6:10-20 defines what spiritual warfare is and how we actively fight against it. This passage defines the darkness that is against us, but does not leave us without hope but gives us steps to take in the strength of the Lord so we can stand against the evil one.
The book of Ephesians was originally written by the apostle Paul to the Church of Ephesus. Throughout the book, Paul talks about the importance of the Gospel and its effect on our lives as Christians.
He finishes out the book by giving us the armor of God to be prepared to face spiritual warfare which we will explore here.
What Is Spiritual Warfare?
When reading the passage Ephesians 6:10-20 we are given a perspective on the spiritual warfare that is occurring all around us. We are made aware that what we face day to day is not all about physical difficulties, but as Christians, we face a much greater battle that deals with the spiritual forces of evil.
Who are we against?
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 6:12
In verse 12, Paul describes what we face as Christians, he makes it clear that unlike warfare that happens in the physical world we do not battle against flesh and blood, instead, we face the authorities and the cosmic powers “over this present darkness.”
There are spiritual forces at work in the world and we wrestle against the spiritual forces of evil.
Yes, spiritual warfare is occurring all around us as Satan is fighting to keep unbelievers from seeing the light of the gospel and tempting believers to wander from our walk with God, but we also need to remember God and what he has done.
God sent his Son, Jesus to the earth as a human and died on the cross and was the ultimate sacrifice. When Jesus ascended following his resurrection, the Holy Spirit came to believers and today the Holy Spirit is fighting for us against the attacks of the enemy.
God triumphs over Satan in the end.
He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.Colossians 2:15
Spiritual warfare happens day to day and sometimes we don’t even notice. When sin tries to creep into our lives and distract us from following God, that is when we need to keep Ephesians 6:10-20 in mind to deal with anything trying to pull us away from God.
Throughout scripture, we see situations where spiritual warfare is occurring, Jesus calls demons out of those who were possessed, and when Jesus faced the temptations at the beginning of his ministry.
And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan.Mark 1:13
We also read other warnings and advice in scripture giving us insight into who we are against and how we stand against the evil in the world.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.1 Peter 5:8
It is sometimes easy to live without the view of what is happening in the spiritual world. We look at and focus on our physical life, we spend extra time on our work or physical appearance, or social media presence.
It is easy to ignore or forget about spiritual warfare when distracted, unfortunately, this is where the enemy wants us, he wants us to focus on the things of this world.
We need to realize the battle that is going on spiritually which Paul calls attention to in this passage.
God is actively protecting us, but we also need to not give an opportunity for the devil to attack.
Though we may not necessarily see what is going on in spiritual warfare, throughout scripture we are given glances at what is going on.
God tells us in scripture how we are to live in light of the battle Satan is waging.
How To Fight Spiritual Warfare
Spiritual warfare may seem daunting, we are given comfort throughout scripture, and particularly in Ephesians 6, that we are not fighting this alone, in fact, we cannot fight it alone.
Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his mightEphesians 6:10
We need to be strong in the Lord and in his might, not our own. Spiritual warfare is not against flesh and blood so no matter how physically we are ready for war we need Jesus to help fight for us.
In Ephesians 6 we are told to “stand against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11), “withstand on the day of evil” (Ephesians 6:13), “Stand firm” (Ephesians 6:13), and to “Stand” (Ephesians 6:14).
Paul goes on to tell us how we are to stand, but we are standing to not let the devil get a hold of us. The Lord is fighting for us we need to not be moved by temptations and distractions of the world that try to take us away from our relationship with God.
As Paul goes on the explain in Ephesians 6:14-17, our weapons and defense in this war are not the typical physical items but instead spiritual protection and weapons.
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.2 Corinthians 10:4
The armor of God can be the most quoted part of this passage about an approach to spiritual warfare, but we also hear Paul’s request for supplication for him and all the saints.
In Ephesians 6:10-20, Paul even speaks candidly, as he is in prison, and asks for prayers that despite his situation that may look like a hindrance to the gospel will in fact help it prosper.
Our approach to spiritual warfare is important, and we read what Paul has to say about how we are to live in light of the conflict.
Keep alert with all perseverance.Ephesians 6:18
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.1 Peter 1:13
Being ready for the spiritual conflict in our world means being watchful and prepared, not being distracted, and then caught off guard.
The devil does indeed scheme against the people of God, trying to draw us away from God. Our defense as Christians is to stand in the armor of God and not give the devil a foothold into our lives.
Paul writes in chapter 4 of Ephesians about not letting the devils even getting a chance to get into your life.
Give no opportunity to the devil.Ephesians 4:27
Not giving the devil an opportunity looks like living in God and his word. Equipping yourself with the whole armor of God represents living according to the Bible and not according to the world.
When we compromise we leave space for the devil to take a foothold in our life.
Imagine putting on the armor of God but not putting on something like the shield of faith or the sword of truth. You are then left vulnerable because you are not fully protected, we would not forget to be fully dressed and protected going into a real battle, and the same if for spiritual warfare we need to be fully protected to be able to stand our ground.
The Armor Of God & How To Apply it
Each part of the armor of God was selected by Paul for a reason and corresponded with the well-known Roman armor at the time.
Although today armor is not as common, we still understand the general principle of what armor looks like and its function to protect whoever wears it.
Belt Of Truth
Paul starts off with the belt of truth, knowing that truth is the foundation that we need to be rooted in God’s word.
Truth comes from God’s word and with it, we will have a greater understanding of God and how he is working. If we are not grounded and knowledgeable about the truth we will easily sway away from the truth.
Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth…Ephesians 6:14
We cannot center our life around anything except God and his word. When we try to there is only brokenness.
If you center your life on a person, that person will one day fail to leave you disappointed. Centering your life around items will also leave you empty since nothing in this world lasts.
Only in God and His word can we have eternal confidence.
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.John 8:31, 32
We need to be immersed in the truth of the gospel every day and know it, then when the lies of the enemy try us, we will know what is true.
Breastplate Of Righteousness
The breastplate of righteousness represents living righteous and the protection that it gives us. When we are living according to the Bible we do not let room for the devil to creep in and take hold of us.
Having put on the breastplate of righteousness…Ephesians 6:14
The definition of what is right according to the world compared to what scripture says is right is very different. As Christians we take our standard of righteousness from the Bible, we are called to live like Jesus.
Day by day we strive to live righteously, it takes time as we grow in our understanding of scripture but the Holy Spirit guides us as we become more like Christ.
It is important to remember that this is not in our own strength, but God is working in our hearts and lives.
By living righteously guards us against the temptations that come and try to persuade us to live how the world wants us to.
The Gospel Of Peace
Now it is time to turn our attention to our feet,
As shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peaceEphesians 6:15
Jesus is the Prince of Peace, and as Christians living in a world full of chaos, we encounter the world prepared, having the gospel of peace with us that gives us this readiness.
Both the readiness and the peace that comes with the gospel helps keep us grounded as we live in light of the spiritual warfare going on around us.
As Christians, we will face trials, but the good news of the gospel helps us to encounter this world ready and prepared.
Shield Of Faith
The Shield of faith in Ephesians 6:16 protects us, and Paul even specifies what we are using it to protect us from.
In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;Ephesians 6:16
We clearly read that the evil one is attacking us and even more specifically with flaming darts.
These flaming darts are can be anything that is actively impeding you from growing in your relationship with God.
The shield of faith protects us but is rooted in not only our admittance of belief in God but in how we live out our faith practically, and seriously live as a follower of Christ.
Helmet Of Salvation
Our head is pretty important and the Helmet protects our head. The devil will try to attack us in many ways but one way we experience often is through our thoughts.
The helmet of salvation is protecting us, and only through Christ, salvation comes from nowhere else except through Christ.
And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.Acts 4:12
As we take the helmet of Salvation we yet again need to remember that although we have a responsibility being a Christian that God works in our lives and thankfully our salvation does not rest on us and what we do but the saving work of Jesus on the cross.
Sword Of The Spirit
The sword of the spirit is extremely important in our battle with the devil. Paul tells us exactly what the sword of the spirit is.
The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…Ephesians 6:17
The word of God is our weapon, and it is such a powerful weapon against the devil.
We read in the gospel how the devil despises the word of God, and how Jesus himself uses scripture to resist temptation.
Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to himMatthew 4:10-11
Jesus used scripture when tempted by the devil, he knew scripture and used it in a powerful way.
This is an example for us, when temptations come at us or we are attacked in other ways from the devil, we have the word of God as a weapon.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.Hebrews 4:12
Studying the Bible is for our own good, and not just for our intellectual good, but because of the way it strengthens us and grows us as Christians.
Memorizing scripture is the same way, we want to remember the promises of God so no matter what the situation we can fall back on the truth of God’s word.
Because of the fall, we mess up and sin, and Satan will try to come in and remind you of your unworthiness and failure.
When we are active in reading God’s word and praying, is when we will be grounded in truth and be able to refute the devil’s lies.
As spiritual warfare is occurring around us we need to focus on God and His word. We need to stand against the schemes of the enemy. We need to put on the armor of God daily.