How to Fight with Spiritual Weapons
At times, motherhood is completely overwhelming. I fluctuate between confidence in my choices and guilt, energy and exhaustion, triumph and defeat. There are days I’m up at 5:00 am reading my Bible, exercising, and eagerly anticipating the day. There are others days I am rolling out of bed with tears in my eyes as my husband walks out the door for work, wondering what in the world I am supposed to do with these babies for the next 9 hours. Lately the latter is more of the norm. Overwhelmed and guilty that I feel overwhelmed because I shouldn’t feel overwhelmed! I wanted these babies. I prayed for years for these babies. And I don’t want to rush through their lives, only to wake up on graduation day and realize I was overwhelmed through it all.
But sometimes. It’s. Just. Overwhelming.
Motherhood is a sanctifying process, a constant demanding of dying to self. This role is one of the best yet hardest callings I have ever experienced. There is an enormous responsibility and privilege to teach these souls about Jesus and raise them to be respectable, productive members of society. The role of a parent is certainly the role of a teacher as well.
But maybe this calling is just as much about what God is teaching me as what I am teaching my children. Some of the greatest lessons come when we feel worn out and weary. Thanks to the nature of motherhood, we have many (oh, so many) opportunities to learn these lessons.
Recently I have been drawn deeper into a lesson I thought I had already learned. My attention to spiritual warfare increased years ago during our time in Colorado and continues to be brought to the forefront. Ephesians 6:12 says it best, “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.”
I’ve applied this verse through periods of great temptation. I’ve applied it to struggles in relationships. I’ve battled in prayer for other people, knowing that divine intervention in the heavenly realms was the only way to survive. When our oldest daughter was in the NICU, I specifically remember praying over her while considering the gravity of this verse. So the “big” moments in life, these are easy to see the struggle in the spiritual realms.
But what about the day to day trials, the events that we have deemed unworthy of such a label?
At first, counting my mom problems as a spiritual fight felt a little silly. Or worse, like I was taking scripture out of context. In the grand scheme of things, meltdowns (both the babies and me), tantrums, and picking up toys shouldn’t be spiritual battles, right? Are these things I should actually pray about?
Prior to this verse, Paul addresses various items that apply to specific groups of people: wives, then husbands, then children. Fathers, slaves, and masters. But there is no clarifier for this passage, therefore, we can surmise that it applies to everyone. If the “big” struggles are with the spiritual forces of evil, then the “small” trials are as well. If our struggles are not against flesh and blood, then our struggles-all of our struggles- are spiritual in nature and are worth seeing with spiritual eyes and fighting with spiritual weapons.
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (Ephesians 6:14-18)
Let’s break down these verses and see how they can apply to trials of every kind.
Belt of Truth. Believe the truth in every situation. Feelings may be real but it doesn’t mean they are true. We must see past our emotions and fix our eyes on truth.
Breastplate of Righteousness. Righteousness: “acting in accord with divine or moral law.” We are positioned to fight when we live in accordance with God’s law. Thankfully, Jesus simplifies it for us with this. Love God. Love others.
Feet Fitted with Readiness. This readiness comes from the gospel, the good news that brings peace. These feet can bring good news anywhere the day takes us. And that is good news.
Shield of Faith. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1) Faith is our confidence and assurance that these struggles are leading us towards a greater purpose and ultimately to heaven.
Helmet of Salvation. If we are in Christ, we are safe. This knowledge of and confidence in our salvation protects our minds. Controlling our thoughts is one of the greatest battles we will ever face; protect and direct them by remembering the gift of salvation.
Sword of the Spirit. The sword is the Word of God and is the only offensive weapon we have. Satan cannot stand before scripture. Jesus gave us this example when he was being tempted in Matthew 4. We must be in the Word so we can not only defend ourselves but gain traction against spiritual forces.
Pray in the Spirit. Prayer says more about who we believe God is than even the importance of the events we are praying about. Prayer empowers us. Prayer changes us. Prayer humbles us into a position that allows space for God to move.
It turns out these spiritual battles transcend time, place, or calling. And putting on this armor will, in fact, provide just what we need to survive and thrive in any situation. We just have to start fighting physical events with spiritual weapons.
Even if the event is a tantrum.
Photo Source: https://billygraham.org/decision-magazine/september-2017/the-authority-of-the-bible/