THE CONQUEST OF THE ENEMY
In Eph 6:10-18 our Captain tells us that power to stand against the enemy depends upon our position and upon our protection.
Eph 6:10-11 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
In ourselves we have no power and we would have to succumb instantly to the attacks of the evil one. But “in Christ” oh! How different! Our Victor over Satan envelops us for we are hid with Christ in God. As someone has truly said, “Before the devil can reach your life to touch it, he must get through God and through Christ.” Our part then in the conquest is, calmly and confidently, to meet every onslaught of the enemy from our hidden position in Christ Jesus and to sing as we fight “The Lord hath given me the victory.” Then it will be ours in the conquering power of His might.
In ourselves we have no power to withstand the continuous attacks of the enemy against every part of our lives. But God has provided an armor that will protect at every point.
Eph 6:14-18, R.V., “Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; withal taking up the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: with all prayer and supplication praying at all seasons in the Spirit, and watching thereunto in all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.”
“Stand—-girded with truth.” The power of the deceiver lies in his ability to persuade people to believe him instead of God and thus to lead them into doubt, disbelief and error. The antidote to this deception is to abide in Him who is the truth. We should saturate our lives in the truth of His love, His faithfulness, His power, His holiness, His purposes—-in the truth of Christ Himself so that such truth like a girdle will bind us to Him in unswerving love and loyalty. But we need also to have Him, who is the truth, abide in us so that there may be nothing hypocritical, dishonest or shady upon which the prince of darkness can lay hold and use against us.
“Stand—-having put on the breastplate of righteousness.” Rooted in Him who is our righteousness and growing up into His own uprightness of life more perfectly day by day through the indwelling and working of the Holy Spirit, the believer can stand before every accusation of the devil with “a conscience void of offense toward God and men,” as the tall pine tree whose roots have hid themselves in the bowels of the earth resists the blasts of the winter storm.
“Stand—-having shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of peace.” Our walk is through a world of disorder. Thousands of things happen to us to cut, to bruise, to wound, to grieve, to rob us of the peace of God that passeth all understanding and to hinder our testimony regarding a Gospel of peace and joy and rest. Countless things occur, many of them very trivial, which the devil rejoices to use to cause estrangement and misunderstanding. But the believer has the love of God in his heart so he is enabled to live at peace with all men. Over the mountain roads of Switzerland travelers wear heavy boots with thick soles, often with spikes, so that as they walk over the rough, stony paths they are unbruised, and over the ice and snow they are kept from stumbling and falling. They are rightly shod.
“Stand—-taking the shield of faith.” Conybeare’s translation adds to the understanding of this direction from our Captain by saying “take up to cover you the shield of faith.” How does the believer know from which direction the enemy under the cover of darkness will send forth a fiery dart, or at what point in his life it may be aimed? Paul speaks of “all” the fiery darts, intimating that possibly the devil sends many of them at the same time. There is great need that faith should be a covering. So the believer needs to walk in faith, to pray in faith, to speak in faith, to praise in faith, to live continuously believing in the faithfulness of God to keep that which has been committed unto Him.
“Stand—-taking the helmet of salvation.” The helmet is for the head. One of the most vulnerable places in the believer is his thoughts. Perhaps the devil finds entrance here more quickly than elsewhere. Is this not the reason why the apostle Paul exhorts Christians to think of things that are “true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report?” Every thought needs to be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ if the believer is to know how to refuse the thoughts that come from the evil one. Satan also finds an undisciplined, undiscerning mind an easy prey to his delusions and ofttimes an unconscious instrument in his service. Even earnest Christians are often gullible and commend a sermon that is saturated with the most insidious denial of the Person and work of Jesus Christ because it is couched in eloquent, fervent language and even flattering admiration of the Lord it betrays. If ever there was a time when Christians needed to put on the helmet of salvation it is now. And putting it on will mean such a thorough and intelligent knowledge of salvation in Christ as shall make the believer impervious to every satanic attack even in these days of growing apostasy.
“Stand—-taking the sword of the Spirit.” Jesus Christ puts into the Christian’s heart and hand the only weapon which He Himself used when He won that perfect victory in the wilderness. The sword of the Word of God, when used in the power of the Holy Spirit, is the mightiest weapon in this spiritual conflict. Satan cannot stand before “It is written” spoken out of the assurance of the believer’s own experience of its absolute trustworthiness and power. It is the spiritual man who has been taught by the Holy Spirit the very deep things of God who is best able to put the enemy to rout by the use of this powerful weapon.
“Stand—-praying in the Spirit and watching.” The Christian warrior clad in his protective armor is now ready for the hardest fight of the battle. It is “prayer and supplication in the Spirit and watching thereunto” until the enemy is routed. It takes a truly spiritual man to be a potent prayer warrior. True “praying in the Holy Spirit” leads him out of himself into intercession for the lifting of the whole Body of Christ to life on the highest plane for the victory of the ascended Head to be manifested in the whole life of each member of His Body on earth.
Thus the believer, who is deeply rooted in his position in Christ and who has put on the whole of his protective armor, is able to stand and to withstand every onslaught and attack of Satan. The ground gained for him by Christ is held by him for Christ and a steady and successful advance is made into the territory still held in the dominion of the evil one. The spiritual man becomes an overcomer and, one with his ascended Lord, rejoices in daily and hourly conquest in this spiritual conflict in the heavenlies.