When one studies the armor of God in Ephesians 6 it becomes clear that each piece of the equipment is designed to defeat a particular strategy of Satan. The belt of truth, for example, counteracts the comprising of our integrity. Satan knows that if he can lead us into dishonesty or duplicity he can inflict all manner of trouble in our lives. An old Chinese proverb says, “When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when integrity is lost, all is lost.” Satan knows that full well, but the belt of truth keeps us living a truthful life.
What battles against discouragement? Which piece of the armor? Let me put three verses together and it becomes clear. Then let’s consider this piece of armor.
Take the helmet of salvation, Ephesians 6:17a
For a helmet the hope of salvation, 1 Thessalonians 5:8
Hope does not disappoint us, Romans 5:5
Note that it is clear that the helmet of salvation refers to final salvation, what we are still hoping for. Salvation in all its totality is in view, but particular emphasis falls on our future glorification which we are still hoping for when Jesus comes. And this hope will not disappoint us because Jesus cannot be defeated and will bring about the completion of our salvation when He returns.
Putting this together the helmet of salvation is the piece of armor that keeps us from discouragement. Knowing that we cannot ultimately be defeated, that Who we have placed our confidence in cannot fail, gives us hope and confidence in the times when life in a fallen world does disappoint us. We can keep our head up for we know our ultimate victory will transcend every discouraging thing in this life. Let’s consider three applications of this.
Satan is already defeated at the cross, John 12:31-32. Jesus said that at the cross the prince of this world would be judged and “will be driven out.” Jesus said that He “will draw all men to myself.” So Satan is already a defeated foe. The decisive battle has been won. Only the final sentence upon Satan awaits to be carried out. We are not called on to defeat Satan, but live in the victory already provided by wearing the armor.
We may lose spiritual battles, but not the final war, John 21:15-15. Peter lost a spiritual battle when Satan sifted him like wheat as Jesus predicted, and Peter denied his Lord three times. We can lose spiritual battles too. But, like Peter, Jesus can restore us and we can go on living for the Master once again. Despite failure we will still share in His victory.
God always has a remnant of faithful believers, 1 Kings 19:18. God told discouraged Elijah that there were still 7000 faithful Israelites. That was a small remnant but God was still working through them to accomplish His will. All faithful believers belong to Jesus remnant and so are His tools to accomplish His will. Since this is always the way God has worked, we can take great courage in knowing He is still working through us in that way today, outnumbered as we often feel. So, let’s put on the helmet and face down the discouragement of our day.
Your friend, fighting with the weapons, Pastor Brian (:-}).