Introduction: We're continuing to glean precious wisdom from the pages of Greg Reid's book and adding a few comments of our own, with links and information here and there. Let us continue examining these biblical strategies:
There isn’t a sane soldier on the planet who would even think about entering the field of battle without his munitions. Well behind enemy lines or securely in a home base, he can find enough security to lay these things aside.
Yet when we consider that this entire world is “the field” in the LORD’s parables (MATT 13:38), and that we should look at it as a battle-field (and the LORD Himself as our only refuge), because Satan is the ruler of this present world system and his ideologies as well as his dominion is entirely at odds with those of the LORD, we really can’t afford to think otherwise.
We’ve read stories where a king is leading his armies to war, and before arriving, they would sometimes need to camp because they are that far from the battle. Still, as a precautionary, they would sleep in their armor! We likewise need to wear our armor, and…
1 PETER 5:8
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Greg delves into “the whole armor of GOD” in this chapter, and in chapters following addresses related issues vital for victorious spiritual warfare. He wastes no time or ink in spelling out the essentials that are required.
Like an ill-trained soldier on the battlefield, anyone attempting spiritual warfare without understanding and implementing the biblical truth necessary, will know certain defeat!
Along with Greg’s treatment on this subject, we at TTUF also have a spiritual warfare series that you can access here. Let’s proceed then with the next two chapters.
WAR of the AGES: from Chapter Three
The WHOLE ARMOR – READY for WAR
Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.
There are eight pieces of armor – six are for war, two for strategy. There is no armor prepared for the back of the soldier because retreat is not an option. There can be no showing the enemy our backs because this will leave us vulnerable. It also means that as fellow warriors we cover each other’s backs!
In 1883 the island of Krakatoa exploded. It was so loud that the explosion was literally heard around the world! It created a tsunami that rapidly moved away from the explosion, building strength and height, and headed for all the ships in the way. A ship with a compliment of over 50 passengers was right in its path. The captain learned of the impending tsunami and had to make a fateful decision: either turn the boat away from Krakatoa and ride it out, hoping to outrun the death wave, or turn toward the tsunami and take their chances.
The Captain put everyone below, turned the ship towards the wave, then had his men strap him to the captain’s wheel so he could not leave his post, no matter the danger, fear, or outcome. They rode over the tsunami. All survived.
Tie yourself to the wheel of this battle so that escape, running, or quitting is not an option!
Let us examine this armor that belongs to GOD, which He has provided for us, beginning with:
The BELT of TRUTH – “loins girt about with truth”.
This would be a Roman cingulum, a kind of utility belt that carried a sword and other things (like money, writing instruments and any necessities). They would often attach small bells to these belts.
There are three purposes for this belt: 1) to protect the groin. 2) to intimidate the enemy (imagine the sound of thousands of bells clanging together and getting nearer by the minute!). 3) these belts helped to keep the armor in place along with easy access to their swords.
Our belt of truth keeps everything in place and gives clarity in the battle. We’ve never been in an age where truth is so disregarded (ISAIAH 59:14) – in the ‘fog of war’ in which there are no absolutes, truth is relative, boundaries blurred, this belt of truth is GOD’s Word that provides moral certainty, clarity, deliberateness as we march into battle!
In the church today truth has become a sloppy, relativistic ‘felt needs’ mixture of ‘half-doctrine and experiential-but-biblically-untested religion’: more like a loose sash with holes.
The truth of GOD’s Word is what binds everything together for the warrior; without it we are vulnerable to every arrow and blow from the enemy. The ‘ring of truth’ resounds in this belt of the Christian warrior!
There are no Lone Ranger warriors, but rather ‘a band of brothers’ and we gain confidence as we hear the bells of our brothers who are with us.
Satan and his armies don’t fear those who carry no certainty in the truth. The church has grown weak due to many factors – primarily because the foundations of truth have been torn down. We are weakened by half-hearted commitment, on preaching the blood of Jesus, the Cross and the return of Christ, we are weak on rebuking sexual impurity, on divorce, on excess of worldliness.
We can’t seem to put this belt of truth on because we’ve grown fat from gorging on spiritual junk food: ‘touchy-feely’ Christianity, filthy entertainment and pitiful theology laced with compromise.
GOD needs soldiers in this hour who’ve been fed on the lean, mean diet of truth of GOD’s Word and have no moral uncertainty as to who our enemy is and what they need to do to engage and defeat him.
“Great is the laxity of falsehood. Truth binds the man” ~ Hugo Grotius.
In EPHESIANS 6, regarding the belt of truth, we consider the following verse from Isaiah:
Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, And faithfulness the belt of His waist.
The truth of GOD speaks to any and all situations, people, difficulties, needs, sins, and dilemmas. There is nothing in this life that GOD’s truth doesn’t address, directly and implicitly.
The disarming of the church comes from those who read GOD’s plain and simple truth and challenge it because it conflicts with their own views and convictions, and so they are intent on changing it or at least, its meaning.
Deny the truth of gravity, walk off a cliff and you’re dead. Detriment always follows denial of the truth. Soldiers, prepared with truth on GOD’s battle plan enjoy the clarity that cuts through delusion, confusion, and the fog of the enemy; it scares Satan to the core! Truth leaves us unencumbered for action, without any distraction – allowing us to run straight into battle with a singleness of heart knowing “truth is our shield and buckler” (PSALM 91:4).
A CRUCUAL ISSUE
The belt of truth is positional over the groin area; the seat of human passion and sexuality, which, since the induction of the Internet into society has been exploited, distorted and perverted to a level approaching the goat orgies of Pan worshipers and the attempted rape of angels in Sodom and Gomorrah (GEN 19:5).
Internet and porn has torn our spiritual fabric in a way that’s given free reign to sexual perverting spirits infecting the media, culture, music, families, even churches – and this is Satan’s number one weapon in this hour: no one is exempt – not pastors, not children.
1 CORINTHIANS 9:27
But I keep under my body and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
We must sleep with our armor on and guard our hearts, minds, and bodies. Having our loins girt about with truth protects us from the most vulnerable assault of all!
FEET SHOD with the PREPARATION of the GOSPEL of PEACE
The shoes are made for marching, running, and climbing – they’re the action part of the armor: “boots on the ground”. Prepared for battle, engaged in the Gospel: these are ‘the Good News Shoes’. These shoes including the greaves, protect us from snares of the enemy, enables us to cross rough terrain and bring the battle to the enemy – on the offensive!
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, Your God reigns!
In this warfare, Gospel Truth is foundational, the only means of withstanding the enemy attack. This Gospel is the Rock on which we must stand and so withstand the assaults of the devil:
Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
Our shoes are part of the offensive campaign to bring good news! The war is won! The captives can now go free!
The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives. And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.
A note from James: In the ancient world, soldiers would set up traps that would be equivalent to modern day land mines, but these would be built essentially of a spring loaded mechanism that when triggered would bring a heavy lead ball to strike the shin bone of an enemy, thus crippling and disabling him from engaging in the fight. These greaves attached to the Roman soldier’s shoes were shin guards that would prevent such wounds.
Likewise our enemy seeks to cripple our walks by way of lead balls of sin and compromise, and these shoes shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace protect us. When we are wearing these shoes, that is, standing by unwavering faith on Gospel truth, the work of the Gospel by the Spirit justifies and sanctifies us, making us impervious to such attacks.
The BREASTPLATE of RIGHTEOUSNESS
This piece of armor protects the vital organs, especially the heart – the heart can be a tremendous gift in the hands of GOD or a terribly wicked thing in the flesh or in the hands of Satan.
We’ve grown up with the saying, “Trust your heart (feelings)” but this is wrong!
[Remember in Star Wars: A New Hope, Obi Wan Kenobi said this more than once to Luke Skywalker: "trust your feelings... reach out with your feelings"]
The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?
Without Jesus our hearts are deceptive, self-justifying, blame-shifting and incredibly evil (the word for “desperately” can mean incurable). This is startling to consider and humbling to admit. GOD can’t heal a sinful human heart – He must create a new one (EZEK 36:26; JOHN 3:3).
Hitler wept over an injured dog it has been said, and yet he killed millions of people under his regime without remorse!
Our thoughts, emotions, perspectives must be subject to the objective Word of GOD, not to the subjectivity of our own thoughts and feelings! The breastplate of righteousness is not only a guardian to protect our hearts and lead us towards godly thinking and actions, but also is a breastplate of justice and righteousness (ISAIAH 59:17)!
He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?
Doing justice for the hurting, the poor and betrayed, the homeless and the abused is actively engaged in obeying the Word of the LORD:
If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, Depart in peace, be warmed and filled, but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
Do we have a lion’s heart to defend the defenseless – like the unborn? Those without means like the poor and elderly?
Note from James: You can measure the degree of civility and humane conduct in any society by how they treat the vulnerable members of that society. Judging by how our modern world, including America treats the unborn and the elderly, we must conclude that Satan and our own wicked hearts are not at all civilized, but as barbaric as any of the ancient pagan cultures.
This piece of the armor protects us from the fiery darts aimed at our hearts as well. Missiles meant to maim and humiliate, discourage, and cause us to panic will constantly assail us, thus the need to always wear this breastplate!
Anything to hurt, distract, to cause you to lose focus on Christ will be employed by Satan in this assault. We must expect attacks because we are in enemy territory, that is, this entire world.
It is HIS righteousness that we are to put on: impervious to anything Satan might fire at it. Without it, we are vulnerable, easy prey because we are truly unworthy in ourselves, but Christ – Who alone is worthy, wholly perfect in integrity and truth is the one who protects us with His breastplate of righteousness!
2 CORINTHIANS 5:21
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
In Satan’s accusations against our sinful conduct when this truly occurs, we are to “agree with our adversary” (MATT 5:25) when we are guilty of such but then declare your redemption – and GOD’s approval over you in the Person of Christ Jesus. Keep your heart focused on the righteousness of Christ!
Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.
The SHIELD of FAITH
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
“Above all…” Positionally, raise up the shield to cover your head and heart.
This shield in this listing of armor by Paul is the Roman Scutum, and it wasn’t the cute little round shields you see in Hollywood movies. This shield measured three and a half to four feet high, rectangular shaped and concave so that these shields could interlock together to form ‘the tortoise formation’ with all of the Roman soldiers safely inside – virtually a walking tank! These were often greased with heavy oil to more easily deflect arrows. These shields protected the soldiers much like fortresses protected the entire garrison of soldiers.
Likewise the LORD is our “sun and shield” (PSALM 84:11) and also is “our refuge” (PSALM 46:7). He is Himself our coverage of protection.
In the Greek, the word used for fiery darts is filaria – it’s a missile lit on fire, used to slay a soldier or at the least ignite his shield into flames, thus depriving him of its protection. “Fiery” in the sense of poisonous, like the fiery serpents of the Old Testament (NUM 21:6) which would infest the body of toxicity and causing death.
Keep the shield UP! Do not waiver or falter – remain resolute and don’t panic! This is after all, war, not sport! Those darts are from the wicked one (poneros, defined previously in the last article) with every intention of destroying the saints!
The HELMET of SALVATION
This piece of armor provides protection from the harassment of the enemy – it protects from the ‘spiritual noise’ and confusion and can create a kind of spiritual ‘shell shock’ that can leave the mind disorientated.
The assurance that your eternal salvation is already accomplished by “putting on the new man” in Christ (EPH 4:24; COL 3:10), i.e., “the mind of Christ” (1 COR 2:16; PHIL 2:5), which is to see, think, be motivated by, to perceive and understand in accordance with Christ.
The enemy will seek to think, be motivated by, to perceive and understand in accordance with his influence and that of the world – and this is what the battle of the mind is all about! What’s at stake is the rescue (or not) of lost souls that the LORD would have us seek out.
The SWORD of the SPIRIT
The Roman short sword was called a machira – typically only 24” in length and sharpened on both sides: a very different concept from the long sword that was only sharp on one side (and used in a chopping motion). With special training and practice, victory would be virtually guaranteed every time.
Close quarters to the enemy was required for this type of sword; so too with our great adversary – confronting him means a face to face encounter. The Holy Spirit (Third Person of the Trinity) brings power (dunamis) and the sword being the Word of GOD is either logos – the written word or rhema – the living word. The logos is the infallible, inerrant, and perfect revelation of GOD and contains all we need to live in godliness. The rhema enables one to apprehend the life, the power, the authority of the written word:
For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Jurisdiction, and power are as a result of possessing rhema – and the enemy knows if you have it or not – whether you have the Word theologically alone or also with the experiential knowledge and practice.
Theoretical knowledge of the Word will do nothing to deter the enemy – show him a battle plan that ensures victory – it does nothing! The plan must be implemented!
That’s the difference between logos and rhema. You must take the Word to the battle and proclaim the LORD Jesus Christ’s authority, power, and jurisdiction over the enemy’s forces. The enemy is aware of those who know their authority, the anointing of GOD.
FROM THE FRONT LINES – IT’s NO JOKE
Greg Reid, author of this book WAR of the AGES, ministers to all sorts of youth; among them some pretty hardcore kids. Trying to break drug and, or alcohol addiction, loose occult entanglements, bring comfort to victims of abuse and teaching them the Word, praying with them, discipling them in Christ and warning them about Satan and his diabolical devices are all a part of what he does.
Working with Law Enforcement he was well aware of the occult groups that he helped to expose as well as the tactics in recruitment they employed on their primary target: youth. Yet his warning about such recruitment would go by and large ignored by most.
One young man encountered such an occult group in a party/recruitment setting and upon realizing the utter reality of this, retreated to Greg’s home where he was visibly shaken:
“I didn’t believe you guys!” But he did then!
WAR of the AGES: from Chapter Four
BATTLE for the MIND
We are comprised of body, soul, and spirit. The most critical battlefield in spiritual warfare is that which is composed of mind, will and emotions of our soul.
1 CORINTHIANS 6:19
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
Just as the Old Testament Temple (and the Tabernacle that preceded it) was comprised of three parts (the outer court, the holy place and the holy of holies) so are we, the Temple of the Holy Spirit.
True believers of Jesus Christ are GOD’s House – in our Holy of Holies: our spirits, dwells Jesus by His Spirit. Nothing unclean or evil can dwell there. Greg makes it clear that demon possession isn’t a cut and dry, one size fits all, situation.
The range of the two extremes – those being: that a Christian can have no influence whatsoever from demonic spirits to the other extreme that asserts that believers are infested with them – are both off the mark.
Greg maintains that there are no conclusive Scriptures to state definitively that a Christian can’t have demons at all. Seeing that we are the Temple of the Holy Spirit and that Christ indwells the heart – the Holy of Holies, no demonic spirit can enter there, but they can exert influences over our body and our mind, especially if we as a Christian, open certain gateways or doors [by engaging in biblically unlawful practices such as participating in seances, or tarot cards, eastern mystical meditation, among many other things] – then they have a legal right to afflict us.
The difference between what many consider to be possession or oppression aside, the fact is that influences by demons have a wide range: from the man in the tombs who was possessed by Legion and broke chains like they were threads (LUKE 8:26-33), to the boy who was both deaf and mute because of a demon (MARK 9:25), to the young girl who practiced divination by the power of the demonic (ACTS 16:17-18), their effects are real and we must at all cost guard the gates of body, mind and soul against the enemy. Of these three, the battle for the mind is crucial.
Deliverance from chaos, evil, sinful impulses that are destructive, rage, lust, filthy mental images, and thoughts, all brought about by demons and the healing from all of this through Christ brings freedom, joy, and sanity.
Those who’ve been under demonic influence have stated that they were losing their minds – and they were: to these demons who are themselves insane!
Such infection may begin with disorganized thinking, wicked impulses, raging headaches; grotesque or sexually perverted imagery, lies and mocking voices. The Gadarenes knew of the demon possessed man who dwelled among the tombs and what he was like; but they saw a before and after picture once Jesus had cleansed him and brought back his sanity.
Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
As believers we fight this battle for the mind to one degree or another. It’s a life-long battle, but GOD has given us the tools needed to overcome the enemy’s attacks.
A transformed mind is the safeguard against demonic intrusion!
“Be not conformed…” The meaning of this word in the Greek is “to be molded after the fashion of another” – rather like Silly Putty: soft, pliable substance that molds to, mirrors and copies the object its surrounded by or pressed into. Our minds are like that – or more accurately, like clay: impressionable.
Paul the apostle’s admonition for us to not be conformed to this world is coupled together with…
“but be transformed” or metamorphoo in the Greek – the renewing of our mind, just as transformative as the caterpillar to the butterfly!
Note from James: The transformation from caterpillar to the butterfly not only means an entirely different looking creature, but one that is capable of living in dimensions unheard of by the crawling worm-like fuzzy creature. In its transformed state it can soar the skies and reach farther and higher than it ever could in its former state. Likewise, a human being is capable of far more once they are born again and become a child of GOD than they ever could before.
GOD’s desire for us is a metamorphoo from our sinful nature to our new nature in Christ:
2 CORINTHIANS 5:17
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
The key to defeating the enemy, his assaults on our mind – don’t conform to this world; let GOD transform us by His Word and His Spirit in and only in Christ Jesus. How is this accomplished?
Daily prayer and fellowship with JESUS! Strength building relationships with believers and most important: the WORD of GOD!
11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
130 The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple. 140 Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.
The WORD of GOD transforms our minds, ‘re-wires’ our thinking, and alters our motivations so that we can talk and walk like JESUS!
Satan hates the truth, he is the father of lies and warps our minds through the media, social settings, ungodly activities, and surroundings [as well as education and politics].
GOD repairs and “renews” – literally renovates, by transforming our minds: this is the Ultimate Extreme Makeover in the house of our mind! Out with the trash, in with the treasure (See NEH 13:8)! This produces a radical difference between our old mind set and the new in Christ (See EPH 4:23). The world will seek to conform us as it did very well in ‘our B.C. days’ and it still can if we don’t cleave fast to the Word of Truth.
While saved, Spirit-filled and on the way to glory, the enemy can still sneak his trash back into our minds if we let our guard down even for an instant [and with his gift for subtlety, it’s no wonder why we must be ever vigilant!].
“Eternal vigilance is the cost of freedom.”
2 CORINTHIANS 4:4
In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
Satan is “the god of this world” and prior to Jesus we were those who he blinded. We exercise authority to overthrow his authority and the spiritually blind, bringing them out of the captivity into the kingdom of GOD.
In evangelizing be equipped with the WORD, be prepared personally, spiritually and prayerfully, seeking the power of the Holy Spirit in lifting the blindness from those who will hear the Gospel!
Forget methods, seeker-friendly strategies, man-made techniques!. The Gospel will offend, as it is the truth of Christ’s crucifixion, resurrection and just as true: we have need of repentance because we are sinners.
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
“Vain” means, empty, devoid of thought – this is actually the objective of Eastern mysticism, contrary to what the Bible teaches, which is to fill your mind with the WORD of GOD. This will reveal wrong thinking, ideologies, philosophies, and tears down to build into us godliness in thought, word, and deed.
2 CORINTHIANS 10:3-5
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
The “imaginations” is arguments -these are human logic of the ungodly, prideful sort. Reject this in favor of GOD’s Truth in the WOD; bring thoughts into captivity! Though we still wrestle with a carnal mind, the post-Christ, untransformed mind is accustomed to carnality which explains the dichotomy of Christians behavior – angelic on Sundays, devilish during the week (See ROM 8:7).
While Greg was deeply involved in the occult as a youth, he felt empowered and important, commanded fear and respect from others – but when he came to Christ, he lost all of that, and felt emptiness and pain – that is, until he began to feast on GOD’s Word, made choices to believe the truth, denied the old lies and by process of healing obtained a new I.D. in Christ [FROM the MIND of FIRE we have an article that I believe would be a good accompaniment to this truth: I.I.C. - IDENTITY INDELIBLY in CHRIST].
Greg was encouraged by a minister to write out all that he was thankful for – it wasn’t until he listed several pages of all the blessings GOD had given him, that he realized how cynical and bitter he was before – this began to demolish all of the lies of the enemy that has polluted his mind for so long.
Replacing the lies about ourselves and our view of the world that the enemy has fed us all of our lives with the truth of GOD’s Word and believing Him is part of what “taking every thought captive” is all about! Those tiny trenches in the soil created by rainfall are deepened with the next rain, and the water naturally flows through them.
The same with the lies of the enemy – they become entrenched in our minds so that as he adds more deception, they become deeper, and it becomes hard to get our thoughts ‘out of the trenches’ as it were, and start thinking according to the new mind – this must be accomplished by asking the LORD to replace and reinforce and repeat the truth in our hearts and make them indelible.
The fiery darts of wicked, lewd, lustful thoughts are not necessarily your own – recognize them as belonging to the enemy who will attack us when we are determined to seek the LORD in prayer and Scripture reading.
Remember: Light always conquers darkness!
FROM The FRONT LINES – HOME At LAST
Greg relates a time when a 17 year old named Johnny wanted to accept Jesus, but only on the condition that he prayed for him. He was abandoned to the foster care system, suffered inhumane treatment, finally adopted and moved to Germany where drugs, Satan worship and the death of a friend scarred his heart almost beyond repair. He was deeply involved in the occult and completely demonized.
As they prayed for Johnny the demon manifested and the warfare was on! Repeatedly they interceded for the demon to be bound and when he finally was, Johnny renounced the ‘blood oath’ he made to Satan and he was able to pray and receive Christ! He was saved! He left the van where this all took place with his face shining! Everyone who looked at him knew without asking, that he was saved. He found the home, a place of belonging that he had never had!
So ends Part Two of this book report – covering chapters 3 and 4. We’ll pick up next time starting with chapter 5 – ORIGINS – PART 1!