We must follow the counter strategy that our Lord has planned. We must put on “the full armor of God”. This armor will certainly protect us from spiritual attacks, because it is Christ and the blessings of salvation that belong to us through our union with him. Since the apostle will present this in detail in the following verses, we will discuss it more fully “piece by piece”.
However, we must understand our responsibility to “put on” each part of the armor. Possessing a resource for protection is not the same as using it. My car came equipped with a system of lights. If I drive it in the twilight or at night or in poor weather conditions like fog, those lights help protect me. But I am responsible to turn them on when necessary.
Every day we must put our armor on. This is not a legalistic ritual, though people have a remarkable talent for making anything legalistic! I am not talking about putting something on a daily checklist, mumbling a “putting on the armor” prayer, and then feeling self-satisfied. “I put my armor on! Did you put your armor on?” No, the Holy Spirit is directing us in the Word to a daily fellowship with the Lord in which by faith we rely on his resources.
We must stand our ground. At this point some paint pictures of passivity, wrongly imagining that the apostle is recommending that we curl up into some sort of spiritual fetal position and let the evil ones beat on us! What kind of general would order that posture for his soldiers? Generals equip their soldiers to enter combat, to engage the enemy, and by standing firm, to drive the enemy from the battlefield. How did Chamberlain defend the extreme left of the Union Army on Little Round Top? He stood firm against repeated attacks, and then with his equipped men drove his enemy away.
How do we stand or resist successfully the enemy? (These suggestions are based on teaching by Martyn Lloyd-Jones.)
- Don’t feel unhappy or discouraged because you are in a battle. Your Lord has called you to battle, fully equipped you, and promised you his strength. A spiritual battle is an opportunity for the Lord to demonstrate his glory through you.
- Don’t feel frightened in the battle. Certainly we must never under-estimate the power of the evil one, but the Lord’s power is greater. Yep, you’re going to be hit, but by grace, you’re going to strike back with the fear of the Lord hitting the enemy.
- Don’t be lazy! Take your stand! Don’t expect someone to carry you or to fill your spot. Get in the battle line. “Hate what is evil” (Romans 12:9).
- Never give thought about retreat. Stand to the last!
- Keep alert (1 Peter 5:8-9)
Grace and peace, David