I was in high school during the Gulf War. I remember getting to see the first videos of the war starting. Our initial offensive was called “Shock and Awe”. It was a way to use overwhelming force and incredible uses of power to dominate the enemy, to destroy their will to fight and to change their perception of what the battlefield was. This tactic works very well especially when combined with the element of surprise. It’s no wonder our spiritual enemy uses this tactic against us. How many times have you been hit out of the blue with continuous bad news?
The enemy of our soul hopes to paralyze us using shock and awe tactics. That’s why we always need to be prepared so we can respond the way Job did when Shock and Awe was used against him. In Ephesians 6, we read about the armor God has given us to withstand these attacks. Verse 13 says, “Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet” (MSG).
Because the enemy attacks us this way, the first piece of armor mentioned that God gives us is the Belt of Truth. We need to know the truth of who we are in Christ so we aren’t paralyzed by fear. Next is the Breastplate of Righteousness that covers our heart. We have to protect our heart because it gives us the will to fight. We are then given footwear to remind us to keep moving. We can’t stay still in this battle. Our Shield Of Faith helps protect us from all the things the enemy throws at us by keeping our trust in God. The Helmet of Salvation ensures we have a sound mind. The Sword of the Spirit puts us on the offensive using God’s Word. Finally, we can’t forget to pray. It keeps our focus on God, gives us to will to fight and keeps the battlefield in perspective. Using these, you can withstand the enemy’s Shock and Awe.
Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.
Ephesians 6:10-18 is a favorite passage of Scripture for many believers. These are Paul’s final words to the church in Ephesus, but they for us today as much as it was for them back then. He starts of his closing remarks by saying, “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. (Vs 10)” He us reminding believers that we won’t win fighting battles in our own strength. Our strength is limited and runs out, but God’s strength is perfect and limitless. We use the strength of the Lord when we pray to Him about our problems instead of using words of hurt and anger against others whom we perceive are attacking us.
He next tells us to put on God’s armor so that we will be able to stand firm against all the strategies of the devil (vs 11). The devil is constantly looking for ways to steal your joy, kill your testimony and destroy your walk with God. Paul understood this and told us to put on defensive gear. He knew that we would be attacked so we need to put on God’s armor that will help us to stand when we are attacked by the enemy. It’s not a matter of if the enemy will attack you, it’s when and how often.
I love this next portion. He reminds us that we are not fighting against flesh and blood, but against evil rulers, authorities of the unseen world, mighty powers in this dark world and against evil spirits in the heavenly places (vs 12). One of the biggest strategies of the devil is to confuse us about who our enemy is. He uses other people to attack us and our beliefs so that we will attack them instead of him. He takes a spiritual battle and causes it to be played out in the physical realm because he knows we will fight in our physical strength. We always lose fighting a spiritual battle in the physical because it uses our strength instead of God’s.
Paul then tells us to put on every piece of God’s armor so that we can resist the enemy in the time of evil and then tells us what they do (vs 13). He says we are to stand our ground with the Belt of Truth and the Body Armor of God’s Righteousness (vs 14). To be fully prepared, we need to put on the peace that comes from the Good News in the form of shoes (vs 15). Next he tells us about the shield of faith that protects us from the fiery arrows the enemy shoots at us (vs 16). Our heads are protected by the Helmet of Salvation and our weapon to advance is the Word of God (vs 17). Truth always defeats the enemy. Jesus used the truth of God’s Word to defeat Satan and we can too.
The final thing Paul tells us in this passage is probably the most important. In verse 18, he says, “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” If we are going to win a spiritual battle, we must use our words to pray to God instead of using them to attack people. Our power and defense come from prayer. Spending time with God is the only way we can survive the attacks of the enemy. We should be praying for ourselves as well as believers everywhere. We are always under attack in this world and this passage tells us how to win the war.