Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
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. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 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, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints. Ephesians 6:10–18 NKJV
We begin this chapter with the Apostle Paul’s instruction concerning our warfare. Paul, on a very personal note, knew exactly what spiritual warfare was all about. After his conversion, his life was a continual battle against the forces of darkness that once used him to accomplish their plans. After his conversion, he was no longer their instrument. He fully belonged to Christ. Paul spoke with great authority when he said:
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 2 Corinthians 10:3–4 NASB
Paul was responding to his critics that accused him of walking in the flesh. He acknowledged that he was still living in the flesh, but that he was not fighting the spiritual warfare by means of his flesh. Paul helps us understand, as believers, that we are not using fleshly weapons in our battles. God has given us weapons to defeat the enemy which are divinely powerful. Jesus promised His disciples that they “will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8 NASB). That promise was also given to us. Paul taught, “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise” (Ephesians 1:13 NKJV).
Paul understood that the minds of people were in bondage to spiritual forces that exercised influence through the world and its systems. Paul called this influence “fortresses” in the minds of people. The enemy’s purpose is to establish ways of thinking, belief systems, and controls over humanity by his minions known as “principalities and powers” that are contrary to God’s Word. Some of these fortress areas are unbelief, false religion, and lust. Paul preached the Good News of the Kingdom of God to religiously bound people, primarily the Jews, but also to Gentiles bound by sexual and occult strongholds wrapped up in false religion.
Paul knew that the fortresses were established in people’s thoughts. As he preached the Gospel with power, he understood he was “destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NASB). Many believers try to reason with others through logic to convince unbelievers to accept biblical truths by seeing the logic of their presentation. A well-presented message is important, but the battle in the reasoning of people’s minds is spiritual. In the power of the Holy Spirit and by the authority of God’s Word, we too, like Paul, destroy fortresses set up in the minds of the unregenerate. This makes it possible for them to receive God’s grace of salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Many believers who have been able to believe for their own salvation still need deliverance from the world’s views. Those views are controlled by principalities and powers that are under Satan’s domination. This is one reason why the study of the Word of God is so important. The Word, by the power of the Holy Spirit, continues to wash our minds and set us free from the world’s views to see and understand from God’s perspective.