The Great Masquerade
When we read Ephesians 6:10-18 this is the picture we see. We use our understanding, our experiences, and we envision a mighty warrior preparing for battle as we have seen in the movies, and read about in books. Yet Ephesians very clearly states “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Our greatest battle, is not one for land, it is not for our country, or even for our lives here on earth. Our greatest battle is against the spiritual forces of evil, it is against the Devil, the powers of darkness that lure us away from God, away from his eternal grace, away from endless Joy. Again we create a picture of this in our minds, a picture of some hideous dark creature with horns and a pitchfork, flames all around him, chains in his hands to tie you to his will and drag you into darkness. Oh if he was so recognizable. This battle may not be easy, but at least we would know who we are at war against.
Yet as Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians, “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light”. We surely can’t expect him to fight fair. You see he comes to us with what seems right, or at least “Almost” right. He puts things in front of us that appeal greatly to our desires. You may think I’m talking about power, wealth, fame, happiness, things that we believe everyone wants. I guess I am, but then again, I’m saying what Satan offers doesn’t always need to be our ultimate desires, but maybe just a little something that doesn’t seem so bad, or maybe not bad at all. You see, Satan can use “Good things” to lure us away from God’s will. I have fallen prey to this so many times, I have seen beautiful, wonderful situations, people, and things in my life that have ultimately kept me at a distance from the grace that is so readily available to me in Christ.
That, my friends, is why I need the Full Amour of God…
The Belt of truth buckled around my waist: The Word of God is truth, Jesus is the Truth. With that belt around me, my robe is secure. With God’s Word holding me together, when I see something desirable in front of me I can test it against the truth.
With the breastplate of righteousness in place: My heart, and my breath can only be protected by the righteousness of God, as I face the schemes of Satan, His righteousness owns my heart, and I will not give it to darkness. When I seek his righteousness always, my heart remains focused on him, and nothing will come before him.
With my feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace: The Gospel of Jesus Christ has taught me how to live. Has shown me the Will of God, therefore I am ready to stand firm against anything outside of that Will. When I know what God wants from me, I can discern what he does not want for me.
I will take up the Shield of Faith, to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one: If I trust in God in all things, If my faith is without waver, I will not be pierced or swayed by direct attacks of evil. Sometimes Satan comes right at us, with tragedy, loss, pain etc. My faith in God that he will provide, he will protect, and he will save is the only shield I need to divert these arrows.
I will take the Helmet of Salvation: that promise that my God has made. That hope that he has given me, that I can live forever in his Kingdom. When my mind falls weak, when I “think” things look dark, this helmet is what reminds me that God is there for me. It refreshes my hope, and protects my thoughts from defeat.
And the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God: A weapon like no other, a weapon used by Jesus against Satan in the desert. Surely a weapon we all should use when evil confronts us. Think of it as our “Excalibur”, and just as Arthur was pure enough to wield it against his enemies, if we seek only his righteousness, we too can strike down our enemy with this mighty sword!
And Finally Prayer: “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” – On ALL occasions with ALL kinds of prayers AND requests. ALWAYS keep on praying for ALL the Lord’s people. Couldn’t be more clear…constant prayer, for everyone, “without ceasing” as Paul said to the Thessalonians. And “Give thanks in all circumstances”.
So yes, there is a war…a war for your heart, for your soul, and for your eternity. That war isn’t being fought here in the physical world, although it sometimes seems it is. It isn’t the people, or situations that are against us, it is the forces of evil that have won control of their hearts and are trying to gain control of ours. It is up to us, each and every one of us, to stand firm, to put on the Full Armour of God, and rebuke darkness. Deny temptation a place in our hearts, and seek Him and his righteousness.
Pray for discernment, pray to recognize the potential for darkness in what may not be an “Angel of Light”