Satan’s strategy against many today is to simply convince them that he does not exist. If that strategy fails then he will try and convince believers that they must face him alone. Some self-confident Christian soldiers believe his lie and think they are in a one-on-one fist fight with the enemy. Sadly this often results in too high a view of self and too low a view of Satan. On the other hand some wounded-and-weary soldiers believe his lie and shrink back in fear at the thought that Satan is real and aims to destroy their faith. In both cases the problem is the same, namely… we have believed the lie of the devil that Christians must fight alone.
Paul tells a different story in Ephesians 6:10 where he summons Christians to “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.” Stand against the devil we must, but we stand against him in the mighty power of God. Here’s three reflections in light of this confidence building truth:
1. Be aware of the enemy, but do not fear him.
Paul makes clear that we are in a war. He describes the enemy very clearly and points out his schemes. Nonetheless, he does not sound afraid (see Eph. 6:10-17) but rather confident of victory. He calls the trouble we face in life a “present darkness.” That word “present” is a glorious reminder that our enemy is doomed. Martin Luther’s hymn makes this clear,
“And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.”
2. Realize this is God’s battle, your command is to stand.
We fall into many dangers when we think this is just about us and Satan. This in fact is what Satan wants us to believe. For when we think this way we care very little for the glory of God and much to much of ourselves. The war that we must stand in is a war between God and Satan. Our daily temptations are but minor battles in the war between Satan and God. When we understand this we find powerful new motivations to stand in the conflict. This also helps us to know our role in the battle. Christ calls the charge and leads on from the front victoriously. We follow behind him eager and ready to stand firm in the faith against the evil one.
3. Remember that the armor you’ve been given is the very armor of God.
This armor is not only provided by God… it is his armor! It is the armor that God himself wears in the Old Testament (Isa. 59). What Paul is reminding us of here is that God is for us and therefore no one can stand against us. No weapon formed against us shall remain (Isa. 54:17). The armor that we are clothed in is infused with the mighty power of God. There is no reason to fear the enemy and there is no rationale for standing alone. We stand against the enemy by faith in the promises of God. As we trust him we find strength, indeed we find what it means to “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.”