Ephesians 6:10-12 Identifying and exposing the devil’s trickeries
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 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 firm.
Paul as a conclusion to his letter introduces a set of values system that can defend the church from the devil’s attacks and serves as an offense against the devil. The armor of God consists of six elements that represent six mindsets that believers must acquire. The devil’s operations at its inception are not physical but mental, working through the spirit and the heart of man, and it quickly leads to death and destruction. The armor of God allows us to see the devil’s movements, to protect ourselves from him and to destroy his works.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
Paul releases a call for believers to be strong and resolute, while being energized by the infinite power of God. Having this in mind, believers must reject all notions of possible defeat and persevere towards their eventual and total victory. However, it is critical that warriors go into battle fully equipped with the armor of God. This armor figuratively speaking is both defensive and offensive against the trickeries of the devil. The armor protects believers from the devil’s schemes and strategies that exploit the weakness of the believer through fleshly pleasures, pride, and deceptive teachings intended to distract believers from their calling. The devil usually works through immature and defenseless believers and leaders, using them to disrupt the unity and peace within the church.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
In a battle, it is important to be able to identify clearly the true enemy that is hidden; not everyone who shoots at us deserves our full attention for many are mere agents of distraction. Paul describes the enemy as not being apparent or obvious to an untrained eye. The true enemy is invisible; they are spirits with influence, wit and power that works among human agents, false prophets and misguided believers. Such spiritual forces organize themselves endeavoring to bring down the church in a systematic fashion. Rulers, authorities, cosmic powers, spiritual forces constitute Satan’s structure of demonic powers through which he attempts to rule the world. Therefore, the church’s endeavor is to eliminate the devil’s system of influence by proclaiming the gospel, by guarding the truth, by maintaining a holy reputation and focus on the calling, by fleeing from temptations and by keeping our spirit and the word perpetually sharp.
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 firm.
Therefore, we must put on the WHOLE armor and not leaving a single piece undone. The point here is having ALMOST all of the armor is equivalent to not having any armor at all: Therefore take up the whole armor of God. Every piece of the armor must be in place so that the community of believers may be impregnable against the ever-changing strategies of the enemy. As the church is in the last days, the enemy’s movement is becoming more difficult to detect. Thus, it requires not only the full armor, but also full perseverance: and having done all, to stand firm.
- Do not be distracted by agents of devil when he comes on to you, but understand the agenda of the evil spirit that is behind him. Many a times, the devil’s intention is not to rob us of our wealth but to distract us from our true calling of doing God’s work. Try to understand the devil’s trickery from the perspective of your calling. He tempts us into making wrong decisions so that he may rob us of the heavenly reward by losing precious time and opportunities to accomplish the Kingdom’s work.
- Do not underestimate the seemingly trivial sins in your life; they form unnoticeable cracks in your armor that the devil will exploit to bring your downfall. Thus, we must do our utmost to stand and not give as much as an inch to the devil: and having done all, to stand firm. One of the devil’s strategy is break up families through various strategies: by sexual addictions through pornography, by sowing discord between husband and wife and introducing a third party, by the lure of power and promotion etc.
- Do not think of how you could outwit your competitor or your circumstances but think how you could do the right thing. You may outwit your competitor, but you could never outwit the devil. The only way to render the devil powerless is do what is righteous even though it may seem foolish. Righteousness paves the way for God’s salvation to enter your circumstances; sin paves the way for the devil’s destruction over you.
- When it comes to solving difficult and complex problems, do you immediately look to “creative” and “unorthodox” solutions or do you investigate if proper processes have been followed? Do you look to God for the divine perspective?
- Do you have a tendency to be distracted by problems and lose focus on the primary objective of the organization? Do you put your personal agenda ahead of the agenda of the company? It may not seem logical to suspend your personal benefit for the sake of the company, but God will reward you in His way and time.
- Do you constantly find yourself being set back by the same weakness? Perhaps, its time to understand the spiritual forces that is at work in and around you by exposing it to the truth of God. Engage mature people who are able to help you overcome.
Dear Lord, help me to be wise, being able to discern the spiritual forces and strategies at work in my family, workplace, school and church community. I will not give-in to the devil by taking matters into my own hands. But with love and truth, use me to root out deception, enmity, and distrust in my family, workplace, school and the church. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.