by Julia Bruce
I remember singing “Onward Christian Soldiers” as a kid…
“Onward, Christian soldiers! Marching as to war, With the cross of Jesus Going on before. Christ, the royal Master, Leads against the foe; Forward into battle, See his banners go! Onward, Christian soldiers! Marching as to war, With the cross of Jesus Going on before.”
If you know this song, you probably sang it as you read the words.
My sisters and I attended a private, Christian school for most of our school years and our mascot was “Soldiers.” Where does the idea of Christians being a soldier? 2 Timothy 2:3 says, “Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” In Ephesians chapter 6, Paul talks about putting on the armor of God. Every soldier needs to have armor, but what is the battle that a Christian soldier must fight? In verses 10-12 of Ephesians 6, Paul writes, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Yes, there is definitely a battle that constantly is raging in an unseen, heavenly realm. If we are going to go to war, then there are some things we need to know in order to fight effectively.
We can’t successfully fight a spiritual battle if we don’t recognize that it’s a spiritual battle. Every Christian fights this battle and we call it spiritual warfare. Every day, every moment there is a battle that is taking place. Paul says it is in the heavenly realms. Who is the enemy? Satan. Satan and his demons are more than just a way to explain evil in our world. The Bible tells us they are real, supernatural being who are in constant opposition to God and His people. We can’t see or hear these supernatural beings, but we definitely feel them. Paul says we are to take our stand against the devil’s schemes. Once we become a child of God, we no longer belong on the enemy’s side, but that doesn’t mean he just leaves us alone. If anything, that’s when he attacks the most. He wants to keep us from telling other people about Jesus and the power of God in our lives. He wants us to live defeated lives. We wants to destroy everything that matters to us. He will create disunity in your marriage, cause your children to turn away from you, put enmity between you and your friends, steal your dreams, cause your mind to question the truths and promises of God’s Word, crumple your self-esteem, convince you that you are not worthy to be used by God, and rob you of your God-given calling.
We can’t successfully fight a spiritual battle in human strength. Paul says that we are “be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” When we talk about spiritual warfare, we are talking about fighting all the forces of evil – so you better be sure that you go into battle under the mighty power of God. It is the only way you will be able to stand strong against the schemes of the devil. Have you ever faced a problem and you tell someone about it, and they say something like, “Well, that’s just life for you.” But if we realize that Satan roams the earth seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8), and look at our problems through a spiritual lens, then we can see where Satan is fighting against us and the plans that God has for us. The result often becomes strained or broken relationships, mental health problems, physical health problems, fatigue and exhaustion, financial strain and more. Instead of living joyous, victorious, and abundant lives, we go around carrying the staggering weight of anger, pride, insecurity, unforgiveness, fear, doubt, failure, jealousy, and bitterness. We need a spiritual solution to spiritual battles. If we have any hope of defeating the Devil, we have to realize who the enemy is and that we can’t fight the battle in our own strength. We have to go into battle under the mighty power of God. As a shepherd boy, David defeated a giant because he had faith in God and depended on God. He knew the battle was not his and God would win the battle (1 Samuel 17:47). However, as a king, we find in 1 Chronicles 21:1-5, that David wanted to see how mighty his military forces were and took a census. Rather than faith and dependence on God, David was leaning on himself and the power of his army. Satan loves for us to depend on our own strength and forget the almighty strength of God.
We can’t successfully fight a spiritual battle if we don’t understand how the enemy operates. Paul says describes the ways Satan fights is by “schemes.” In John 8: 44, Jesus said that there is no truth in Satan and calls him a liar and the father of lies.” From the moment that Satan comes onto the scene in Genesis in the Garden of Eden, he has been deceiving humans. He started with Eve and he’s never stopped. Revelation 12:9 says, “and the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world.” That is how he operates – through deceit. He has always operated this way and he always will. He will try to sneak in our lives without us even realizing he is there. If we can’t recognize him, we won’t be prepared for battle and we won’t have a chance to defeat him. But he also doesn’t want us to understand how he attacks us and how he operates. His battle plan is very simple. He lies to us – and he’s had many centuries to hone his craft. He lies to us about himself, about God, about ourselves, about God’s promises, about who we are in Christ, about how we perceive others and events in life. He knows exactly where our weaknesses and vulnerabilities are and that is where he attacks and throws in a few crafty, well-constructed lies with a half-truth thrown in the middle to manipulate what God’s Word actually says so that we fall into sin. The minute we fall for his lies, the fellowship that we enjoy with our heavenly father is broken and we lose the His power in our lives. We restore our fellowship and receive a re-charge on heavenly power by confessing and repenting of sin and asking God’s forgiveness. The longer we take to seek forgiveness, the longer we are unplugged from God’s power and the weaker we become.
We can’t successfully fight a spiritual battle without knowing the truth’s of God’s Word. Because the Bible is God’s Word (not Satan’s Word), we need to realize that it is a book about God. Certainly it gives us information we need about the devil, but it’s focus in on God and that is where our focus should be. As we study the Bible, we learn that Satan is a real and very big problem – but it isn’t our only problem. Ephesias 2:1-3 says we have three enemies: the devil, the world, and our flesh. The devil can tempt us and deceive us through lies, but just as Jesus resisted Satan’s lies and temptations, so can we. Jesus resisted by knowing Scripture. Psalm 119:11 says, “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee.” If we are going to resist the schemes of the devil, we must memorize scripture and understand the truths of the Bible. Then when Satan comes knocking with temptations, we will be prepared to defeat him just as Jesus did.
The Bible also teaches us that God is in control of everything – including Satan. We learn this in Job where Satan comes before God and God says, “Have you considered my servant Job? No one else on earth is like him, a man of perfect integrity, who fears God and turns away from evil.” Satan then accuses God of putting a hedge of protection around Job and that if God removes it then Job will curse God. God then says, ” Very well, everything he owns is in your power. However, you must not lay a hand on Job himself.” Satan cannot do anything that God does not allow him to do. The fact that there is enmity between Satan and humans is that God said it would be so as a result of Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:15). That enmity continued all the way to the cross where Jesus defeated Satan and the power of sin in a Christian’s life. Just as God gave control of all that Job owned (and later even allowed him to strike at Job himself), God allows Satan to bring difficult circumstances into our lives as God works to shape and mold us into being more like Christ and to prepare us for the plans He has for us. We can know that God is in control of anything Satan wants to bring our way because he is already a defeated enemy. Satan has no more authority over the children of God, except when they give it to him by believing his lies. When Jesus gave us the example of how to pray, he said, “And deliver us from the Evil One, for thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever.” Satan may have power on the kingdom for now and he may roam the earth seeking whom he may devour, but ultimately it belongs to Jesus who purchased it with his blood as he hung on the cross. He defeated Satan, death, hell, and the grave when he rose from the grave. God might give Satan power, but God is all powerful and He is always in control.
We can’t successfully fight a spiritual battle without spiritual armor. We need to understand that God intends for us to be on the offense in the battle – not the defense. Paul said that we are to stand against Satan. In fact, in this one chapter (Ephesians 6), Paul tells us “to stand” three times. So God provided spiritual armor. It’s purpose is not for us to defend ourselves, but so that we march into the battle and do the work that God has called us to do – make disciples. The moment we begin witnessing, helping Christians grow, plant new churches, and serve God, is the moment we begin encroaching into the enemy’s territory and you can bet he and his forces will attack. This is why Paul tells us to put on the whole armor of God. A soldier that goes into battle with only part of his armor can expect defeat. We need every piece and we need to know the purpose of each piece. We find a description of the Armor of God in Ephesians 6:13-18. It includes the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, gospel of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit. So we know what is included in our armor, but what is the purpose for each piece? When Paul compares the armor of God with military gear, each piece represents a part of God’s strength that He extends to us when we become His children.
- Belt of truth: Paul said we should have our loins girt about with the belt of truth. Remember how Satan operates? Through deception and lies. The only way to get rid of lies is by shining the truth on them. You can’t know the truth if you are not studying God’s Word. We must know it, believe it, and speak it if we are to defeat Satan’s lies.
- Breastplate of righteousness: In Paul’s day, the Roman soldier wore a breastplate made of bronze or chain mail. It’s purpose was to cover the heart. For the Christian, the breastplate is the righteousness of Christ. The moment you became a Christian, Christ clothed you in His righteousness. This breastplate is meant to protect our hearts and souls from the deception of the evil one. We need the righteousness of Christ because Isaiah 64:6 says, “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.” So because our righteous deeds do not measure up to protect us from Satan, Christ gives us His.
- Gospel of peace: The gospel of peace is the message that Jesus gives to those who trust in Him. Prior to salvation, we were enemies with God, but when we chose to believe in Christ and asked Him to be our savior, we became at peace with Him. It tells us how to become a child of God and it includes such promises that we can know we are His children (John 10:29) and that nothing can snatch us out of His hand (1 John 5:13). In Ephesians 6, Paul says we are to shod our feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace. If we are to be “prepared” we must always be on guard with our feet firmly planted and ready to hold our ground whenever the enemy attacks. 2 Timothy 4:2 says we are to “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season.” We must always be prepared. The Roman soldier often had shoes that contained nails or spikes much like football cleats, so that he could dig them into the ground for a firm stance and better balance. If he lost his footing and fell, he lost the battle. For the Christian, the gospel of peace shoes allow us to dig down and plant our feet on the solid ground of the truth of God’s Word to fight back and defeat Satan’s flaming darts of doubt and lies.
The Roman soldier didn’t just need to stand his ground in battle. He also had long marches. When we put on our shoes of the gospel of peace, God expects us to carry His Gospel to others.
- Shield of faith: Paul tells us that with the shield of faith, we will be able to quench all the fiery darts of Satan. We are not to waver in our faith no matter how strong Satan’s attack. Instead we should fully trust God’s promises. Roman soldiers carried a shield that was as big as a door, providing him with complete cover. He could also use it to push his way through the battle line and push his enemies back. Often, the shield was painted with identifying marks. As a Christian, our shield of faith carries the identifying mark of Christ and distinguishes as a soldier in the Lord’s army. When Satan attacks with his lies that fuels doubts, it is faith the prompts us to believe God’s promises so that the lies of Satan lose their power and we overcome his attack. This is how our faith shields us from Satan’s attacks.
- Helmet of salvation: The Roman soldier wore a helmet to protect his head. As a Christian the helmet of salvation protects our mind where Satan will attach us more than any other way. He will twist his lies into a tangled mass that become difficult to unravel if do not view them the lens of the Word of God. As a Christian, our salvation gives us new and different view than we had when we were lost. The assurance we have of our salvation is our ultimate defense. Philippians 2:5 says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” And in 1 Corinthians 2:16 we are told that we are to have the mind of Christ. The helmet of salvation gives us the power to “destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raise against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5). We utilize the helmet of salvation by renewing our minds (Romans 12:1-2) by:
- exchanging ungodly ideas, thoughts, and opinions with the truths and promises of God’s Word
- rejecting the doubts that Satan whispers by choosing to believe in God’s love and His promises to us (Hebrews 11:6, 1 Peter 1:8-9)
- keeping our perspective on the eternal by keeping our eyes on Jesus and determining what’s important through lens of eternity. (Matthew 6:20, 1 Corinthians 3:11-13)
- remembering that Jesus already won the victory and that we are a new creation (Romans 6:11, 2 Corinthians 5:17, 1 John 3:9)
- remembering our hope is in Christ. (Psalm 73:25)
- choosing to guard our minds from the influences of the world by dwelling our thoughts on things that honor God (Philippians 4:8)
- Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God: While all the other pieces of armor are protective, the Sword is the only offensive weapon. However, if you are not daily studying the Word of God and memorizing it then you are going into battle with no weapon. Remember that Jesus defeated the temptations of Satan by saying, “It is written…”
No matter what the enemy attacks us with, God has prepared us to withstand the attacks, but we have to choose to put on the armor – every day. So soldier, suit up! Power up with the Word of God, and pray up to have the power of God.
#verseoftheday #armorofGod #WCM
If you would like to be a part of the God-sized dream we call Wellspring Christian Ministries, you can help with your one-time or monthly tax-deductible contribution. In the first phase of our Land & Building Campaign, we will be seeking the perfect 200+ acres of land on which we will build this dream. We like to think of ourselves as “Distributors of Living Water” …and you can be one too through your contribution that will have an eternal impact as we lead others to Christ, help Christians develop passionate relationships with God, and help couples connect and reignite their marriages. Who knew the cost of a cup of coffee could do so much? Donate today to become a Living Water Distributor
- Every gift will be acknowledged on our “Donor Wall” on our website. Just leave your name the way you wish it to appear in the message box as you make your gift.
- Every $50 will receive a free signed copy of Julia’s book, “God, Love & Marshmallow Wars”
- Every $500 or more gift will receive the “God, Love & Marshmallow Wars” Couple Event for their church with Julia’s speaker fees waived (host site is still responsible for travel expense and other costs of the event).
Wellspring Christian Ministries is a 501(3)(c) non-profit organization.
Thank you for helping us grow!
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BOOKING NOW to be a host site for the NEW God, Love & Marshmallow Wars Book Tour & Couples Conference:
This event helps couples understand why the daily activities found in the book will equip them to build a stronger marriage and the book provides them with 365 intentional activities to take what they learn at the event and apply it on a daily basis. Through the event, couples will discover the Biblical “why” behind the categories of activities found in the book and the “how” these activities are important to building a stronger marriage. Focus points of the event includes :
- How memorizing scripture together and studying God’s Word together as they study, meditate and apply scriptures related to marriage and life issues will help them develop marriages that honor God.
- Why utilizing fun conversation starters that spark meaningful conversations will keep interest alive as they continually learn new things about each other.
- Why keeping romance alive is essential to intimacy and connectivity.
- How making memories and working together builds relationship investment bonds and how these investment bonds can become the knots that keeps them together through the tough times.
- How they can understand what they are or are not contributing to the marriage as well as how they might be contributing to problems or potential problems within the relationship through the use of targeted, intentional personal reflections
- Why it is important that couples never stop dating and how group dates with Christian friends can be both an encouragement and accountability to their own relationship.
During the event, couples will be given an activity from each focus point to do together, making this event an interactive, fun, and engaging event with practical, hands-on learning. Unlike other couple events that are over when the event ends, couples who attend the GLMW event will be able to apply what they learn when utilizing the book on a daily basis for a year. Since the book is not dated, couples are able to reuse the activities year after year to continue being intentional in strengthening their relationship with each other and with God as they strive to live out God’s design for marriage every day.
Learn more about hosting this event at your church or conference site by clicking here.
About the book: The GLMW book contains 365 daily challenges for couples to strengthen their relationships to each other and with God. Couples will complete activities such as Scripture memory, conversation starters, relationship builders, learning about Biblical marriage, romance builders, personal reflections, and date ideas. Click here to purchase your copy. (This link will open a new widow and take you to Westbow Press’ bookstore.) It is also available at Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble
#GLMWcouplesevent #GLMWbook #intentionalmarriage #Godlymarriage
T-shirt Fundraiser: We have a new product line of Christian apparel and accessories available in our Teespring Store and our new Spreadshop Store. You’ll find tee shirts, hoodies, tanks, socks, leggings, tote bags, mugs, iphone cases and more.
All proceeds go to the advancement of Wellspring Christian Ministries.
Thank you for helping us grow!
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Looking for a speaker for your next ministry event? Julia is now booking for 2019 and 2020 Christian events for women’s and couples’ ministries for both small and large events.
Book with us now.
Julia is CEO of Wellspring Christian Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people and couples develop a passionate relationship with God. A public speaker, conference trainer, event planner, and blog writer, Julia is a two-time graduate from Grand Canyon University with a bachelor in Psychology and a masters in Professional Counseling. Saved as a child and raised in church and in a Christian home and private Christian School as a Pastor’s kid, Julia has taught Sunday school, led music, played the piano, served as Children’s Director, and engaged her gifts in many other areas of church life. Previously employed with the Florida Baptist Convention, Julia organized events and led conferences for church ministry assistants.
Julia enjoys sharing her journey as a growing Christian with others looking for a deeper connection with God. Through Bible study and her own life experiences, God has given Julia a passion to help couples understand God’s design for marriage while they learn to place God first in their marriage, cultivate meaningful relationships, build intimacy, and address the tougher issues that come in every marriage so that they can experience a marriage that honors and glorifies God. Julia also loves mentoring, teaching, and working with women to help them learn to live as Godly women.
With her history and experience growing up in both small and large churches, Julia enjoys bringing top level quality events to churches of all sizes. Her father largely pastored small churches and therefore she understands that these vital parts of the believing community need to be good stewards of the resources God provides them with. This knowledge inspires her passion for being available with a fresh perspective for those who want to provide their congregations with meaningful spiritual growth opportunities, regardless of size.
#JuliaBruce #speaker #keynote #author