I am thankful for the anchor of truth God’s Word provides. Man’s opinion will constantly sway, but God’s Word will last forever.
Not everyone knows, though, how to distinguish between personal opinion and the truth of God’s Word. That’s why deception is running rampant on the earth. The author of deception has been extending his influence as fast and far as he can reach.
Although you can often put names and faces to the people who make decisions that go against the Bible, it’s important to realize that people aren’t our enemy. The devil is. Paul writes to the church members at Ephesus:
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. (Ephesians 6:12)
People may allow the devil to work through them on occasion, but that doesn’t change the fact they aren’t our enemy. What they do need is our compassion and even our prayers. If the enemy has been allowed to work through them, their own lives must truly be in shambles because they’ve been yielding to the kind of influence that will kill them.
When Paul continues writing to the Ephesian church, he shares how we can protect ourselves from evil influence.
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. (verse 13)
It sounds like Paul’s telling us to stand by passively and get beaten by the enemy. The center reference column of an indices Bible will show differently. The words “withstand” and “stand” mean to overcome. Nothing about overcoming is passive; it is something we actively do. For us, we overcome by actively putting on the whole armor of God.
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 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, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; (verses 14–18)
You’re probably familiar with these pieces of armor, so let’s strengthen your faith further by taking a quick look at each one once again.
- Belt of Truth: We put on the belt of truth when we predicate our lives on the Word of God, our one source of truth in this world today. According to John 8:31–32, when we base our life on God’s Word, the truth we find in it will set us free.
- Breastplate of Righteousness: The breastplate covers the heart. Proverbs 4:23 tells that out of the heart flow the issues of life. Righteousness protects your heart against the enemy of your soul. Now, you don’t have the breastplate on when you act right and “forfeit” it when you act wrong. In your humanity, you will never get it all right while here on this earth. You have been made the righteousness of God in Christ; start seeing yourself as having right standing with Him.
- Shoes of Peace: Our feet need to be shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace. The Bible calls us peace makers, ambassadors, reconcilers, ministers of reconciliation—all of these things say to us that we are going to be happiest when we are ministering to somebody else’s need. If you’ve been having a hard time with something, get your eyes off yourself by ministering to someone else who has that same need. As you see the anointing flow through you and set them free, it will do you good.
- Shield of Faith: The shield quenches every fiery dart of the wicked. A fiery dart is representative of thoughts the enemy will fling your way. Thoughts that originate from him are easily identified because they produce fear, and God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). When fearful thoughts come, don’t entertain them—and don’t get in condemnation that they are there. The enemy brings fear-filled thoughts to everyone. The question is, what are you going to do with them when they come? Paul gave us excellent direction in 2 Corinthians 10:5. We should cast vain imaginations down and bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
- Helmet of Salvation: Your helmet covers your mind. Because you have the mind of Christ when you get saved, you have the capacity to fend off every negative thought that comes your way.
- Sword of the Spirit: The sword of the Spirit is your primary offensive weapon. The Word of God becomes your sword when you speak it. When you’re under attack or evil influence comes your way, go on the offense and speak the Word of God in your life.
Paul tells us we should encompass all of these pieces of armor with prayer by praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit. That can confuse people sometimes; they think, How am I supposed to “pray always”?
Prayer is a reference to communion. The way you “pray always” is by being mindful of the indwelling presence of the Lord. He never leaves you. He never forsakes you. He’s always there. If you’re mindful of His indwelling presence and the fact that the Greater One is alive in you, it doesn’t matter what you’re going through. You know the Creator of this universe is in you and available to you. When you realize this and walk in a place of a constant connection with the Lord, it’s a wonderful place to be.
So let these pieces of God’s armor be active in your life, encompassed by prayer and communion with God. As you walk in this light, you’ll recognize deceit of the enemy when it comes and his evil influence will not sway you. God’s truth will set—and keep—you free!