How can we ever hope to fight the spiritual forces of Satan, the World, and Flesh? Why do we always resort to physical weapons? Praise God He gives us everything we need for life and godliness in this spiritual war. Join AMBrewster as helps Christian parents take hold of the spiritual weapons God has granted us.
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Thank you for trusting Truth.Love.Parent. to speak into your parenting. It’s an honor we don’t take for granted. We love God, we love you, we love your family, and we love inviting you along with us as we discover from God’s Word how our families can love Him better.
If this is your first time with us, we welcome you, but we’re also going to kick you out. That’s right . . . please start this series with episode 354. So far we’ve talked about the nature of spiritual warfare, who the enemy is not, who the enemy is, and last time we discussed the battlefield on which our family’s spiritual warfare is being waged.
All of that is an absolutely necessary foundation for our discussion today.
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Okay, so we’ve stared into the face of our spiritual enemies and seen just how easily they ravage us on the battlefields with which we and our family members interact every single day. And we specifically discovered that we can’t even trust our own minds because they’re tainted by the flesh! In fact, the Bible describes them as deceitful and desperately wicked.
And . . . in addition to that . . . there’s no physical weapon that will ever make a dent on our spiritual warfare. There are no guns, no holy water, no magic wands, no salt circles, no cross necklaces, and no lotions nor potions that will protect us from Satan, the World, and the Flesh.
How on earth do we hope to win anything in this spiritual war?
Today we’re going to talk about our Spiritual Weapons.
So, let’s start in II Corinthians 10:3-6, “Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, 6 and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.”
Ever since the beginning of this study we’ve been talking about how our struggle is not against the physical realm or anyone in the physical realm. And here we are once again reminded that this war is not one fought with physical weapons. But we cannot simply move past without once again considering the implications.
People often talk about taking a knife to a gunfight. Well, in this context, too many of us are taking physical weapons to a spiritual fight. Does this sound like anything familiar to you? The Crusades, perhaps? Jihad? Holy Wars fought on human soil?
But it also sounds like the way we’re want to deal with the issues we have with our kids and spouses. And — listen — I get how it makes sense. We can’t see the spiritual. All we know is that we have a child screaming in our face, threatening to break something, threatening to kill himself, telling us they don’t believe in God, or they’re questioning their God-given sexuality. Or maybe we have a spouse who’s just revealed that they no longer love us, or maybe it’s just the continual grind of a husband or wife who is always cranky, critical, and condescending.
These people are right in front of us. Not only that, but we do — in fact — have the physical strength to pick up our child from the middle of the poop-smeared mess and set him in the bathtub. We feel like we can be loud enough and verbose enough to shout down our teenage daughter. We often believe the only tool we have to combat our dismissive spouse is physical distancing, arguments, or even violence.
In those moments we can know one thing for certain . . . we are just as much the problem as our family member is.
Sure, they may be doing and saying wicked things — I don’t want to discount that — but the way you’re handling it is just as sinful.
Listen carefully to this — it’s not a sin to use physical weapons in physical warfare, but using physical weapons in spiritual warfare is a sin. If you took your child to a doctor so he could remove a cancerous tumor, and he rolled in a tool chest filled with tools that a mechanic uses or a painter uses . . . there is something seriously wrong with that guy. Get yourself and your kid out of his office as quickly as possible.
In the exact same way, if you are a parent who’s trying to address spiritual issues with physical tools, you’re a hazard to your kids. Satan has officially succeeded in manipulating the World and tempting your sinful Flesh into believing that physical weapons are the answer to our spiritual problems.
Now, before we continue any farther, I want to make sure we’re not setting ourselves up for a huge fall. If we don’t understand what spiritual weapons are or how to use them, and if we wrongly believe that nothing physical is to be used in our parenting — you know, like our voices or our hands or our eyes — you’re only going to be profoundly confused.
So, without any further ado, let’s turn back to Ephesians 6:10-20, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, having . . .”
Now, most of us are very familiar with this passage. That’s great! But I want to make sure our minds are engaged, so after reading the rest of the passage, I’m going to progress through the list a little out of order, and I’m going to modify the analogy ever so slightly.
Okay, so here is the list of spiritual weapons:
“having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
That’s normally where most people stop in the discussion of spiritual weapons, but I believe the next three verses were intended to be connected to the previous passage: “18 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, 19 and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”
Now, I’m going to work back through the list of spiritual weapons, but I’m going to go out of order in a way that will help us see the connection between the various elements. I’m also going to — instead of looking at them as individual weapons — describe them as a single weapon.
I’m not doing this because God didn’t explain it well; I’m doing this just to help us really rethink a familiar passage.
So, picture with me — if you will — a military armory. Inside resides a weapon that is guaranteed to destroy your spiritual enemy.
However, in order to get your hands on this weapon, there are a few prerequisites.
1. In order to access the spiritual weapon you must be in God’s Army — you must be saved.
Verse 17 refers to the helmet of salvation. Let’s consider salvation to be our entrance into God’s spiritual army.
And, let me tell you, everyone is in a spiritual army. God’s army is just far better than Satan’s. Satan will lie to you, and tell you that you’re in control of your own army, but you’re really enslaved to him. And there’s the fact that Satan is going to lose.
So, salvation is required to be able to access the spiritual weapon.
Consider that for a moment. If any of your family members are not born again, they are — by default — enlisted in Satan’s army and part of the World System that he may — if he desired — control for his own purposes.
And even if someone isn’t currently being possessed by demonic forces, they still do not have access to the spiritual weapon necessary to overcome the enemy.
Salvation is the first and absolutely necessary step to having success in Spiritual Warfare. This is why Evangelism Parenting is the single most important kind of parenting you can do if you children are not born again. And Evangelism Spousing is the most important thing you can do if you husband or wife isn’t a follower of Christ.
Now, imagine that a soldier wants to remove the weapon from the armory. You can easily guess — or perhaps you know from experience — that they would have to request the armament and go through the appropriate channels for removing it from the cache.
2. In order to access the spiritual weapon, a Soldier of Christ must request it — you must pray.
I don’t know about you, but I know about me, and I know about the many people I’ve counseled in my ministry, but it amazes me how our prayer life completely dies when we’re in the midst of hardship.
Every single person who’s come to me for counsel because they’re making bad choices and experiencing the requisite consequences of those bad choices, either doesn’t understand prayer or isn’t bathing in it the way they should. It’s just another of their bad choices.
We may beg God for help when life get’s too tough . . . but God commands that we pray without ceasing.
Prayer is the solider coming before the General and requesting access to the necessary spiritual armament.
In John 11:22, when speaking to Jesus, Martha rightly acknowledge that “whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” But that goes for all of us!
In John 16:23, Jesus said, “If you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you.” Of course, Jesus is not talking about a prayer where you simply tack “in Jesus’ name” onto the end.
The ancient concept of a name encompassed the person’s character. The idea of “asking in my name” was to ask God only for those things that would fall in line with His divine character. It’s not baptizing our desires in Jesus’ name; it’s only requesting those things that God already knows we need.
James 1:5 gives an example of this: “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
Think about this realistically. At nearly every moment of every day Satan, the World, and the Flesh are tempting you and your family to sin against God. At nearly every moment of the day you need access to the spiritual weapon we’re about to describe if you hope for you or your family to overcome the spiritual attack. Have you prayed for access to this weapon? Are you praying now for your children’s access to this weapon? Have you taught your kids the necessity of prayer in spiritual warfare?
I mentioned early that Ephesians 6:18-20 is often not included in the list of spiritual armor, but I believe with all my heart that it should. Listen to it again: let me abbreviate the list: “having girded, having put on, having shod, in addition taking up, and take . . . with all prayer and petition.”
“18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit,” Spiritual Warfare, “and with this in view, be on the alert” Spiritual Warfare, “with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, 19 and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” Spiritual Warfare.
Paul knew what it was like to daily be fighting the spiritual war. He uses allusions to wars and soldiers more than anyone else. He was even physically buffeted by demonic forces. He knew he needed prayer.
So, the soldier of Christ asks for access to the weapon, He’s granted access, but where does He find this weapon? Where is the spiritual armory in which the spiritual weapon resides?
3. The spiritual weapon comes from God’s armory — you must search the Scriptures.
Can I just sum it up simply this way: there’s no amount of following your heart, listening for Jesus to “talk to you,” seeking gurus and experts, getting secular counseling, watching TV, or reading self-help books that will help you have victory in Spiritual Warfare.
God has given us everything we need for life and godliness where? That’s right, through the knowledge of Christ (II Peter 1:3). And where do we find that? Only and ever in the Bible.
You will never — I repeat — never gain access to the spiritual weapon you and your family need outside of God’s revealed Word.
This is why we dedicated an entire season (back in Season 7) to the importance and absolute necessity of God’s Word being the core, foundation, and superstructure of your household.
The less time you spend in God’s Word, the less time you’ll gain access to the weapon you need to overcome Satan, the World, and the Flesh.
We’ll look at this more later, but this is exactly how Jesus Christ — the incarnate God-man — fought Satan’s temptations for 40 days. He quoted the Scriptures right at Satan, and there was nothing Satan could do.
Okay, we can look at salvation, prayer, and the Bible as three unique spiritual weapons, or we can think of them as necessary steps to using the spiritual weapon. Either way, it doesn’t matter.
I think, though, when we’re done here, you’re going to see that each of these pieces of spiritual armor are necessary to all the other parts. Without one, you may not have any of the others.
So, we and our family members are — hopefully — saved. We’re part of the spiritual army. We’ve beseeched the General for the weapon we need to overcome Satan, the World, and the Flesh, and He’s given us full access to know, understand, and believe His Word — the Bible.
When we open the armory, what will we find? We’re going to find one weapon with four unique parts.
4. This spiritual weapon is loaded with Truth.
What else would we expect to find in the Bible? Psalm 119:160 reads, “The sum of Your word is truth.”
There is no Truth that is not God’s Truth. Jesus is the Truth. There is God’s Truth, and everything else is the Lie.
We learned this in our free James video Bible study available at TruthLoveParent.com. We learned this in our discussion of “The Communication House” and “The Merest Christianity.” All spiritual success will be grounded in Truth, and all spiritual destruction will be tangled in the Lie.
Ephesians 6 refers to the “Belt of Truth.” The belt allowed the soldier to move unencumbered by the flowing garb of Middle Eastern clothing. It also provided a place to carry the Sword of the Spirit which is the Bible, the collection of God’s Truth to man.
Now, what does this mean practically. It means that the only way you and your family will ever hope to overcome Satan, the World, and the Flesh is to know, understand, believe, and live in Truth. If it’s True, we do it and say it and feel it and think it. If it’s not, we don’t.
Consider Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true . . . dwell on these things.” It’s the first thing on the list because it informs absolutely everything else. Nothing that is honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent, or worthy of praise will be a lie. It all must conform to God’s perfect, unchanging Truth.
Therefore, if you’re firing this weapon at your spiritual attacker, it will always agree with God’s Word. If you’re passing your children the ammunition they’re going to need to fire at their spiritual attacker, you must hand them Truth. The lie will jam the weapon and blow up in their face. After that, the enemy will rush in and leave them in shambles.
Our spiritual weapon is loaded with Truth and . . .
5. The spiritual weapon is encased in righteousness.
Truth cannot pass through anything other than righteousness. If Truth passes through unrighteousness, it will either destroy it or redeem it. It will either undo it, or it will cause it to become righteous.
In short, our spiritual weapon will never include sin, unrighteousness, transgression, wicked, evil, iniquity, white lies, unkindness, impatience, sinful hatred, sinful anger, heresy, drunkenness, impurity, dissension, enmity, quarreling, and the countless other works of the Flesh the Bible enumerates.
When you impatiently lash out at your children, you’re using physical weapons to attack a physical person that you’ve decided is your enemy. Spiritual destruction will follow.
When you misapply God’s word, when you give more credence and support to man’s Failure Philosophies, when you manipulate and give silent treatment and punish instead of discipline . . . you’re using carnal weapons to fight physical enemies. You’re playing right into Satan’s plans. He’s using you to attack your family, all the while the real spiritual enemies are running free in your home.
This spiritual weapon — which is guaranteed to overcome sin — cannot be sin. It must be righteousness. It’s never right to do wrong in order to get a chance to do right.
I think this should be self-evident, but I can’t tell you how many times in counseling people try to justify their sin as if God is pleased — and their sin is necessary — to have victory in this life.
This spiritual weapon is encased in righteousness, and it fires Truth, but how is aimed?
When we see the spiritual warfare waging, we must aim our righteousness and Truth through the lens of the Gospel.
6. The spiritual weapon is sighted through the Gospel.
I love the picture in Ephesians of the Gospel being footwear. It’s what carries the soldier through everything.
All Truth is pointed at man’s need for God in salvation. All righteousness is impossible apart from being a born again follower of Christ.
The Gospel is what helps us see the world the right way. When we look through the Gospel, our children will never look like enemies. When we look through the Gospel, Satan and the World and the Flesh will clearly be seen for the lying, destructive foes they are.
When we see life through the Gospel, it will be clear what Truth and righteousness is needed to meet the spiritual attack we’re facing.
But in order to see in this way, we must realize the Gospel is not merely our introduction to a relationship with God, it is our relationship with God. The Good News is that we can enter a relationship with God through justification, grow stronger in that relationship through sanctification, and one day be perfected in that relationship through glorification.
That is salvation. That is the Gospel.
Yes, part of salvation is a one-time, past event, but all believers live in the present outworking of that salvation, and they all look forward to their eternal salvation.
Your children’s struggle with spiritual powers in high places is going to be answered through the Gospel.
Your issue with your spouse will only be truly overcome to God’s glory through the Gospel.
You must see each and every spiritual skirmish through the Gospel or you’ll never hit your mark.
Too many parents have a legalistic, behavior-modification methodology that doesn’t address the real heart of the issue. Trying to use this spiritual weapon without the Gospel only ever wounds the superficial parts of our family.
So, in review, you must be a born again follower of Christ who approaches the throne of God, beseeching Him for the Weapon you need to fight this spiritual battle. He will always turn you to His Word for the equipping you need. And that equipping is always going to be Truth, righteousness, the Gospel, and . . .
7. This spiritual weapon is fired with faith.
What does it take to pull the trigger on this Righteous-Truth-Gospel weapon? What does it take to parent the way God commands even though the World is telling you that Christianity is barbaric and harmful for children? What does it take to stand face-to-face with Satan?
I find it interesting that — in Ephesians 6 — Paul rattles off this list of spiritual armor, but he dedicates more time explaining the shield of faith.
He says, “in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”
Hebrews 11:6 teaches that “without faith it is impossible to please [God], for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”
You will be impotent to lift the weapon, sight it in, and fire it without faith.
You must believe that God’s plan for your parenting, God’s plan for your marriage, God's plan for spiritual warfare is the absolute best.
Remember James 1:5-8? “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
If you do not trust that God’s weapon is the only way you and your family can overcome Satan, the World, and the Flesh, you will look anywhere and everywhere but to God’s Word.
This is why so many professing Christians run to medical and psychological fields for help with things the Bible clearly says are sins. We’ve believed Satan’s propaganda machine that therapy is better than Bible or that you need therapy and the Bible.
But any time we add something else to God’s Word, we’re falling into a Catholic heresy that God’s not enough — there are all these other things we need to do.
If someone is actually sick, and they’re struggling with symptoms that are physical, by all means, please see a doctor. In fact, any good Biblical counselor is going to recognize that being in good health is a huge help in relieving spiritual stressors. But medical doctors and secular counselors absolutely — listen carefully — they absolutely cannot cure spiritual issues. They can’t address sin to the glory of God. They will not gain you victory in the spiritual battle in which your family is currently fighting.
We need the Spiritual Weapon of God. We need to be a born-again follower of Christ. We need to have a vibrant conversation with God through prayer and Bible reading. We see life through the lens of the Gospel. We need to know the Truth, understand the Truth, and believe the Truth — which will result in us living righteously by faith — the exact opposite of what Satan, the World, and the Flesh are trying to get us to do.
Then, and only then, will we overcome our spiritual enemies on the battleground of the Pride of Life, Lust of the Eyes, and the Lust of the Flesh.
Now, I really appreciate your patience.
Let me finish off today reading the same verse with which we started. II Corinthians 10:3-6, “Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, 6 and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.”
If you or your family is failing to use the glorious Spiritual Weapon God is offering you, please send an email to Counselor@TruthLoveParent.com or call us at (828) 423-0894. The TLP Counselors are trained and experienced individuals who want to help you have victory in your spiritual battles. Therefore, we’re going to teach you how to use the Spiritual Weapon to the glory of God and the salvation of your souls.
Remember, if we want our children to grow up into Christ, we must parent in truth and love.
To that end, join us next time as we look at the statistics. When it comes to families in general, how many of them are succeeding in their spiritual warfare and how many are being destroyed by the enemy? We’ll talk about that next time.
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