by Misti Chancellor
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“Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness, Temperance…” (Gal. 5:22, 23)
These don’t sound like weapons do they? Well, maybe not in the conventional sense, but what about in the spiritual sense?
In a recent writing challenge entry (http://www.faithwriters.com/wc-article-level2.php?id=15424), I made a reference to Galatians (although I think I was really thinking Ephesians at the time). When I got to thinking about it later, and realized that I probably was thinking Ephesians when I put Galatians, I decided to read through Galatians and see if there were any spiritual weapons in there that we could use to defeat the enemy. As I got to looking and thinking about it, the more I realized that the fruit of the Spirit are also weapons we can use to overcome/win/defeat the devil in the things that come against us. I’m going to take them one at a time and point out other scriptures that back up this thought. (You didn’t think I was going to just throw it out there and not substantiate it, did you?) :-)
Love – Jesus said that the two greatest commandments were to 1) Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and 2) Love your neighbor as yourself. In Romans 13:10 it says, “Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” 1 Corinthians 13 expounds more about love and its qualities. So, how is this a weapon? There will be times when temptations come to try to get you to do wrong to someone, to treat someone wrong, to take advantage of someone, or to otherwise act in an unloving manner. When those temptations come, we can look at the situation and realize that love doesn’t act or behave that way, it doesn’t allow those feelings to work, and then we can look for a way to put the love of God that is in us into action. Instead of allowing the temptation to cause us to act in an unloving manner, we can let the love of God shine through us, and find something kind, helpful, and loving to do for that person. If the temptation is to think evil of someone, we can let the love of God work on the situation and put those evil thoughts aside and not pick them up again. We can use love to overcome the temptation and bless someone else.
Joy – This is one of the ones that really doesn’t seem like a spiritual weapon when you first look at it, but as I thought about it more, I realized that it could be used to defeat the devil. There’s an account of the disciples being taken before the counsel and being reprimanded and abused for teaching in the name of Jesus. Instead of being cowed and defeated, the Bible says that they “rejoiced that they were counted worthy” to take part in Christ’s suffering. They let the joy that they could endure for Christ carry them through and help them to defeat the enemy in their trial. The verse that came to mind when I was thinking of Joy as a spiritual weapon was, “Count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations.” Are we going to let the trial push us down and defeat us, are we going to let that discouragement overwhelm us, or are we going to look at the bigger picture and find joy in the fact that we are “counted worthy” and in the good that the trial will work in us? Can’t you just see the devil turning and running when you look at him and say, “Don’t you see, God thinks I’m worth it”? I think Joy is one of our valuable weapons, and we need to keep a firm hold on it. (Read 1 Peter 4:12-13.)
Peace – When I think of this, I think of Jesus, standing in the boat with the frightened disciples in the middle of the storm saying, “Peace, be still.” The enemy of our souls would love to get us all agitated and focused on the trial. He wants us to worry, to fret and to generally be disquieted. He knows that if he works on us long enough we’re going to get all dismal and gloomy and discouraged, and if he continues that long enough, he can get us to the point where we just want to throw up our hands and quit. Can you see what a valuable weapon peace is? In the middle of the trial, instead of allowing the devil to work on us like that, we can turn our eyes on Jesus and allow him to keep us in perfect peace because our mind is stayed on him. When we focus on Jesus, the storm may rage all around us, but that peace in our souls will keep the devil at bay. He won’t be able to work and drag us down to the point of giving up. His hands are tied, and he has to go.
Longsuffering – Patient endurance… with kindness. “We count them happy which endure” (James 5:10-11) Sometimes endurance is how the battle is won. The devil wants you to wear out and quit. He wants you to give up, to think it just isn’t worth the pain. But patient endurance will get you through and help you to overcome. There’s a verse that says the race isn’t to the swift and the battle isn’t to the strong, and in another place it says he that endures to the end shall be saved. James 1:12 is another good verse regarding this weapon.
Gentleness – “Thy gentleness hath made me great.” (Psa. 18:35) “A soft answer turneth away wrath.” (Prov. 15:1) Those are two verses that come to mind right off. Sometimes our trials are dealing with other people. Gentleness is a wonderful weapon for turning the situation from being a trial into not being a trial. It defeats the design of the enemy because instead of having people at each other’s throats, you have one person who is working to defuse the situation and to bring it to a peaceful, but honorable conclusion. We can be gentle without being weak. That carefulness in dealing with others, that concern for their good, brings down defenses and destroys the devil’s plan. Another verse that comes to mind regarding this is 2 Timothy 2:24-26. Through gentleness, we can draw souls to God – which defeats the devil’s design of destroying their soul in hell. I’m sure there is more that can be brought out on this weapon, so please, feel free to share your thoughts with me on this.
Goodness – “Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.” (1 Peter 3:16) That was the verse that came to mind when I was thinking of this weapon. People might speak evil of us, they might go around slandering us, but if our life is a life where goodness shows through consistently, the devil will be defeated in that. It might seem to work for a time, but a consistent good life will eventually put to silence those that speak evil of you.
Faith – I think most saints realize that this is a spiritual weapon, and one that they use continuously. Faith is important for us to succeed. Faith tells us that God will do what he says he’ll do. Faith holds on when the devil paints a picture that looks opposite of what God has promised. Faith defeats the enemy by its trust that God is not only able but willing to perform what he said he would perform. There’s so much more, but I’m having a hard time getting it to come to mind at the moment, so please, if you have thoughts on this, share them with us. :-)
Meekness – I think Jesus is probably the best example of someone who used this weapon to defeat the devil. When I think of meekness, I think of the words, “humble strength.” Can humility in the life be a strength that can be used to defeat the enemy? Has the enemy ever come to you and told you that you’re proud? Has he ever brought accusations against you? I think in those cases, humility in the heart would be evidence that could be used to defeat the enemy and cast down those accusations. Christ was the epitome of meekness – humble, taking the lowly place even though he deserved the best, becoming a servant so that we could enjoy the blessings of salvation. If we are meek, and take the lowly, humble position, and have a heart to serve, others will be touched by it. Through humility and helping others, we can defeat the enemy of souls and draw souls to Christ.
Temperance – Self control or moderation. I think of that verse where Paul says, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” (1 Corinthians 9:27) How can self-control be a weapon that can be used against the enemy? Look at this verse as an example: “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” (2 Corinthians 10:5) Sometimes there will be thoughts that come and come and come against us, and we will have to consciously make the effort to turn our thoughts into other channels. If we don’t, the devil will use those thoughts against us – either to accuse us or to tempt us to yield to them. Self–control - making that effort to do our part in the battle against the enemy, turning our thoughts in other directions, removing ourselves from a situation where the devil is attacking us, not allowing ourselves to be led into temptation, and most of all, taking our will and placing it into God’s hands and yielding it up to him so that we can do his will and follow his way.
*All scripture references are from the KJV.
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Well done - there is a lot to reflect here. May the Holy Spirit continue to lead you. God bless