Greetings in this brand new year! We face new challenges, new horizons, new trials. By the grace of God, we trust there will be new victories. That is the theme of this series of lessons—the victory Christ gives us as we stand strong in HIS strength and put on the full armor of His truth, righteousness, gospel of peace, faith, salvation, and Word. Just the mention of these powerful weapons fills my heart with courage!

The Reflections articles in this series have been written by young people. Brothers and sisters, single and married, at both the “younger” and “older” end of the “young people” list, and from all over the country—they have shared their battles and victories. I know you will enjoy their testimonies!

JANUARY 3, 2020

WE WRESTLE (Contending with Evil Spirits)

Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

MEMORY VERSE: Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. —II Corinthians 2:11

CENTRAL THOUGHT: As Christian soldiers, our strength only comes from God, who empowers us to stand against Satan’s wiles while we fight, not carnally, against people, but spiritually, wrestling against principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places.


Ephesians 6:10 “Be strong in the Lord”: be empowered within; be strengthened; go from strength to strength; increase more in strength in the inner man. The idea is not just passive strength, but an active power to fight. “The Latin versions have confortamini; a reminder of the true idea of “comfort” or “comforter” in older English usage” (Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges). According to, the origin of comfort is Middle English comfortien, a variant of confortien (Anglo-French) and late Latin confortare (to strengthen), equivalent to con– plus –fortare, a verbal derivative of Latin fortis (strong). To comfort is “to lessen the sadness or sorrow of someone and to strengthen by inspiring with hope and restoring a cheerful outlook” ( It is inspiring to note that the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, is sent to us, not to merely give cheer or sympathy, but to actually strengthen us inwardly and empower us for battle.

Ephesians 6:11 “Whole armour”: full armor; complete set; every weapon needed to wage successful warfare; panoply (Greek), offensive and defensive. “Wiles”: schemes sought out for deceiving; tactics; tricks; the stratagems of a skillful leader. From the Greek word methodeia, root of the English word method. “A way of searching after something; an inquiry; a method. Organized evil-doing; well-crafted trickery” (HELPS Word Studies). “Satan does not openly appear. He approaches us not in repulsive forms, but comes to recommend some plausible doctrine, to lay before us some temptation that shall not immediately repel us. He presents the world in an alluring aspect; invites us to pleasures that seem to be harmless, and leads us in indulgence until we have gone so far that we cannot retreat” (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible). “Devil”: derived from the ecclesiastical Greek word, diabolos, meaning slanderer; false accuser. The late Latin term was diabolus, from which came the Italian diavolo, French diable, Spanish diablo, German Teufel, and Old English deofol; hence, the present English devil. (Teufel is Old High German tiufal, from Latin via Gothic diabaulus).

Ephesians 6:12 “We wrestle”: our wrestling; from a word meaning to sway; vibrate or shake; struggle; conflict; contest. “Flesh and blood”: mere human powers. “Principalities”: angelic powers; from Greek arche, meaning “beginning,” or “first place,” or “chief,” referring to the “prince of this world” as Jesus said in John 12:31. “Powers”: (Greek exousias) authority; domain; force or influence. “The rulers of the darkness”: (Greek kosmokrator; used only one time in the New Testament) the world-rulers of this darkness (Revised Version); world-ruler, referring to satan and his demonic powers. “Whether in the prevalence of vice and error; of superstition and magic arts; of infidelity, atheism, or antinomianism [relating to the view that Christians are released by grace from the obligation of observing the moral law]; of evil customs and laws; of pernicious fashions and opinions…we are to make war on all these forms of evil, and never to yield in the conflict (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible). “This world”: an age or cycle of time; especially this present age. “Spiritual wickedness”: wicked spirits, and their influences on earth; the spiritual hosts of wickedness or elements or forces of wickedness. “High places”: heavenly places; “the air” (Ephesians 2:2); the scene of the combat, or the “kingdom of heaven, being the region in which Christians contend with the enemies of God” (Expositor’s Greek Testament). See Luke 10:18; Revelation 12:7-11.

Ephesians 6:13 “Withstand”: stand your ground; resist; oppose. “The evil day”: the day of temptation; the day when you are especially violently assaulted by satan; “Any felt crisis of the soul’s resistance” (Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges). “Looking back on our own evil days, we must all be aware that our defeats have mainly come from one or other of the two errors which lie so near us all, and which are intimately connected with each other—the one being that of fighting in our own strength, and the other being that of leaving unused our God-given power” (MacLaren’s Expositions).


The apostle Paul’s description of Christian warfare and full suit of armor (panoply) in Ephesians 6 follows several chapters with Christian unity as the theme, lessons on Christian behavior and a beautiful outlay of marriage and how it portrays the mystery of Christ and His bride, the church. After his exhortation on varying domestic duties, in closing he gives a general charge to all: “Finally,” or what remains, or what you still have to do, he declares, is to be done and can only be done in the strength of the Lord Jesus. He then goes on to describe the significance and strength of the opposition along with a full description of the essential pieces of spiritual weaponry; probably inspired by his view of the suit of armor on the Roman soldier guarding his own prison from which he wrote the epistle.

The Bible student will recall past studies of the literal battles and warfare of the Israelites in the Old Testament. The principles given then apply spiritually now. Let us consider a few:

“The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace (Exodus 14:14).

“Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:9).

“There is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few” (I Samuel 14:6).

“The battle is the LORD’S” (I Samuel 17:47).

“And, behold, God himself is with us for our captain” (II Chronicles 13:12).

“The children of Judah prevailed, because they relied upon the LORD God of their fathers” (II Chronicles 13:18).

“Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s” (II Chronicles 20:15).

“Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed…for there there be more with us than with him: with him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles” (II Chronicles 32:7-8).

When Paul says to the Christian soldier, “Be strong in the Lord,” it is but an echo of the battle cry from ages past!

—Angela Gellenbeck


  1. In the etymology of the word comfort, what meaning and language origin has to do with being strong?
  2. What is the Greek word for “full armor”?
  3. Our English word ____________ comes from the Greek word for “wiles.”
  4. Name and describe the foes against whom we wrestle.
  5. For every Old Testament scripture reference in the Lesson Background, name the places and people in each scenario.


When the admonition comes, “Be strong in the Lord,” let us answer like David, “My help comes from the LORD! I come in the name of the LORD!” We can know that “greater is He who is in you, than he that is in the world.” Let us take courage and have utmost confidence in our God of battles who fights for us and empowers us from within.

When made aware of the wily foe who seeks out methods for deceiving, let us not relax nor sit down, but stand up and suit up until we are prepared by seeking God for His FULL ARMOR.

When the reminder comes, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood,” let us consider that and deal kindly and wisely with our fellow humans. They are not enemies; our battles are not with them.

When we are enlightened by the knowledge that our struggle is against “principalities, powers and the rulers of the world’s darkness,” let us be sober and vigilant, praying in the Spirit, so that we are not caught off guard, but are able to identify the enemy. The Holy Spirit can warn us, “This is the spirit of fear.” “That is the spirit of envy.” “You’re dealing with an unclean spirit.” Or, “This person operates under a spirit of division.” It is the design of the enemy that people would be naive to the seriousness of the battle or even deny the existence of the spirits with whom we wrestle. While we are confident the victory is ours through Christ, it is crucial to be vigilant and constantly aware; to be savvy to the avenues and operations of the adversary.

Scripture tells us that many spirits have gone out into the world; therefore, we can not believe every spirit to be of the truth (I John 4:1). There are doctrines of devils (I Timothy 4:1); there are devils working miracles (II Thessalonians 2:9-10; Revelation 16:14); there are unclean spirits (Revelation 16:13) that come from the mouth of the dragon (pagan, occult religions), the beast (apostate “Christian” organizations), and the false prophet (Eastern religions, Islam, Mormonism, cults, etc.). I believe these are the kinds of spirits described by “spiritual wickedness in high places.” Babylon, described in Revelation chapters 17 and 18 as both a purple and scarlet-clad harlot and a great fallen city (apostate Christianity), is said to be the hold of every foul spirit. Many, Jesus warned, would be deceived by the many false prophets in the last days.

In this “evil day,” when we know we have “done all”—when we have done the best we could—let us just firmly stand.

—Angela Gellenbeck


by Natalie Sorrell, MO

A few months ago, I was struck with an intense battle from the enemy. I was unprepared, much to my dismay. The enemy had been messing with my mind and insecurities for a little bit before this time but not nearly as intense. This time it came strong and hard. Accusations and doubts came from Satan himself that I knew were not true, yet it bothered me so much that the devil would think such things of me. He started torturing me with questions and doubts. “What if God isn’t real? What if the word of God isn’t true?” and other things that had to do with my identity. Though I knew it was from the enemy, I still struggled with why he was doing this to me. Through this trial, I have learned that the devil doesn’t care who you are and he doesn’t care what he tries to get you to do. There is a lot of evil in this world, and it is not surprising that he tries to bring it among the saints of God.

In my swirling mind of fears and doubts that came from the enemy, Jesus was and always has been right there beside me. He’s always been there to bring truth to my mind when the devil would bring lies. He gave me scriptures and inspiration that have drawn me closer to Him and enabled me to fight off the enemy. A few of these scriptures were: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (II Timothy 1:7).

And this passage in Philippians 4 that gave me a recipe on how to receive peace: “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you” (Philippians 4:6-9).

I had been searching and seeking for peace and quiet from the [attacks of the] devil. And I learned that sometimes God doesn’t quiet the storm around us, but he can quiet us and give us peace! Asking for that peace and doing those things like the scriptures above say, smites satan in the face, and he has no power on us. Since then, I’ve been learning to call on God to give me peace and help when satan throws his accusations at me. And you know what? It’s not as bad. And I’m extremely thankful for that!

Do I still hear satan in the background sometimes? Yes, I am still fighting! But I know now where my happiness, peace and victory comes from. My God of Peace. Stay encouraged!

Click here to hear an inspiring Christian battle hymn!