The Armor of God Heavenly Father, thank you for this time we have together. I thank You for the many blessings You’ve poured into my life, known and unknown, and praise You for the work You’ve begun in me. Quiet my mind and thoughts, that I can hear only You. Amen.
New International Version (NIV)
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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.
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one”. Matthew 6:13. This section of the Lord’s Prayer brings up a subject - satan or the evil in this world - that I honestly have never dwelled upon. I avoid conflict at all costs – it’s always been my nature. I’d much rather concentrate on Jesus’ love, grace, and forgiveness. I like to expect the best from the people around me, and not dwell on the negative.
However, I’ve come to believe that ignoring evil can make us complacent about the root of temptation and sin. In Ephesians, St. Paul reminds us that evil, and the forces of evil are very real. In the same breath, he reminds us that we already have a champion against the evil one. In a video I watched on Saturday, the speaker said the Lord has already conquered satan, and we are to remember that Jesus goes before us in every battle in our lives – he’s defeated the evil one, but satan is not destroyed. He won’t be totally out of our lives until Jesus comes again to take us all home.
In the meantime, we are in a battle, spiritual warfare. The video speaker said that we should use 3 “P’s” to fight: Pray, Practice our faith, and Preach the Gospel. St. Paul reminds us that we are already equipped (armored) by our Savior to resist the devil’s schemes, but we must remember we cannot fight evil on our own. Martin Luther wrote many times about fighting with the devil, and these verses in Ephesians reminded me of one of the songs he wrote, printed below. It seems that although Martin Luther spent a lot of time struggling with the evil one, he also recognized that we shouldn’t give him too much credit or power over us.
Though devils all the world should fill, All eager to devour us, We tremble not, we fear no ill, They shall not over-pow’r us. This world’s prince may still Scowl fierce as his will, He can harm us none, He’s judged; the deed is done. One little Word can fell him. (Lutheran Service Book 656)
The video speaker also related a story about Martin Luther confronting satan:
“Almost every night when I wake up the devil is there and wants to dispute with me. I have come to this conclusion: When the argument that the Christian is without the law and above the law doesn’t help, I instantly chase him away with a fart.” (Martin Luther, Table Talk, 469)
That’s really funny and irreverent, and when we’re talking about something as serious as the evil one, let’s not give him any power in our lives. (Can you tell I’m the mother of sons?) If one little word, or a fart, remembering that we are empowered by the armor of God, is all that we need to defeat satan, then I feel comforted that, with prayer, and practice, and preaching (sharing), I can win over the multitude of temptations I face daily.
Father, we come completely dependent on you in the battle with evil. I will fall if I go it alone! As you lead me Father, don’t just lead me in the life filled with temptation, but I ask boldly and confidently for You to DELIVER me from the evil one in every situation! Deliver us from the evil one… Deliver us!