The following article comes from my outline and notes from a study I did, and class I taught in 2001, on Spiritual Warfare. I point this out, because I have the luxury of looking at our history over the past 11 years since I conducted my study, and, through the lens of my life over the past seven decades. I can clearly see how we as Christians are under an ever increasing attack. From my perspective, the war seems to be reaching a fever pitch. I have called this new article ATTACK/COUNTERATTACK. The first part was my analysis of the Attack. This is the conclusion of my thoughts and is Part 2- Counterattack.
Part 2- Counterattack
Let me restate what I said at the conclusion of Part 1: I can say with all certainty, the war has been won, however there are numerous battles yet to be fought, with the final battle yet to come.
Sometimes I think we fail to remember what God told us in His word at the very beginning of mankind’s existence.
Genesis 3:14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
The Cross was the ultimate defeat of Satan!
I have seen and heard Christians as well as “New Agers” say: If the war has been won, why does God allow Satan to continue? This type of thinking often surfaces when there are tragedies in people’s lives, or when there is devastation from either man-made or natural disasters.
I do not profess to know the mind of God, however I do think that His word offers some insights, and some possible explanations for the most asked question-WHY?
- To develop character & faith in the believers.
James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
1Peter 1:6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
1Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
- To keep the believer humble and demonstrate that Jesus is our strength.
The apostle Paul told this to the Church in Corinth from his personal experiences.
2 Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
2Co 12:8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
2Co 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
- To provide a conflict in order that the believers may be rewarded through overcoming.
1John 2:14 I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.
The apostle John explains just what the reward is for overcoming the wicked one a few verses latter.
1Johnn 2:25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.
1Johnn 2:26 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.
Again John tells the 7 churches in Revelation:
Revelation 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
Revelation 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
Revelation 3:22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
You may or may not agree with the above, however, I think you will agree that as a nation founded on God’s principles, the United States as a whole, has failed on the majority of these test.
When I write about a Counterattack, the first thing that may come to your mind is what type of weapon is he talking about?
If you recall from part-1, this is a Spiritual War, not a Fleshly War. This is a war in, and for our minds. Our Weapons and our armor go hand in hand; you cannot be effective in your battle with Satan, if you don’t have both. In fact, many of our weapons =our armor, and our armor=our weapons. That may sound confusing, but let me try to explain by an analysis of Ephesians 6: 10-18.
I think this is the foundational scripture in God’s word concerning Spiritual Warfare.
Eph 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Eph 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Eph 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Eph 6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
Eph 6:15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
Eph 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
Eph 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Eph 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
If we look at this scripture verse by verse, I think there are key words that help us understand the parallels of armor and weapons, and how they all come together in our Counterattack.
Verse 10– Key words:
be strong- Who supplies this strength? Answer- God!
Power of his might – The battle is the Lords.
Verse 11– Key words:
Put on – We must dress for success each day.
Be able to stand – Paul tells us three times in these verses to stand. I Interpret this as holding the ground Jesus has already won.
Verse 12– Key words:
we wrestle not against – It will be a struggle, and it will be hard.
Verse 13– Key words:
be able to withstand in the evil day – It does not say if the evil day comes, but when it comes. If you are having an easy time of things now, you need to get ready, the evil day is coming.
In verses 14-17- It’s no accident that Paul’s description of our armor is based on the dress of a Roman solider of that day. The Ephesians could relate to this analogy very well.
Verse 14– Key words:
Your loins girt about with truth – Your tunic would be tucked into your belt for mobility, and your sword and breastplate would be fastened to your belt. We must know the truth of God’s word because Satan is a liar. The belt of truth keeps us from replacing God’s word with our feelings. I have heard people say: “I don’t want anyone telling me how to live my life.” They don’t want to hear the objective truth when it comes to the Spiritual word, and the saving of their souls. But, when it comes to worldly things that really matter; they want to hear the objective truth. I don’t think we would have much confidence in our Doctor if we heard them say:” I think this is where I should cut.” Or, to overhear the Pilot say to the Co-Pilot: “Which button or leaver should I pull?” And finally, to hear our Pharmacist say: “Try them, see what happens!
Breastplate of righteousness – The breastplate protect your heart. I am not sure Christians today truly appreciate the righteousness that our Lord has bestowed on us. You may say, oh H.C. how can I be righteous? My life is a mess! Well, I’ve got news for you, you can’t, but God can! When we fall, we must get up, and with a repentant heart confess our sins, and we will be forgiven. (See 1 John 1:9) Righteousness is not something we practice, it s our identity.
Verse 15– Key words:
your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace – As I mentioned, Paul talked about standing three times in these few verses. If we are to stand firm, we must have good shoes. We must also prepare, which I interpret to mean, we must study and know God’s word. God’s peace will help us stand firm in a world that is full of storms, especially when we can go to His word for solace. His peace can handle any storm that Satan may hurl at us.
Verse 16– Key words:
taking the shield of faith – I think the taking refers to the amount of faith that we have. How much faith do you have? Most of us know what the Hebrew writer described as faith. Heb 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Our faith is acting on the truth that you say you believe. Would you have had the faith to march around Jericho as Joshua did? Or, would you have dipped seven times in the Jordan as Naaman did? I suspect we would all hope that we would. But to put it in a modern day context, would you have the courage to claim Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior if some nut-job put a gun to your head and said to you, deny Jesus and you live?
If you keep getting hit by Satan’s firey darts, check your shield!
Verse 17– Key Words:
take the helmet of salvation – The helmet protects the control center of our body. If we lose control, just how effective can we hope to be? However, just as important, is the taking or putting on our helmet. We must wear our salvation, or as some would say, claim it, if we are to be an effective solider for Christ. If we know we are saved through Christ Jesus- We can fight from a position of victory. Our salvation allows us to say: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” – Philippians 4: 13.
I think some words of caution are needed concerning this verse. It has been my experience that many new converts to Christianity, or as some would say “Baby Christians”, use their newfound salvation to lord it over others, and especially those they may be trying to share the Gospel with. Often, they come across as condescending and have a “holier than thou attitude”. Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying, we never have to apologize for our salvation, but if we are going to be effective, we must wear our salvation in love. (See 1 Corinthians 13)
and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: – You may be saying, why didn’t he just explain the whole verse all at once. Please bear with me on this one; I think we are now getting down to the real meat of understanding weapons=armor. You might have noticed that this is the first time Paul actually mentions a weapon- the sword. A sword is an offensive tool, whereas, the items mentioned earlier in these verses, are primarily defensive in nature. This is not by accident. We must be protected by our armor, before we go into battle.
Also, you will note that this is not just any sword; this is the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. We are told that when we become Christians we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which is to be our Counselor, which will “guide us into all truth”. (See John 16) and (Acts 2) and, that the word of God that Paul refers to is the Greek word rhema, which I interpret as the utterance of God, or the word of God as spoken. We know that all of God’s word in inspired, (See 2 Timothy 3:16), However I think Paul is using the word rhema to give significance and to tell the Ephesians just how important this sword is in their protection against Satan. If we don’t understand God’s word well enough to use it against Satan, how are we going to defeat him?
Verse 18– Key words:
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit
Paul now tells us in verse 18, how we are to use our weapons. Prayer is the arena in which we fight and how we activate all our weapons.
What follows may offend some of you, but if your prayer life hasn’t changed in years, it is probably because your understanding and knowledge of God hasn’t changed in years.
Our prayer life should be what controls our lives, not just something we occasionally do. We should pray without ceasing, and there is no time not to pray. Whatever the need, there is a prayer that will fit that need. As Christians standing in the gap, I think God expects us to be a prayer warrior, praying not only for others and ourselves, but also for our nation.
I have often fallen short in this arena. I have stumbled, fallen down, been trampled on, and just about any other adjective you can think of. But one thing I have noticed, after the dust settles, my prayer life has usually been very routine, or in some cases non-existent. I have used every excuse in the book. I’m just too tired right now, I can’t consecrate. I’m too busy right now, I will do it latter. I have even said to myself, I don’t know how, or what to say. How many have you used?
I want to be like the widow in the parable in Luke 18. She would not give up, she wore that judge out. Wouldn’t that be a great way to have a prayer life?
By HC Johnson