A boxer was getting absolutely killed in a title fight. His trainer knew how bad things were going, but he felt that it was his job to keep his fighter encouraged. So when the boxer staggered back to the corner after yet another lopsided round, the trainer said, “You’re doing great out there, champ. Just keep bobbing and weaving. He can’t hit you. He’s not laid a glove on you all night.” The boxer sat on the stool and listened to the trainer’s praise, but it was obvious that he was confused by it. Finally, when the bell rang for him to head back out into the ring, he looked back at the trainer and said, “If what you’re telling me is true, then I want you to keep an eye on that referee this round. Somebody out there is beating me to death!”
Christian, have you ever felt like that beleaguered boxer? I sure have. And who was it that was beating me to death? Ephesians 6:12 answers that question:
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
There you have it, Christian. You are in the ring against none other than Satan and the other fallen angels. And, unfortunately, the more you serve Christ, the greater their blows to you will be. I know that isn’t exactly good news, but it’s the latest headline nonetheless.
That sixth chapter of Ephesians tells us that the Christian’s best line of defense against spiritual warfare is armor, the whole armor of God. This armor includes: truth (v.14), righteousness (v.14), the gospel (v.15), faith (v.16), salvation (v.17), and the word of God (v.17). Then right on the heels of all that comes a word about praying in the Spirit (v.18), being watchful (v.18), perseverance (v.18), and making supplication for your fellow Christians (v.18). It all makes for good preaching.
In closing, though, let me draw your attention to one very important, but usually overlooked, part of the passage. Verse 16 says:
above all, taking the shield of faith…
Isn’t it interesting that faith is rated above all the other important things on the list of the armor? It is faith, Paul says, that allows the Christian to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And so it’s with this thought in mind that I ask you, Christian, how’s your faith these days? You see, that simple question might very well determine how effectively the rest of your spiritual armor works. Do you have faith that God is greater than Satan and the other fallen angels? Do you have faith that He will enable you to overcome any roundhouse rights they throw at you? Do you have faith that He will never let the spiritual warfare that is swirling around become more than you can handle? And do you have faith that He won’t let Satan and his fallen angels defeat His purposes for your life?