10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For 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. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Know against whom you struggle.
When you can see that it is not people who are your enemy but rather, it is Satan, our ultimate enemy, it is freeing.
It is not that person who is so hard headed and arrogant that he will not listen to you nor acknowledge your presence.
It is not that person who “hates your guts” and no matter what you do will not even think there is a shred of decency in you.
It is not that person who misunderstood something you did and saw it for true evil incarnate.
It is not that person who is just selfish and will take everything from everyone.
It is not that shortsighted corporate executive who closes plants just because that is what he was taught to do in business school.
It is not that boss who passed you over for promotion because she wanted you to continue to be her personal lackey.
It is Satan.
We must remember that how we act towards others as a Christian is how people judge Christ. If people know we are a Christian (as they should) — people paint Christ with the brush we use.
We must continue to be kind, decent, patient and have all of the fruits of the spirit as we deal with others, but how?
At the toughest times in my life, I literally wrote down all of the armor — studied it and prayed through it, something like this:
Lord, help me know that my true enemy is Satan and to know that I must love people as your creation. Help me to stand.
Put upon me the shield of faith that I may deflect the flaming arrows of doubt, unkindness, and struggle that come my way today.
Put upon me the helmet of salvation so that I may know in my mind the assurance of my salvation and not doubt. Help my unbelief!
Let your breastplate of righteousness cover my sinful heart because truly, there is nothing good in me and I do not deserve to go to heaven.
Let me have upon my feet, the shoes of the preparation of gospel of peace so that I am always willing to go wherever you wish me to go to share God’s word.
Let me know your word so that when I have to go on the offensive it is in your power and your words and not mine. (sword of the spirit) For it is only through your name that I can be saved and through your name that the enemy must flee.
The darkest times of my life have often been cloaked with such prayers.
14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.