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Extraordinary Opponents, Require Extraordinary Measures
Friday, December 3, 2021 by James H. Dotson Jr. Ph.D.

One of the first things my Christian counselor told me years back when I sought her help to break free from my sex addiction was that I would never be successful if my focus was on controlling body parts and hormones. Why? You will not succeed, she told me, because the battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the devil and his evil forces. And, she told me, you don’t have a chance to win that battle in your own strength, because the devil is smarter and stronger than you are and has thousands of years of experience working his schemes and bringing mortals like you down to destruction.

The Armor of God

Before seeking her help, I had for years, and years tried to muster up the will power and follow-through to stop my sexual sins. And there were times when I would be “clean” for months and longer. But I would always eventually give in to my lusts and end up right back where I was before. I could never sustain any meaningful length of sobriety. I was bound up in my sexual immorality and could not break free – like a prisoner in jail.

The will power thing wasn’t working for me and continuing to do the same thing and expecting different results is, I am told, the definition of insanity. I eventually came to believe that I needed to give up trying to make the change by my own power, and instead let God make the change in his power. But how does that work; how do I let God make the change?

Part of the answer, I discovered, is in the book of Ephesians in the New Testament of the Holy Bible. Here, the Apostle Paul, who wrote this letter, tells me: “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” (Eph 6:13, ESV)

What is this armor that I need to stand firm against the devil? Paul answers this question in the verses immediately following his admonition to put on God’s armor:

  1. Belt of Truth (v. 6:14) — knowing and believing the truth about God and his ways, the truth about Satan and his evil forces, and the truth about me, a sinner in need of help.
  2. Breastplate of Righteousness (v. 6:14) — accepting the righteousness of Jesus Christ to cover me and put me in right standing with God.
  3. Shoes of the Gospel of Peace (v. 6:15) — standing firm and ready for the battle in the peace that comes from the good news, i.e., the Gospel, that I can be and am victorious in and through my victorious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 
  4. Shield of Faith (v. 6:16) — complete surrender to and trust in Jesus Christ, which gives me confidence to carry on in the battle knowing that in Jesus Christ the victory is mine.
  5. Helmet of Salvation (v. 6:17) — relying on the fact and resting in the hope that through Jesus Christ I have been saved, I am being saved, and I will be saved.
  6. Sword of the Spirit (v. 6:17) — using the “word of God” to cut through all of Satan’s schemes.

Finally, Paul urges me to always pray in the Spirit for myself and for others (vv. 6:18-20). To pray always means to be alert and to persevere in ongoing communion with God. To pray in the Spirit means to ask the Holy Spirit to translate the thoughts and words of my prayer so that when it reaches God, God hears what’s important. To pray for myself and for others means that God does not intend for me to be a lone soldier in the battle against evil; rather, I support and encourage others as they support and encourage me through prayer (vv. 6:18-20).

If you want to overcome the devil and his evil forces (extraordinary opponents), focus foremost on truth, righteousness, the Gospel of peace, faith, salvation, the word of God, and prayer (extraordinary measures).

Copyright © 2021 by Training for Transformation, Inc.


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