Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Standing Up to Satan (Ephesians 6:10-18)

"Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to take your stand against the wiles of the devil" (Eph. 6:11).

The Christian life is a constant battle against the world, the flesh, and the spiritual forces of evil. When it comes to this final enemy, Christians are often guilty either of giving Satan too much credit or not enough. The threat of Satan is very real. Behind the allurements of the world, ungodly acquaintances, and heathen institutions is a sinister mind, scheming to cause Christians to sin. The evil forces watch us, they discover our weaknesses and aim their fiery arrows at our souls. They use people, wealth, talents, even our own thoughts to cause us to sin. Satan looks for every opportunity to use his power to bring about the downfall of God’s people. He does not tire of his diabolical work.

We would be very foolish to underestimate the power of Satan in this world and his ability to injure even the strongest saint. But, we would be just as foolish if we dwelled too much on Satan’s power. Like all creation, Satan is bound by the sovereign rule of God. He can do nothing without God giving him license. We see this evident in the life of Job. Satan could do nothing to Job without God’s permission. Satan is a tool in the hand of God to instruct, chastise, and humble the saints. By allowing Satan to penetrate the defenses of His army, God is not guilty of Satan’s crimes. He is simply permitting Satan to act in such a way that ultimately will bring about good for the church.

Because of God’s sovereign control over Satan, we need not fear him, but we must be on our guard. Calvin noted that Adam, while still residing in the Garden, was “carried away by the devil’s blasphemies.” Even though Satan is a defeated foe, we need to watch our hearts. Paul tells us to put on the full armor of God. Notice the armor is not our own, but God’s. We have no defenses or weapons to battle Satan on our own. We must rely on the grace of God and on His strength. We must maintain a strong faith in Him, be sincere of heart, and walk in righteousness so we won’t give Satan a foothold. We must fill our minds with the Word of God, so we can escape the temptations of Satan, even as Christ did in the wilderness. And above all, we must remain in constant prayer, that we might be strengthened and protected by the power of Christ.

Read Ephesians 6:10–20. List the various part of the armor of God. What parts of this armor do you find missing in your own life? What parts are very weak? How can these be strengthened? Next to each piece of armor, write out concrete ways they can be strengthened for the battle. Beginning today, put these ways into practice.