The Christian’s Real Battle
- Know your enemy
- Know your weaponry
- Know your strategy
- Know your objective
- Stand your ground
I. Know Your Enemy
There is no grosser or greater misrepresentation of the Christian message than that which depicts it as offering us a life of ease with no battle and no struggle at all.
David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Christian Warfare, 20.
I am certain that one of the main causes of the ill state of the Church today is the fact that the devil is being forgotten. All is attributed to us; we have all become so psychological in our attitude and thinking. We are ignorant of this great objective fact, the being, the existence of the devil, the adversary, the accuser, and his ‘fiery darts’.
And, of course, because we are not aware of this we attribute all temptation to ourselves. So the devil in his wiliness will have succeeded admirably. We become depressed and discouraged, we feel that we are failures, and we do not know what to do.
So the second answer is to remind ourselves of the devil himself, to expose him, to rip away the camouflage with which he always hides himself.
David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Christian Warfare, 292.
Many contemporary Christians seem to be unaware that there is a war in progress, or if they are, they consider it to be fought at a purely human level, and therefore earthly resources will be entirely adequate for conducting the campaigns.
Peter Thomas O’Brien, Pillar, 470.
Mention of the “schemes” of the devil reminds us of the trickery and subterfuge by which evil and temptation present themselves in our lives. Evil rarely looks evil until it accomplishes its goal; it gains entrance by appearing attractive, desirable, and perfectly legitimate. It is a baited and camouflaged trap.
Peter Thomas O’Brien, Pillar, 464.
We must not imagine, therefore, that open persecution and open temptation to sin are his only or even his commonest weapons; he prefers to seduce us into compromise and deceive us into error.
John R. W. Stott, The Bible Speaks Today, 265.
II. Know Your Weaponry
Belt of truth
2 Corinthians 4:2–3 (ESV) — But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.
Breastplate of Righteousness
1 Peter 2:12 (ESV) — Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
Shoes—readiness given by the gospel of peace
Isaiah 52:7 (ESV) — How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
Shield of Faith
The devil’s darts no doubt include his mischievous accusations which inflame our conscience with what (if we are sheltering in Christ) can only be called false guilt. Other darts are unsought thoughts of doubt and disobedience, rebellion, lust, malice or fear. But there is a shield with which we can quench or extinguish all such fire-tipped darts. It is the shield of faith.
John R. W. Stott, The Bible Speaks Today, 281.
Helmet of Salvation
Sword of the Spirit
III. Know Your Strategy
Ephesians 1:18–21 (ESV) — having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.
Ephesians 3:16 (ESV) — that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
IV. Know Your Objective
2 Timothy 4:17 (ESV) — But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.
This may help to explain Paul’s surprising response to his circumstances. Instead of expressing feelings of self-pity or resentment, or of requesting prayer for his release from prison, he revels in his mission. Paul did not hide, apologize for, or defend the fact of his imprisonment. His sufferings were not to be a source of disappointment for his predominantly Gentile readers; rather, these afflictions were for their glory and led on to his intercessory prayer for them (3:13, 14).
Peter Thomas O’Brien, Pillar, 489.
Ephesians 4:26–27 (ESV) — Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.
James 4:7 (ESV) — Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
1 Peter 5:8–9 (ESV) — Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
The Context of Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians
V. Stand Your Ground
Conclusion / Application
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