As a follower of Jesus, we need to be aware that we are not just an enemy of Satan. Ephesians 6:10 reminds us that we are a target of the “schemes of the devil (NASB).” We are not just in a one-on-one sword fight with evil, but as believers in Jesus we are the target of entire systems focused on destroying us and making us useless. Paul stated in Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (NIV).”
Because it is a spiritual battle we are in, we need to remember what the armor of God in Ephesians 6 is all about. As my pastor recently pointed out in a sermon on this passage, we are not battling people, but people who have been deceived by the evil systems of this world devised by Satan. That is why we should read verse 18 before we suit up for battle: “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints (NASB).”
We need to be immersed in the Spirit of God as we approach those who attack us and our faith in Jesus. We need to avoid making the battle personal so that we don’t approach others in the flesh. We need to persevere in presenting God’s truth and righteousness (14), His gospel of peace and faith (15 & 16), so that the Word of God and salvation (17) in Jesus will come through. Putting on the armor of God is an act of giving the battle to God, to let the Spirit of God work through us; to persevere and let God work in His time on the hearts of those we struggle with in faith.
This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him. – 1 John 5:14-15 (NASB)