Fight for Faith in the world without Faith

Fight for Faith in the world without Faith

#4 Protect yourself with faith

#5 Preserve the promise of salvation

#6 Prepare yourself with God's word  

#2 Produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit  

Now we come to the third weapon—faith. Jesus exclaimed in Mark 9:19, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you?” That’s our Lord’s response when a man’s son is tortured by a dumb spirit in his body and his disciples could not drive out the demon. Jesus’ answer tells us something about his feeling of his disciples:

  1. First, he is unhappy or even angry because he is ashamed by their unsuccessful testimony.

  2. Second, he cannot bear with the disciples because they are unable to exercise their faith at all.

  3. Third, he is disappointed because they leave with him the trouble to handle by himself. Originally he gives them the task to drive out demons. But consequently, he has to deal with it by himself. He has given them a powerful weapon—faith—but they never use it to fight the spiritual battle. He could have finished it by himself. He wanted his disciples to experience the power of the weapon of faith but they made him disappointed very much.

Jesus is just sick of the disciples as they behave so timidly toward the demons.

Unfortunately, our Lord Jesus didn’t just face one faithless generation in his time. He has been facing his faithless disciples generation after generation. Today is pretty much the same thing. We have not improved a bit with respect to the exercise of faith. Perhaps we are even worse or weaker in the use of this weapon, compared to the early church generation. Let’s learn how to operate this powerful weapon of faith in spiritual battlefield. 

#4 Protect yourself with faith

6:16 "Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked."

Faith is bullet-proof jacket for armed soldiers. If you have faith, you are wearing a bullet-proof jacket. You will not fear any gunshot. Still remember the case of police shooting in which two policemen being shot by another policeman disguised as a woman in the incident? The motive behind the attack is believed to be an act of revenge. The shooting took place inside a Tsimshatsui pedestrian subway around mid-night. A cop wearing faked lady’s hair and dressed himself like a woman shot two cops on duty. One was shot dead and the other in critical condition. The raider was also shot dead when he suffered counter-attack from one of the cops. Had the two policemen worn bullet-proof jackets on duty, they would not have been harmed so easily by the sudden gunshot.

Faith is our bullet-proof jacket for protection from the “fiery darts” of Satan’s attack. God cannot perform miracles without men’s faith. Why? Because God cannot be pleased without men’s faith and no reward is given without faith: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Heb 11:6)

The disciples fail to drive out demons because they lack the faith in God’s authority over the demons. They do not believe that Jesus has already granted them the authority superior enough to drive out the demons. If you believe that Satan and the demons are fallen angels, you don’t have to fear him as much as the non-believers do. Satan certainly does not deserve the kind of fear we grant him! Angels are superior than human but they are at best servants of God. But God’s children are superior to God’s angels. Hebrews 1:14 confirms this point, “Are they(angels) not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (Heb 1:14) Angels obedient to God are more respectful than fallen angels. But all the angels of God serve Jesus Christ and God’s children.

How about those fallen angels who follow Satan who is just another fallen angel? Do they have any place in our hearts that we should fear them so much over the angels who are serving us?! James 2:19 says, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” Even the evil spirits know and fear God. They should fear us and not vice versa! So if you are afraid of the demons, remember that you have the authority from God to send your angels to drive away those fallen angels.

Please note that the greatest enemy of faith is our doubt. If you doubt whether you are in the spiritual warfare, how can you respond to Jesus’ calling to be a soldier in His army? The most important thing is: if you are not ready to be a strong soldier, how can you stand against the gunfire of the devil? If you strongly believe that you are truly in the battlefield (not just dreaming you are), you will be serious about it and make sure you are fully armed for the battle.

However, Satan knows our weakness of having the tendency to doubt everything. He used such a tactic on Eve when he tempted her to eat the forbidden fruit. He asked her this question in Gen 3:1, “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Eve answered, “All the fruits can be eaten except for the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. If we eat that fruit, we will die. That’s what God said.” The devil said, “You will not die. God just doesn’t want you to be wise like Him.” Then Eve began to doubt God’s warning about the forbidden fruit. Finally, she lost faith in God and ate the fruit. She was easily deceived by the devil because she lacked faith in God’s word.

Satan will surely throw upon you a similar question, “Are you really being put in a spiritual battlefield? Everything is so calm in your surroundings. It doesn’t look like you are in the battlefield. You are deceived by God.” Brothers and sisters, Satan is a liar; he is the father of the liars (John 8:44). If you do not have the strong sense of standing in the battlefield, you will be lax with yourself in keeping God’s warning. You are likely to fall into Satan’s temptation like Eve.

Apart from her doubt of God’s warning message, Eve is also deceived by her own greed of desiring to possess the wisdom of God. We can absolutely possess the wisdom of God and God is pleased for us to seek His wisdom: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not (NRSV, 'who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly'); and it shall be given him.” (James 1:5) However, Eve sought God’s wisdom in the wrong way; she attempted to get it by disobeying God’s word! She followed exactly the way of Satan. We can easily be deceived by our personal greed, as we can see in the case of all the gamblers. They dream of getting rich by gambling. In fact, gambling has become a common habit among the youngsters in Hong Kong, such as soccer gambling. Some even participate in illegal soccer gambling. At first trial, they may gamble only with a little amount on a few matches. As they keep on winning money (or losing money), they will be tempted to gamble more money on more matches. They end up being big losers with serious financial debt. The same thing occurs on other kinds of gambling.

When we feel like we are lying in a comfortable environment and enjoying all the material blessings, we are no longer alert to any sudden blow from our enemies. Be alert as a watchman, and keep watch for the appearance of enemies in the spiritual warfare. Take the shield of faith and ward off the arrows shot by the devil.

#5 Preserve the promise of salvation

6:17a "And take the helmet of salvation,"

Paul says that we should always bear the hope of salvation. Salvation is a sure promise of God and He puts his seal on the promise by giving us the Holy Spirit. This is one of the spiritual blessings mentioned at the beginning of Ephesians: “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.” (Ephe 1:13) Paul said that we are promised of salvation with a seal. The moment we believe in Jesus, we receive the Holy Spirit simultaneously. When we are sealed by the Spirit of God, we have double insurance from God’s promise. God Himself is a trustworthy God and He confirms His trustworthiness by stamping on us His own Spirit as a seal. No one can rub away this seal. Any seal on a document can be rubbed away, but God’s Spirit cannot be rubbed away from our body.

We have the promise of salvation and we proclaim this salvation to others--we are the true ‘salvation army’. As we hold on to the promise of salvation, we do not fear any spiritual attack. Our spirits will never die, no matter how hard we fight in the spiritual battle. Soldiers wear a helmet on his head to prevent his head from being shot. Remember to wear the helmet of salvation all the time for safety’s sake.

#6 Prepare yourself with God’s word

6:17b "and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."

The sword of the Spirit is God’s word. The sword is comparable to the gun bullets as the weapon for today’s soldiers against their enemies. God’s word or the Bible is the ‘bullet’ for the soldiers of Christ’s army. This is the most powerful weapon of all, because the sword is not just for defense like other weapons such as shield or helmet. It is for fighting back and destroying the enemies. Refer back to the case of the police shooting. We know that the first cop, after being shot for several times, still had a rare chance to shoot back at the attacker. If he had not had the bullets ready in his rifle, he could not have saved the life of his colleague and the raider might still be at large. If we have the gun in hand but it is not mounted with bullets, how can we kill our enemies? If we just keep the Bible on bookshelf and do not constantly study the Bible, how can we threaten the devil away with God’s word? Anytime the devil tempts you, you need to recall God’s word out of your mind to reject his temptation.

Still remember how Jesus was tempted by Satan after 40 days of fasting? Satan quoted Psalm 91:11-12 to challenge Jesus to descend from the top of the holy temple. You see, Satan knows the Bible more than you and me! If you look at the verses that Satan quoted, you must admit that Satan is very smart in tempting the Son of God: “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.” In other words, Satan is telling Jesus that angels will protect him from any injury when he jumps down from the top of the temple.

Look at the next verse that Satan didn’t use: “Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.” (Psalm 91:13) See, the two verses that Satan quoted actually is very useful in the spiritual battle. We are supposed to use these verses to shoot at the devil—our true enemy. But the devil is so crafty that he dares to quote first two verses to tempt Jesus. Of course, Jesus is so acquainted with the Bible that he immediately counterattack by quoting another verse “Ye shall not tempt the Lord your God”.(Deut 6:16) He is quickly drawing the sword of the Spirit to fight back.

Suppose that Satan now puts you in a temptation with a Bible verse, can you react like Jesus to quote another Bible verse immediately to fight back? If he can use Bible verses so cleverly to tempt Jesus, he can do the same to us. In fact, he is using our own gun and bullets to shoot back at us! We have said before how the cult leaders quoted Bible verses but interpreted wrongly to proclaim the false doctrines and deceive even the young church leaders. In this regard, Satan is actually using our Bible to attack ourselves! You see how dangerous he is! He is in fact challenging those who have a powerful weapon of God in hand but simply do not know how to operate it. Are you biblically strong enough to fight back such a strong enemy? If you are tempted to commit a sinful act, are you strong enough to come up with a Bible verse and tell yourself not to commit that sin. When you are tempted by the devil to gamble on the World Cup soccer matches, can you think of a Bible verse that keeps you from falling into the temptation--such as “the love of money is the root of all evil” (I Tim 6:10)? When you are tempted to lose your temper with your kids in a family dispute, can you think of a Bible verse that helps you control your temper—such as “provoke not your children to wrath” (Ephe 6:4)? If you have the Bible verse in mind but do not take action to reject the temptation right away, you have a gun in hand and the bullets ready. However, you are simply too unskilled (or spiritually insensitive) to activate the gun and shoot back, just like an untrained soldier who does not open fire when confronted by the enemy.

Remember that God’s word is the most powerful weapon for shooting the devil. Train yourself to use it more until you are good at shooting. Don’t just let the devil shoot at you! But how can you train yourself with God’s word? Let’s look at the next weapon.

#2 Produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit

6:14b "and having on the breastplate of righteousness;"

In Ephe 5:8-11, Paul says, “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” Paul in Gal 5:22-23 also speaks of the fruit of the Spirit in terms of our spiritual character: The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (節制).” All of these are godly attributes the children of light should have if we are to please God. Jesus said in Matt 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Seeking God’s kingdom is to preach the gospel and win the souls. Seeking God’s righteousness is to produce the nine sorts of spiritual fruit to reflect the behavior of God’s children.

Acting out righteousness is like firing out the bullets with a powerful gun. When you have the word of God or Bible knowledge in your mind, you have powerful bullets mounted in the gun. If you have your gun handy for shooting but you do not shoot out the bullets, how can you kill the enemies and defend yourself? You have a powerful weapon for no use.

The Bible says, “faith without works is dead” (James 2:26). James tells us that you need to show your faith by your act. He asks the believers a question, “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him?” (James 2:14) By the same token, what advantage do you have when you say you have bullets in your gun, but you don’t fire? Can the bullets save you? You must train yourself to do more shooting by putting God’s word into practice! That’s why police need regular training to shoot at targets with high precision. Crimes are delicately planned by the bandits. But their occurrence is so sudden to you that if you do not react fast enough, you are just like the other cop in the police shooting who was shot and severely injured by the gunman without any resistance. Though the cop did not lose his life after being shot several times, he was certainly the loser in the assault.

James 4:7 reads, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Shoot at the devil by acting out God’s word and prove to him that God’s word has already changed your mind. There’s nothing he can do with you. So you can convince him not to trouble you anymore. Let him be your target instead of you being his target. Again, Paul says in Rom 12:2, “be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Producing the fruit of the Holy Spirit is the best proof of your transformation from the children of darkness to the children of light.