We all have weaknesses for certain sins. Some of us have a track record of remaining victorious most of the time in this war against temptation, but others lose more battles than they win. Sadly, there are many that give up fighting against the evil that preys on their soul. When Christians and non-believers alike are struggling with anger, lust, addiction, and other problems, the answer is the Word of God. It is the primary weapon of combat against evil. In its powerful verses is a man named Paul who describes this eternal war and how it can be difficult to win. However, this man who committed atrocities such as the murder and persecution of Christians in his former life, describes tools of spiritual warfare known as the armor of God and how he has overcome his sins to be the most influential man in the entire Bible besides Jesus Christ Himself.
Paul is the perfect example for those of us, including myself, who have or are currently struggling with temptations in their lives. I understand that we all have temptations, but I am speaking in terms of problems that some us have dealt with for a very long time and not just one or two time mistakes made. As Christians who struggle, we know that our salvation is eternally secure even in our hardships of long drawn out battles against evil meaning we will be victorious in the end, but there is still a sense of guilt and disappointment at our failures. I’ve experienced the same guilt before and over time have been praying and reading the Word to prevent more major losses. To describe the challenging nature of this struggle, Paul writes this:
Romans 7:21-23 – I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
His mind and soul are at war against his flesh that is tempted, just as we all are. You can equate sin in general to cancer. It’s easy to detect and treat early, but if it continues for long periods of time it becomes more difficult and almost impossible to cure. In Paul’s case he would’ve been in Stage 4 of cancer given that he had lived quite a sinful way for half of his life. That is probably why it took such a dramatic intervention of God Himself to set Paul straight and become the great apostle that he was. Learning how to win the battles after having lost so many takes a very long time. The chronological order of the books Paul wrote is quite interesting. Romans was written between 57 and 58 AD. You see where Paul wrote about remorse and difficult in his own fight against sin in this book. In 62 AD he wrote the book of Ephesians where he gives the solution to winning the fight against evil in a complete way. Paul wrote:
Ephesians 6:10-20 – 10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
A few years later when he wrote Ephesians, he proclaims the solution. It’s speculation that this was a process of remorse to solution throughout his writings over time, but I find it to be an interesting theory. It coincides with my point that spiritual problems we face can take a long time to get rid of. In closing, we must always remind ourselves that we have already won and can ask forgiveness when we fail, but if we are continuously failing at the same thing over and over again, we must use the full armor of God. Jesus Himself used the Word to defeat the devil when he was tempted in the wilderness. As Christ followers we should do the same and win.