All of my training in Christian Education came from the amazing Christian Educators who invited me to their tables, the authors who invited me into their experiences, and the Lord who taught me early through the scriptures, “If you can extract the precious from the worthless then you can be my spokesman.” Jeremiah 15:19

We think when we’re hired on staff at a local church or faith-based organization it’s all kumbaya and glitter. Sometimes it is. But we have an enemy who fights dirty. An enemy set on driving wedges between God’s people to pull God’s house down leaving scars and scabs of cuts by stained glass where no one sees due to this enemy’s number one weapon: deception.

This is spiritual warfare and if we intend on standing firm, being courageous, doing what is right in God’s eyes, over the long haul, we must armor-up. The battle is not a power struggle, but a truth struggle. How do we armor-up? In the truth of God’s word.

Ephesians 6:11, “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” These schemes are plots and plans to distract, detract, and deflect from God’s truth. 

  • The belt of truth buckled (vs 14) – Buckles fasten by filling holes for a tight fit. What holes of truth need filling in your belt? Reading and studying God’s truth in community over time is the plan. It’s not fast nor quick, but it is a thorough plan. 
  • The breastplate of righteousness in place (vs 15) – A breastplate in place guards our heart, because our feelings can’t be trusted to know what is right in God’s eyes. Go with what you know is true and not with how you feel.
  • Feet ready with the gospel of peace – Do you know the gospel well enough to go and share it? Don’t guess the gospel. Learn it. Practice it. Tell it every chance you get and pray for opportunities. Our faith is based on an historical fact so it’s not intuitive. We must be ready to share the gospel in truth and gentleness for the purposes of telling our world of the Prince of Peace.
  • Shield of faith which extinguishes all the flaming arrows of the evil one (vs. 16) – Oh the evil one is coming and he’ll annoy and scare the daylights out of you with not just arrows, but flaming arrows. Do you know the sights, sounds, and smells of the enemy in spiritual warfare? If we are in this for the long haul, we’d better.
  • Helmet of salvation (guard your mind) and the sword of the Spirit (God’s word) – Be saved and be sharpened by God’s word. All of it. 

The first time I was in the thick of spiritual warfare, I didn’t know what it was. I just thought people didn’t like me. On this side of perseverance I know what it sounds like, smells like, feels like, tastes like, and looks like. My Spirit is on guard and I armor-up.

The first book I read about spiritual warfare was after reading about workplace bullying: The Three Battlegrounds. This small 171-page book taught me much about the schemes of the enemy. I’ve purchased many copies and shared them all along the journey.

Even with spiritual armor, we will suffer bruises (tender spots which can make us weepy), broken bones (reset and casted by the love of God’s people in community), and scars (reminders of the stories of God’s faithfulness and mercy.) I think we should do more to teach of the theology of suffering and church history. What faithful American Christians endure today as ‘suffering’ is nothing compared to those who have gone before us to further the cause of Christ.

When the battle is especially loud I pray, “Lord, don’t let me sin in this,” and I pull out my Bible even more alongside a ring of index cards filled with God’s word. This ring of scriptures was started when I accepted my first position on staff and it’s grown over almost thirty years.

Our enemy is a crafty one and as my heart and mind have grown in the truth, the flaming arrows came often and seemingly out of nowhere. The Lord taught me when to ride it out and when to just ride out. He indeed turns all things for good for those who love Him.

You are a warrior for Christ. When we humbly submit to His authority and the truth of His word, we will honor the saints who have gone before us for the cause of Christ. Learning about spiritual warfare while in the midst of the emotional toll it takes is so much harder than learning about it ahead of time and learning to armor-up.

As the prophet Jeremiah told the exiles in Jeremiah 29, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God has plans. Our job is to be prepared. Preparation includes armoring-up for the battle we’ll face along the way.

“On the day I called, You answered me; You increased strength within me.” Psalm 138:3