Ephesians 6:13 states, “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 firm” (ESV). This verse is part of a longer discussion that begins in verse 10 about the armor of God, a metaphor for the resources needed to withstand the devil. In verse 12, Paul underscores the true (spiritual) enemies of Christians. With this knowledge and the gifts of God, we are to be armed and ready, “having done all,” to stand firm.
Life is a spiritual warfare for Christians, with the enemy launching different attacks in the form of temptations, persecutions, or external pressures to compromise and be accepted by the world’s system. Although the devil cannot undo a believer’s salvation, he can attempt to break our fellowship with God, trap us in sin, or discourage us through persecution and doubt.
Therefore, we must do all we can to stand, which entails remaining committed and resisting the devil’s attempts. Our stand weakens any hold Satan may want to have on our lives and deepens our relationship with God. Fortunately, our Father has equipped us with all we need to counter the devil. We are not alone in this battle.
Standing against the devil is less about the melodrama and hysterics displayed by some and more about holding firm to God’s Word, His righteousness and salvation, faith and the gospel (Ephesians 6:14–17). Spiritual warfare requires spending ample time with Scripture; we must know how to wield the sword of the Spirit. Only through the Bible can we gain knowledge of the armor necessary to win battles against the enemy.
Doing all we can to stand also requires that we stay alert. In the same chapter of Ephesians, Paul urges us to “be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” (Ephesians 6:18). Dealing with a similar theme, the apostle Peter urges believers to “be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
There are two extremes Christians should avoid when standing against the devil. One is to emphasize warfare against the devil to the exclusion of other important matters like fellowshipping with God and discipling believers. Another extreme is to live like we have no enemy, blithely tripping along, ignorant of the devil’s devices (2 Corinthians 2:11). We should be neither unduly focused on Satan nor unconscious of him. Rather, we should stay alert while being rooted in God’s revelation.
The devil and his cohorts are defeated foes (see Colossians 2:15; Hebrews 2:14–15) but still have the freedom to act presently. When we do all we can to stand against Satan’s wiles, we affirm our faithfulness and loyalty to Christ. Like a spouse who resists an outside admirer or soldiers who stay true to their country, we are called to persevere in Christ. Our faithfulness will be rewarded (Matthew 5:11–12; 1 Corinthians 15:58; James 1:12; Revelation 2:10).