Study by Timothy M. Youngblood
Copyright © The Master's Table
Satan attacks in as many ways as there are human weaknesses. He is a master manipulator and knows just what will make us give up and sin. As long as we are in this flesh we can sin any sin that humans have ever committed, bar none. Please never make the mistake in saying "That is the most gross thing to do! Why, I would NEVER DO THAT!! "Remember the Titanic, when they christened the ship they stated "The ship that not even God could sink!!" The results of this statement is history. If we say we will never do it, then that is the sin of self-righteousness, and God may very well teach that person some humility. In many cases that humility will be taught by receiving the same weakness as we have judged. Remember the scripture that states "Judge not, that you be not judged. "For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. Matt 7:1-2. Well this not only means that we could receive the same condemnation as we condemned but as we read in another scripture, "Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things." Rom 2:1.
The consequence of sin is so intensely devastating that the sorrow, pain and human misery can only be recorded by God alone. God hates sin and loves us so much He gave His only begotten son Jesus the Messiah to redeem mankind from its binding curse. John 3:16-18. The question is... how do we Christians fight against Satan and his demons that we have no power over nor can even see? Satan is much more powerful then we are and he knows us inside and out. We know God has saved us by His grace through the righteous blood of Christ, however, we still need to grow in righteousness, we still desire to overcome our human nature that is against God. Rom 8:7. "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be." God knows we need help to overcome and has provided a way for us to do just that. It's not an easy quick way that He has provided, but it's a sure way that will bring many blessings with it.
Paul was burdened with this very real problem as the rest of us are, and I'm quit sure he thought and prayed about it many times. We see a possible result of his answer to this problem of overcoming when Paul emphasized the importance of putting on the WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD so we would be able to withstand the cunning attacks of Satan and his demons. To understand just what this means and to become skilled in its use at a moments notice we must do a point, by point study, and then pray for God to allow us to internalize these points in our minds. Let's read what Paul wrote.
Eph 6:10-18 "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints--"
(1) "Girt your waist with truth"
To girt is to encircle or bind about. To wrap oneself completely with the truth would insure us not only to never deceive, but never be deceived. We read in II Th 2, "Let no one deceive you by any means; but the true quote in the Greek is..."Not anyone you should deceive in any way
The way this verse is mistranslated causes us to worry about deception, however, if all people would practice the true meaning in all they did, then no one would have to worry about deception. The fact is we live in an imperfect world with imperfect people so we do have to be on guard. The more we love the truth the less likely we can be deceived though. The Old Testament views truth as an essential quality of God, signifying His reliability, dependability, and faithfulness. Deut 32:4. "He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He." Jesus stated that His word was truth and the truth will set us free. John 8:32-34. Anyone who has had an addiction, be it smoking, drinking, drugs, sex, eating in excess or gambling can understand the meaning..."to be a slave of sin." So we see that sin enslaves us and truth sets us free, but we must embrace or GIRT our waist with truth in our daily lives. Col 3:16-17.
We all know deceit is the opposite of truth and will consequently have negative results. Deceit is very much like a snare. The definition of trap is a device for BETRAYING, or tricking in an unsuspecting way. We deceive ourselves when we say sin is not sin, or we mask what we want to do with self-convincing excuses. The thing we must understand is that God will allow us to do what we want to do. It is His intent to give us all free moral agency to choose right from wrong.
Let's take one subject that is very important for our time now. I believe and can show in scripture that those that accept the mark of the beast will be condemned, but there are those teaching that those who accept the mark of the beast will not be condemned to eternal destruction. What is the truth, and how will the love of the truth or encircling our waist with truth keep us from damnation?
God in His great mercy has not condemned all people at this time, but contrary to the false teaching of misguided ministers, God will give all the same equal opportunity. Will the world during the great tribulation be deceived? We can read in II Th 2:9-12, where God will allow the people of this world to receive the truth, but they will reject it and receive condemnation. "The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not "receive" the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
Notice "they did not "receive" the love of the truth, that they might be saved." This denotes that they will be shown the truth but will reject it. The word "receive" in the Greek here is "dechomai" and means to "accept, or take". They would have had to been presented with the truth for them to reject it. The two great witnesses will be teaching the truth in great power to ALL the world during this time, so people will hear the truth. Also notice that those who will reject the truth, will reject it because they will have pleasure in unrighteousness. They choose evil over God, and that will be "their" choice.
If we reject Jesus we will be judged and cast into the lake of fire, but if we accept Jesus we will be judged and brought into His glory to live forever. God wants to know you love Him more than self; that you will choose Him no matter what. When we girt our waist with truth we are able to see clearly the many traps of deceit Satan lays out for us and always remember...Satan can never have power over you if you walk in God's Spirit of truth.
(2) Breastplate of righteousness:
The breastplate protects the heart, and without accepting Christ we can be destroyed by guilt and shame. When our spiritual heart becomes sick because of sin we tend to lose our desire for all that is good. Those who murder, steal, and commit adultery or those who are caught up in homosexual relations are sick at heart. If anyone tries to escape these sins they MUST put on the armor of God.
Many people have gone insane or committed suicide because they just could not deal with the guilt of what they had done or continue to do. Sometimes I can't help but wonder if many of the addictions we as humans suffer is nothing more than our escape from guilt from the last time we failed. This can cause a cycle of behavior that unless we break the cycle we will never escape. However, Christ offers a real way out of guilt if we will only accept and learn of Him. Righteousness denotes being free from sin or being justified by Christ's blood. When one accepts the blood of Jesus the Messiah and come under His protection they will begin to heal in the mind, spirit, and heart. The cycle of sin ends if we allow the mind and heart of Christ to work in us. Will we be healed overnight? Some of my addictions were erased overnight, and some were not. I had to fall into a great deal of the worst of sins after I became a Christian, because in my zeal, I became self-righteous. God had to show me that I was still flesh, and I needed to be humble.
Paul used righteousness three ways- 1) The ethical conduct demanded by God's law Rom. 7:7-12; 2) The higher standards of holiness, purity, & uprightness expected of Christians. Rom. 12:9-21; 3) The righteousness of God, which to Paul was represented by the (gift) of salvation through Jesus the Messiah. I Cor. 1:30; Rom. 3:25-26. We must accept justification (Christ's blood) in order to destroy shame and guilt which not only enslaves, but separates us from God our Father. Without accepting the righteousness and love of Christ we can NEVER be justified. We will die in our sins, thus forever being cut off from God and in this life, locked into the bonds of sin at the whim of Satan. The mother of Jesus, a cross or anything else can't save us. We can't overcome on our own power or will. The bible states where and how to salvation. Rev 12:11 "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Rom 3:22-24 "even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus," So if we are to fight against our own week nature and all the temptations Satan will heave our way, we MUST put on the Breastplate of righteousness!
3) Shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace:
This could be rendered - run preparing for the coming Kingdom of God. All we do and learn as we live our lives should be in growing in God's love and educating ourselves on becoming future priests and teachers in the soon coming Kingdom of God. The word gospel means "good news." The gospel is the wonderful message of God's plan of salvation for all mankind through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah, His only begotten Son. The New Testament calls this message the gospel of grace, the gospel of the kingdom, the gospel of peace, and the mystery of Christ. The gospel of grace is the good news that Jesus the Messiah is the Savior of the world and through His blood all who repent and believe in Him may have their sins forgiven and may enter into the Family of God.
It's the good news that when Jesus returns to the earth, He will set up His kingdom and the government of God. He will rule all nations as the King of kings and Lord of lords. The saints who are given immortality at the first resurrection will inherit the kingdom with Jesus Christ and will rule and reign with Him as kings and priests as is recorded in Rev 5:10; "And have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth." And in Rev 20:6; "Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years." (For more on this see study "Gospel")
The gospel must be preached to all nations as a witness before Jesus the Messiah returns to set up His Kingdom. Through the preaching of the gospel, God is preparing saints for His Kingdom by calling those whom He chooses to repentance and conversion at this time. Many that are being called may not respond, because they have other things they consider more important to do.
God had it recorded in Isa 52:7 that the feet of those who proclaim peace and salvation are beautiful to Him. So shod your feet with the gospel of peace and run this race to defend the true gospel with confidence that you will win and come out of trials with the fruits of God's Holy Spirit. When we do this we have the assurance that we can succeed in our Christian walk and the preaching of the gospel because we are pleasing God in our walk towards His soon coming Kingdom.
(4) The shield of faith:
The shield was used in battle to cover against sword or fiery arrows of the enemies. Faith is a word that has been misapplied in the general use of "have faith in God." To have faith in God is to believe God and trust Him because you know he loves you more than you can understand. We must know that God will always give us what is best for us. We MUST come to trust God with our very lives, because in the near future those who trust God will be saved . Not necessarily from physical death, but spiritual death.
Many preachers have caused people to think that all you have to do is believe on Jesus and you shall be saved. They say if you don't then you lack faith. (See mini study prayer/faith) Trust, loyalty, reliability, and dependability are attributes of God. Get to know God and He will prove you can have faith in Him. We have a choice, really get to know God learning to have faith in Him (our shield) or have faith in money, guns, drugs, ourselves, or some Church organization that tells their members they must follow them, in order to have salvation.
Many people will profess to believe God and angles exist, but when it comes to really believing Satan exists, and is a very dangerous foe that is out to destroy them, they just go about life as if he is a myth. So he gets ignored, and my friends, that's exactly what Satan wants. If you were out to defeat an enemy would you want him to know you were out to destroy him? Course not! Ask any General or military leader, and he will tell you the most effective way to destroy an enemy is by a surprise attack. The most effective way the police have found in busting drug rings is to infiltrate them with someone the ring- leader comes to trust and confide in. The way Satan is perverting doctrine in many Churches today is by sending in a man that looks, and sounds good. A man that is very much like our politicians. When this man attains the trust of the fellowship he then leads them into Apostasy and may even lead them into the beast system. Satan delights for you to think of him as a cartoon type old red devil; what can a cartoon do? Right! If we have faith in God, He promises to go before us in all our life, and all things will work to our good if we are called according to His purpose. Rom 8:2. So we need to add to our armor the shield of faith if we are to stand for the truth in these coming trying times. Remember Paul warned that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
(5) Helmet of salvation:
The helmet protects the head from injury, and it's in the mind where sin is conceived. Jesus the Messiah's salvation delivers us from the power of sin, but if we don't protect our minds we will slip into the sin all over again. Satan is the prince of the power of the air and can broadcast thoughts into our minds if we are receptive to him by thought or attitude. Anger, a spirit of revenge, paranoia, evil music, drugs, alcohol, or excessive lust can cause a demon to either harass us, or if these things are not put in check; a demon will be allowed to possess us. Salvation is a gift of God through Christ, but we must over a period of time be transformed by the renewing of our minds by the Holy Spirit in us. Rom 12:2 It is our loving Holy Father redeeming us from sin that helps us understand His love and the freedom of His holy law under grace; not the freedom "from" His holy law. Many believe that we are saved by His grace alone but the christian bible clearly teaches that we are to have works produced from grace.
In fact there are works of evil as well as the works of righteousness as we see recorded in 1 Tim 5:24-25. "Some men's sins are clearly evident, preceding them to judgment, but those of some men follow later. Likewise, the good works of some are clearly evident, and those that are otherwise cannot be hidden." And we read here in James 2:14, "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?" We find the answer on down in verses 18-20, "But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe-- and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?"
We should not continue living in sin that grace may abound, but become a new person in Christ bringing every thought into subjection not letting our thoughts just wander at will. If you do; just remember...the prince of the power of the air will put your thoughts in his order, so keep on the helmet of salvation always remembering who your God is, who your savior is, and keep your mind pure, and strong by keeping them on the things of God.
(6) The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
God's word is a two edged sword that cuts in both directions. We can use it to look into our own hearts and mind, or to fight evil wherever it may hide. Matt. 4:4-10. When Christ spoke a command the Holy Spirit that is the power of God performed the command. In fact Christ is the word (the logos) who came in the flesh with the same weaknesses as you and I with the possibility of sin; thereby the possibility of dying and being lost forever leaving mankind without a savior. But Christ overcame His own weak flesh with the sword of the spirit, and just as He used the words from the Old Testament to put Satan in his place as recorded in Matt. 4:4-10 we also must learn how to use the sword of the Spirit to fight, and defeat Satan the devil. James the brother of the Christ stated if we resist Satan he will flee, but notice...first submit to God. James 4:7-8 "Therefore "submit" to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you."
Jesus stated that "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." What a lot of people don't realize is that Word of God, which is Jesus, is also what brings healing to our physical bodies. When we pray for and are granted healing from God, He has to speak the Words that go out to us. His Words are so powerful that the sun and universe stay in their place by His command. The sea and land are separated because God spoke, and all things exist by the Words of God. His Words are alive and have great power to take life or raise the dead. The demons are even subject to the Words of God and they greatly fear His Words. When we alow the truth that comes from God to come into our minds we are in fact drinking in the Spirit of God and if we believe the truth of God we will become children of God to be born into the Kingdom at Jesus return.
The word of God is His word, not man's and if we are not careful with even the written Word of God as we drink it in, or speak it to others, we could find ourselves in trouble and even in trials for perverting the truth for our own gain and leading others to destruction. We need to really take to heart what God states as truth. I find many state that everyone has their own interpretation of the scriptures and I must say that we need to read what the bible states, and believe it. I have stated many times that we should not go to the bible with preconceived ideas and try to make them fit. We should be humble before God and let the Holy Spirit in prayer teach what is truth. In order for us to use the sword of the Spirit in our daily lives we must first study and come to know God's Word better than we know anything else in our life. We must come to love God and His truth. We must turn our lives over to God with all our hearts, minds, and souls. If we don't take seriously the real threat from Satan, and neglect the weapon God has given, how can we expect to win this spiritual fight for our crown?
7) Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit:
Prayer is our communication with God just as studying the bible is one of the ways God communicates with us. We are soldiers for Christ and a soldier is of no effect if he is not in communication with his commanding officer. A soldier can't just be out doing what he thinks is necessary to win the battle. No business could operate or grow with employees not communicating with the owner or executive in charge. Our constant spiritual training is very much dependent on our communication with God the Father through our elder brother Jesus, making decisions based on His instructions.
We must never forget, in our flesh dwells no good thing and if we are to be strong we must always go to the only true and righteous source that alone can give us strength and intervene in time of need. Heb 4:16. Sin separates us from God and one of Satan's devices is to make you feel so bad about yourself that you should just give it up because you will never get it right. Satan desires for you to feel that God is so feed-up with you that there is no reason for you to ask AGAIN for God's mercy. Satan delights in making you feel so guilty that you will not repent. In fact he wants your guilt to reach the point of depression that causes you to give up and go into sin headlong and just have a free-for-all. (Ever felt like that?) Jesus the Messiah stated we will win if we don't lose heart and quit. When we feel guilty we need to remember God knows our weaknesses and has mercy on us if we are trying. Remember, God knew you with all your faults and, weakness before He called you to repentance. Please understand that God looks on the heart and it is those that will not repent or even try that will be condemned. If we feel regret and shame for our sins then we are still in the game, and God will have pity on us. The big key to using this piece of armor is to get back to Jesus in prayer as soon as possible so Satan can't cause us to give up.
Remember this fact brethren the armor suits used many years ago did not have armor in the back so one MUST always be facing the enemy and engaged. Brethren; there's no failure except in no longer trying, and there's no defeat except from with-in; no real barrier except our own inherent weakness of purpose. If we don't see the importance of what God is doing through us, we will never come to the place in our lives that will become all changing by really stirring up the power of the Holy Spirit. We can become very strong when we determine to obey God and have the attitude of mind, and spirit, we want God's ways more than anything else, and then all things will fall into place. Never forget! God swore He will never leave or forsake us. Heb 13:5-6
There are seven parts to the armor of God, and they are given to help us combat Satan, our human weaknesses, and this evil world we live in. However, we can't use this armor effectively without the most important ingredient of all, the love of God! 1 Cor 13:1-8. Yes brethren, Put on the whole "Armor of God" and learn to use it in your daily lives and may God truly bless us all in this fight for our crown of life. My hope and faith is in Jesus' blood sacrifice and His promise to come back with a kingdom and I pray to see you in the Kingdom of God one day my friend.
If interested in more on this read: Fruits of the Holy Spirit as this ties in with the Armor of God.
Regards In Jesus' Service
Timothy M. Youngblood
Author/Webmaster of The Master's Table