For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12)
Some years back I worked for a man that had been a Lieutenant in the Army during the Vietnam War and he liked to use that experience for examples of how he wanted the business run. One of his favorite examples was this: He said that one of his biggest problems with new recruits was to get them to "shoot back." Now, when I heard that I thought it was mighty weird. What in the world is he talking about? He explained that the natural temptation of people when under fire is to "duck and cover" in order to not get shot. This is the survival instinct at work. But, as he explained that doesn't work. You have to shoot back. OK, I get that.
I get that because itís the same thing I see in the lives of some Christians. They have been led to believe that if they become Christians then everything in life will be much better and on top of that they get to go to heaven when they die. It's a good sales pitch, all right. Too bad it isn't true.
The truth is that when you call on Jesus for salvation and he sets you free you become a fugitive from Satan's prison system. Satan don't like that, to put it mildly. You have to assume that you will come under attack. Why would the enemy waste his resources going after those who are still enslaved? He won't; he will come pick a fight with YOU.
When the adversary comes to attack, it won't do any good to "duck and cover" to try and get out from under the attack. BUT THEY'RE SHOOTING AT ME! Yep. And you better get used to it. And you better learn to SHOOT BACK. If all you do is run and hide, the enemy sees that you are no threat. He won't waste major effort on you. He'll spend his time going after someone who is a threat to him. Some people seem to think that because the pressure has come off then they are doing the right thing. It's the other way around, you see. If you shoot back, you are a threat. That means, as you grow in the spirit, you're going to get increasing attacks. We have a lot of saints who have been taken out of the battle, so to speak, because their teachers never told them the truth and never prepared them to do battle. We are in the middle of a war for the souls of men and we better remember that at all times.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:13)
Yeah, yeah. We hear this passage from Ephesians quoted all the time but I wonder if it is truly understood. The only reason to put on armor is because you intend to go out and fight. It's not a security blanket, it is a costume for spiritual warfare.
Most of the armor is defensive. Loins coverd with truth, body with the breastplate of righteousness, shoes of the gospel, shield of faith and helmet of salvation. With all of that on you can have the confidence that the attacks of the enemy will do no permanent damage. You will get bruised, cut, bloody, but not destroyed in the battle. So you see, there is no need to run and hide. You can go into battle and survive.
There is one other thing: the sword. This is our single offensive weapon and is all we need. It is the WORD of GOD and it will defeat the enemy every single time it is used properly. Every promise God the Father or Jesus the Son ever made to us is something we can use to do battle. If you are lonely and the enemy is whispering to you that you are abandonded and alone, you can say, "Jesus said, I will never leave you nor forsake you." If you are sick and the enemy tries to tell you that God doesn't care, you can shoot back with "He was wounded for our transgressions, by His stripes we are healed." You get the idea, right?
This is how we shoot back. Whatever situation you are in and whatever the means of attack, you can find that God has already given promise that will allow you to overcome.