When the Apostle Paul was forced out of the city of Ephesus by those who hated him and by those who wanted to kill him, he continued to preach the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ from city to city. As he continued to declare the truth of God’s Word, it got to the point that people hated him so much that Paul ended up in a Roman prison.
It was while Paul was in prison that he wrote a letter to the church at Ephesus better known as the Epistle to the Ephesians. At the close of that letter, Paul encouraged the believers to put on the whole armor of God.
Paul understood, more than most, that being a believer and follower of Jesus Christ was not easy. Paul understood the moment you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you have enlisted in God’s Army and you are in the fight of your lifetime with an enemy so cunning and deceptive that he has many different names. His original name is Lucifer, but he also goes by the names of Satan, the Devil, your Adversary, the Evil One and the Wicked One. Jesus Christ referred to this enemy as the Prince of this world.
In Ephesians 6:10, Paul was inspired by Jesus Christ to write, “Finally by brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God that you might be able to stand against the wiles, (schemes, tricks, deceptive strategies, manipulations and temptations) of the devil.” And before Paul went any further, he shared with the church what the Lord Jesus wants every believer to know about our biggest enemy.
Jesus Christ wants us to know that our enemy, as the Prince of this world is so organized that he has divided this world into territories called principalities. He has delegated his authority in every principality to his demons and to his demonic spirits. Some of his demons and spirits are operating inside of people as rulers of darkness, while others are operating inside of people as spiritual wickedness.
That means our enemy is everywhere roaming like a roaring lion seeking and looking for those he can devour. And that is especially true for believers. Not only can he show up at the White House, but he can show up at your house. Not only can he show up at the crack house but he can show up at the church house. You can run into him at the barber shop, at the grocery store and even on your job. He can even show up at Bible study, at choir rehearsal and at a church meeting. He, or his demons or his spirits, can be standing beside you while you are standing in an altar call. And yes, he can, in some form or fashion sit beside you in the pews during a church service.
When Jesus told Apostle Paul to tell us to put on the whole armor of God, Jesus knew our enemy was able to get inside your mind and wreck havoc. He can also get into the mind of your wife, your husband, your children, your co-worker and even your pastor. So the Lord says put on the whole armor of God by making sure your loins are girded about with truth. Make sure you put on the breastplate of righteousness and that your feet are shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. He also said take with you the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit.
But in Ephesians 6:16, the Lord makes a very important distinction about the amour of God when he said, “Above all take the shield of faith, wherewith you will be able to quench all of the fiery darts of the wicked.” In other words, above all, keep and maintain your trust in God.
Satan, your flesh and this world can present to you certain facts that can cause you to slip, or to make bad choices or decisions. They can also present facts to you that can cause you to lose hope, to give up, or even to doubt your salvation. Facts can arise in your life that can cause you to even doubt God, His word and His promises. Ephesians 6:16 is telling believers above all, choose faith, (trusting the Lord) over the facts.
Abraham and Sarah ignored the facts and put their trust in God and had a baby when he was 100 and Sarah was 90. The woman with the issue of blood for 12 years ignored the facts and trusted the Lord to the point where she said to herself, “If I could just touch the hem of His garments I will be made whole.” She did and she was!
The young black man who has a criminal record, no education, no job, and child support to pay needs to be told to choose faith and ignore the facts. The single mom with children, living in the projects with no prospects for a good future, needs to be told to ignore the facts and choose faith. The person charged with a crime and looking at prison time needs to be told to ignore the facts and choose faith. All parents who are worried about their children because they are hanging with the wrong crowd and it looks like they are headed for a lifetime of trouble needs to be told to ignore the facts and choose faith.
When the facts say trouble is down the road, when the facts say the future is bleak, when the facts say I will never get a job, when the facts say nothing good can come out of this, when the facts say there is no way I can get out of the mess I’ve made, when the facts say all of the odds are against me, choose to put and keep your trust in God because, with God, nothing is impossible.
Gilbert Owens is a native of Roseboro and a guest columnist for The Sampson Independent.