On October 9, 1934, King Alexander of Yugoslavia visited France for an official visit.
Before he left his warship, he dressed in the full uniform of a Navy admiral. However, the uniform’s tunic did not fit easily over his bulletproof vest, so he removed the vest. As he was riding through the streets of Marseille, a gunman jumped out of the crowd and fired a shot that pierced the King’s heart. And he died.
If he had worn the bulletproof best, King Alexander would have survived. Apparently, he was more concerned with feeling comfortable and looking good in his uniform than being protected.
Alexander’s failure reminds us that we need to be prepared, protected, and proactive because we’re engaged in a spiritual battle and are susceptible to those who would harm us. Our text today tells us how.
While comedians joke about the devil, to the Lord and the inspired writers he is no joking matter. The devil is real. He’s active. Antagonistic. And our arch-enemy.
The Bible calls the devil the tempter. The evil one. The deceiver. The dragon. The serpent. The Father of lies. And the accuser and slanderer of God’s people.
The devil is devious, deceptive, and dangerous with his deluding devices. Through the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes and the pride of life, he seeks to ensnare and entangle us in the web of sinful activities. He calls evil good. Darkness light. And bitter sweet.
He pictures the pleasures of sin as desirable, attractive, and satisfying. Drinking, partying, fornication, adultery, and enjoying lustful entertainment are portrayed as gratifying and socially acceptable.
Thankfully the Lord is on our side. Paul reminds us that with God’s help we can defeat the devil. Through Him, we find strength, access His power, and are given the equipment we need for protection and preservation.
Be strong. Although God is on our side, courage must come from the soul within. Each Christian must furnish the will to win. Build yourself up in your faith. Study. Meditate. Learn. Grow. Minister. Exercise yourself in godly pursuits.
Stand. Four times in this text, Paul admonishes us to “stand.” Stand against Satan’s schemes. Stand up for truth. Stand up to oppose sin. Take a position. Let the world and other Christians know where you stand. Stand strong in your faith.
Pray. When you’re tempted, pray. When the devil entices you with alluring sinful pleasures, pray. When you feel weak, pray. When the war is raging and the battle is intense, pray. Don’t neglect prayer. Pray hard. Pray often. Pray aggressively.
God provides the equipment to engage in spiritual warfare both offensively and defensively. The metaphor of the Roman soldier’s armor was an apt analogy they understood. However, the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but spiritual.
The belt of truth. Just like the belt held the soldier’s tunic in place, and protected his core, our spiritual loins are girded with Truth.
The breastplate of righteousness. When a Christian is clothed in righteousness he’s fortified against Satan’s assaults. Righteousness and holiness are our spiritual bullet-proof vest.
The shoes of the gospel. To provide proper footing for the battle, to move easily and to stand firmly, we need the right footwear. That’s the gospel of Christ.
The shield of faith. The defensive weapon against the devil’s fiery darts is our faith. It’s a living, active daily faith. It’s trust. Confidence. And the assurance that is a buffer and bulwark to shield and safeguard us.
The helmet of salvation. Satan seeks to attack your mind. Your thinking. And the feelings that arise from our thoughts. However, a God-controlled mind focused on salvation can insulate us from the devil’s attacks
The sword of the spirit. This offensive weapon, which is God’s Word, is able to pierce the heart, prick the conscience and penetrate the soul of the Evil One’s emissaries.
Christian friend, we’re in a war. We’re fighting a spiritual battle against powerful forces for Truth. We’re combating to keep our hearts pure. Our families safe. Our churches faithful. And for lost souls that Satan has captured.
Warren Wiersbe was right when he wrote, “Sooner or later every believer discovers that the Christian life is a battleground, not a playground and that he faces an enemy who is much stronger than he is – apart from the Lord.”
Beware of our adversary. Trust in our Ally. Heed His advice. And put on your armor.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman