Summary: When we doubt our Faith, and our Salvation, or question the authority of the Bible, or wonder if God really cares about our Prayer, then, we are gullible to deception.
Satan is a con artist. He sells death and he's the best at it. Paul teaches us we are engaged in a spiritual war so, we should be aware of what this means. Satan is a con artist. He deceives. Paul tells us how to arm ourselves in this battle and we'll take a quick look at these spiritual tools of warfare. Truth, Righteousness, Peace, Faith, Salvation, Bible, and Prayer. Each of these are just as vital as the other, so the question we need to ask is, am I wearing and using the spiritual armor and weapons God gives me?
The smartest people can be conned so its not just about how much you know about these spiritual tools. Even spiritual leaders are caught having affairs, or embezzling church funds. Everyone sins. This isn't about how much you know. You want to know what makes these spiritual weapons effective? Your motive. Your motive means everything. So let`s address the first weapon Paul tells us about, Truth. Remember the greatest commandment? Paul confirms the teaching of Jesus when he said, " If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing."
Here's the Truth. Take the heart out of religion and what is the result? Some people who go to church, but they have a lot of questions, and doubts, and they don't care to live for Jesus, except for what they do for a couple hours on Sunday. Ask yourself have you considered that denying yourself every day to follow Jesus might seem too difficult? Does prayer seem ineffective or too abstract? Have you ever doubted your faith? If you have answered or are answering these questions affirmatively, you can be assured that you were or are allowing the deceiver to operate his con on your mind.
Please notice the emphasis on the heart and the motive. If you love God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind, are you going to mess up? Yep. But if you love God with all your heart, soul strength and mind, how are you going to feel when you mess up? The Truth is I'm going to feel sorrow for those things I do that are sinful. A heart of repentance is the difference between someone who is being deceived and someone who is genuinely following Jesus as a flawed but forgiven person. The armor and weapons God gives us are Truth, Righteousness, Peace, Faith, Salvation, Bible, and Prayer. Am I wearing Truth? Do I love God with all my heart, soul, strength and mind? Is love the motive for why I do what I do? I wear Truth by answering with a resounding, "YEAH!"
The second piece Paul mentions is Righteousness. This is a big churchy word that means something really simple. Think of it this way, Jesus put his clothes on you. Is that weird? It's probably not for girls because they share clothes all the time. But guys, we don't really go out of our way to wear each others clothes. "Hey, dude, nice pair of Levi's there, mind if I try them on sometime?" Yeah, that would get you a black eye with most guys I know. Paul explained it this way, "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." Jesus became sin for us. Jesus was "right with God" because Jesus didn't sin. He "had no sin." Jesus clothed us in His righteousness.
You'll notice that Paul calls Righteousness a "breastplate". Think body armor. So the better question is, do I have this body armor on? You have to reflect on your motive again. Jesus alerts us that the Pharisees in his day were unrighteous. One of His big complaints with these religious leaders was that they worshiped God with their lips but their hearts were far away from Him. Are you right with God? The armor and weapons God gives us are Truth, Righteousness, Peace, Faith, Salvation, Bible, and Prayer. Righteousness isn't about doing the right things, the right way. That's what the Pharisees did. Am I wearing Righteousness? Do I love Jesus more than myself? Do I obey Him because I love Him? If you're wearing Righteousness then you're answer to these questions is, "YEAH!" And a heart that is sold out to follow Jesus is not easily deceived by the con artist.
Paul teaches us that Peace comes from the Good News and is a part of our armor, too. How do you feel when you hear good news? How about when you hear bad news? When Kristi and I were told that Jared had a cancer in his leg, I can't tell you how dejected, defeated, sad, and even angry I felt. This bad news brought up all of these feelings and emotions all at the same time. It was a terrible moment. But then when we were told the good news that Jared was finally cancer free and in remission I felt all the opposite emotions. I felt elated, victorious, happy, and full of joy and peace all at the same time. We like to hear good news.