Stand Firm Against Satan’s Devices!
“Put on all the armour which God provides, so that you may be able to stand firm against the devices of the devil.”—EPHESIANS 6:11, The New English Bible.
1. What is the lot of Christians who live up to their privileges?
DEDICATED witnesses of Jehovah who live up to their privileges enjoy a spiritual paradise. Prophetically describing their present-day condition, God’s prophet Isaiah wrote: “In the wilderness justice will certainly reside, and in the orchard righteousness itself will dwell. And the work of the true righteousness must become peace; and the service of the true righteousness, quietness and security to time indefinite.”—Isaiah 32:16, 17.
2. Why must we ever be on guard?
2 To maintain this happy condition, we must ever be on guard, for Satan the Devil envies our happy and prosperous spiritual estate. As Gog of Magog he will soon launch an all-out attack against Jehovah’s people. (Ezekiel 38:8-12) But by no means is he idle right now. In fact, knowing that he has only a short period of time left, he is more angry at Jehovah’s servants now than ever before.—Revelation 12:12, 17.
3. Why is Satan enraged at servants of Jehovah?
3 Satan controls this world of unrighteous humans. (Ephesians 2:1, 2; 1 John 5:19) All of these are on his side of the great issue of universal sovereignty. They are giving a positive answer to Satan’s putting in doubt whether any humans can maintain their integrity to Jehovah God. (Proverbs 27:11) That even a few Christians are proving the Devil to be a vain boaster and base liar enrages him. So he uses every device, every crafty artifice, at his disposal to overcome these faithful servants of Jehovah. Hence, “we have a wrestling . . . against the wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places.”—Ephesians 6:12.
4. Why must we work hard to overcome our weaknesses?
4 Therefore, you do well to ask yourself, ‘How can I stand firm against this powerful Adversary?’ As we have seen, he uses the weaknesses of the fallen flesh to entrap Christians. Personally, we may not have the weakness of laziness, but we may be proud. We may not be self-indulgent as regards physical pleasures, but we may be greedy for material gain. Thus we need to work hard to overcome our weaknesses, opposing the Devil so that he will flee from us.—James 4:7.
Our Spiritual Armor
5. For what reason do we need to put on the complete suit of armor from God?
5 Our Adversary keeps using the same devices over and over again. So by studying God’s Word we can be alerted to the devices that Satan has been using since Bible times, and we can learn how to stand firm against him. The apostle Paul wrote: “Put on the complete suit of armor from God that you may be able to stand firm against the machinations of the Devil.” He also urged: “Take up the complete suit of armor from God, that you may be able to resist in the wicked day and, after you have done all things thoroughly, to stand firm.” Note that Paul stresses putting on “the complete suit of armor from God.” It would be dangerous to lack even one piece of this divinely provided armor, for Satan would notice it and could well level an attack at that vulnerable point. This could prove fatal to us spiritually.—Ephesians 6:11, 13.
6. What does ‘having our loins girded with truth’ require of us?
6 The apostle begins by urging us: “Stand firm, therefore, with your loins girded about with truth.” (Ephesians 6:14) The military girdle of ancient times was a leather belt worn around the waist or hips. Often it was studded with small plates of metal, providing added protection. It also served as a support for a warrior’s sword or dagger. What does it mean for a Christian to have his loins girded about with truth? To be girded about with the truth of God’s Word means having it very tight, so we are able to use the Scriptures to resolve questions. As the military girdle was a means of protection, so the truth will give us confidence to bear our burdens and will protect us. Surely, then, keeping our minds occupied with God’s truths will help us to stand firm against Satan.
7. What does it mean to have on “the breastplate of righteousness”?
7 Next the apostle tells us to ‘have on the breastplate of righteousness.’ (Ephesians 6:14) In Bible times a breastplate consisted of scales, chain links or solid metal and served to protect particularly the heart. To have on this breastplate of righteousness we must, above all, ‘safeguard our hearts.’ (Proverbs 4:23) Only then can we stand firm against Satan by being motivated to serve Jehovah and to lead clean lives that will prevent our becoming a morally contaminating influence among Jehovah’s people.—1 Peter 1:14-16.
8. What is involved in having our “feet shod with the equipment of the good news of peace”?
8 Paul then mentions having our “feet shod with the equipment of the good news of peace.” (Ephesians 6:15) What is implied here? That we keep very active in preaching the Kingdom message in a peaceful manner, even as Jesus instructed the 70 evangelizers: “Wherever you enter into a house say first, ‘May this house have peace.’” (Luke 10:5) We do not come to argue with people. Rather, we come to bring them comfort, joy, peace of mind and hope. Satan will try to stir up opposition and combativeness in some listeners to cause us to respond in kind. Therefore, to stand firm against Satan’s designs, we need to be tactful and patient, becoming “all things to people of all sorts.”—1 Corinthians 9:19-23.
9. What were ancient shields and burning missiles like?
9 Continuing, the apostle counsels: “Take up the large shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the wicked one’s burning missiles.” (Ephesians 6:16) The Greek word here rendered “large shield” denotes one big enough to protect most of the body. As regards the “burning missiles,” the Romans at times made darts of hollow reeds having tiny receptacles filled with burning naphtha. Paul may have been alluding to such fiery darts.
10. Satan uses what as “burning missiles”?
10 Satan shoots various kinds of “burning missiles” at Christians. Among these “missiles” are ridicule, reproach and slander aimed at God’s people by their enemies. These “missiles” can also be efforts on the part of some to discourage Christian warriors because of supposedly meager results of their activity in the ministry or lack of progress in overcoming fleshly weaknesses. Also included are bitter words, sarcasm and misstatements. At times, Satan has wounded Christians by arousing their curiosity about worldly wisdom as it relates to occultism or philosophizing on the origin and destiny of man. You should diligently avoid such “deep things of Satan.” Do you?—Revelation 2:24.
11. On what do the size and effectiveness of our spiritual shield depend?
11 To protect our hearts against Satan’s “burning missiles,” we need a large, strong shield of faith. Just how big and impenetrable it will be depends largely on us. We will have the needed protection to the extent that we buy out the opportune time for personal Bible study, meditation on God’s Word and association with fellow witnesses of Jehovah. Of course, we need to apply what we learn, for “faith without works is dead.” (James 2:26) Thus, one of the best ways to enlarge and strengthen our faith, and so be able to stand firm, is to put forth earnest efforts toward inculcating faith in others.
12. What is our spiritual helmet, and of what value is it to us?
12 Paul goes on to say: “Also, accept the helmet of salvation.” (Ephesians 6:17) In ancient times, some helmets were made of rushes, others of quilted linen or leather and still others of metal. (1 Samuel 17:38) But of what is our spiritual helmet made? Paul told Thessalonian Christians: “Let us keep our senses and have on . . . as a helmet the hope of salvation.” (1 Thessalonians 5:8) Yes, hope can indeed protect us from the blows and slashes of Satan and his agents. Strong Bible-based “hope does not lead to disappointment.” (Romans 5:5) Such hope will protect us against materialistic propaganda, for it will motivate us to seek first God’s Kingdom.—Matthew 6:33; Luke 12:31.
13. What is “the sword of the spirit,” and what is its value?
13 Finally, we come to our one piece of offensive armor, “the sword of the spirit, that is, God’s word.” (Ephesians 6:17) The Greek word here rendered “sword” refers to a short sword that resembles a dagger, suggesting combat at close quarters. With accurate knowledge of God’s Word, we can puncture and cut down false teachings, exposing their lack of logic and, in particular, their conflict with the Holy Scriptures. (2 Corinthians 10:4) We do this not out of pride but out of humility and love for God, truth and our fellowman. Happily, with the help of true Christian publications, we can get “a tight grip on the word of life.”—Philippians 2:16.
Christian Qualities as Aids
14. (a) Why do we have no reason to be proud? (b) Why do we need to be humble to stand firm against Satan?
14 In addition to our spiritual armor, Christian qualities will also help us to stand firm against the Devil. Since Satan appeals to pride, our having humility and the spirit of a sound mind will help us in our fight against him. Indeed, no Christian should “think more of himself than it is necessary to think.” When we have done everything assigned to us, we should be able to say: “We are good-for-nothing slaves. What we have done is what we ought to have done.” Besides, we need God’s undeserved kindness to stand firm against Satan and to have that we must be humble, for “God opposes the haughty ones, but he gives undeserved kindness to the humble ones.”—Romans 12:3; Luke 17:10; James 4:6.
15. In standing firm, of what value is self-control?
15 Self-control is another Christian quality that will help us to stand firm against Satan. Failing to control our emotions, such as anger, or overindulgence in food, drink or sex will leave us open to the attacks and manipulations of the Devil. When we “conducted ourselves in harmony with the desires of our flesh,” we actually were walking “according to the system of things of this world, according to the ruler [Satan the Devil] of the authority of the air, the spirit that now operates in the sons of disobedience.” (Ephesians 2:1-3) If we let selfish, unclean thoughts and feelings take over, we are in danger of being ensnared by the Devil for the doing of his will. (2 Timothy 2:26) To stand firm against him, we must exercise firm control of our thoughts and emotions as well as of our words and actions. We must discipline our minds to think on things virtuous, righteous, chaste and lovable.—Philippians 4:8.
16. Why can unselfish love help us to stand firm?
16 In particular will unselfish love help us to stand firm against Satan the Devil. He is quick to appeal to any selfish trait he may detect in us. To the extent that unselfish love keeps us busy in the service and worship of Jehovah, to that extent we will be impervious to Satan’s attacks. What chance does he have with us if we love Jehovah with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength? Love also makes us concerned about the salvation of others, and this will help us to make our own salvation sure. (Mark 12:30, 31; 1 Timothy 4:16) As long as we display love in its various manifestations, neither Satan nor any of his agents, visible or invisible, will be able to weaken our stand against them.—1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
17. Why is prayer so important to our standing firm?
17 To be able to stand firm against Satan’s devices, we must also make full use of prayer. Why? Because we simply cannot come off victorious in our own strength. We need help from on high. After describing spiritual armor, Paul urged fellow believers to use ‘every form of prayer and supplication, carrying on prayer on every occasion in spirit.’ To that end they were to “keep awake with all constancy and with supplication in behalf of all the holy ones,” including the apostle.—Ephesians 6:18, 19.
18, 19. (a) How can praise and thanksgiving help us? (b) Of what value are petition and supplication?
18 “Every form of prayer” includes what? One form of prayer is praise. Certainly in view of who Jehovah is, his qualities and his position in the universe, he merits our praise. (Psalm 33:1) Another form of prayer is thanksgiving. And what reasons we have to give thanks to the Giver of “every good gift and every perfect present”! (James 1:17) Most fittingly, we are counseled to “give thanks to Jehovah for his loving-kindness and for his wonderful works to the sons of men.” (Psalm 107:31) Our having appreciative hearts and minds will indeed help us to stand firm against Satan.
19 Petition is another form of prayer. We can appropriately ask for such things as wisdom (James 1:5), holy spirit (Luke 11:13), forgiveness of sins (1 John 1:9; 2:1, 2) and God’s blessing upon our efforts (Psalm 90:17). There is also supplication. It refers to imploring Jehovah God earnestly, as in times of great stress or peril. Thus when Paul was imprisoned he asked that supplication be made for him. (Ephesians 6:18-20) These forms of prayer surely will help us to stand firm against Satan.
Be Determined to Stand Firm
20, 21. How can we come off completely victorious?
20 Today Jehovah’s people as a group truly are enjoying the blessings of a spiritual paradise. But for us individually to keep on sharing this blessedness we cannot take it for granted. We must ever be on guard, standing firm against our Adversary, Satan the Devil.—1 Peter 5:8, 9.
21 The Devil has many devices, as we have seen, and his design is to break our integrity and cause us to quit serving Jehovah God. But Satan will not overreach us if we keep on our spiritual armor from God, continue cultivating such fruits of his spirit as love and self-control, and persevere in prayer. Thus, with loving help from our God, Jehovah, we will be fully equipped to stand firm against Satan’s devices.
Do You Remember
□ Why is Satan enraged against Jehovah’s servants?
□ Of what does the Christian’s spiritual armor consist?
□ What are some of Satan’s “burning missiles,” but what protection do we have against them?
□ Why must we be humble in order to stand firm against the Devil?
□ In our standing firm, why is prayer so important?
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Regular prayer will help a family resist Satan’s attacks