Spiritual warfare

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Add to Cart. Bundle info. Add to Account. Explore the regions of a modern city as you attempt to collect the full armor of God. Along the way, you'll encounter villainous characters and numerous obstacles designed to test your faith. Correctly answering Bible questions will help restore your health and strengthen your spirit. Bible Adventures: Be a part of Bible stories as exciting characters come to life.

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He speaks about those who already live according to true goodness and wisdom — those who are like rays of sunshine and those tried like gold. Because the devil can also deceive such people if God does not preserve them and if they themselves are not cautious and thankful, and because they have grand intellects, he deceives them with heresies the most. An evil and dishonest heart is in man and the devil deceives it better than a person himself.

It walks broadly in that which is beyond its strength, pointing the way to every scripture and prescribing laws for all things, but not submitting to the law of truth. And because the devil knows all about people, and that they think things through so little, he is therefore able to serve their hearts with the scriptures they are inclined towards with the kind of deceptions that pertain to him — the pleasing interpretation of their hearts, or an interpretation according to the letter of the law. They make use of both according to their purposes to lift something spiritual out of scripture, to invent something new by it, to taint and destroy truths of the faith, or to make an understanding of something without scripture.

Those who he could not deceive with debauchery, he deceives with heresy. Because a person does not easily speak about the ends of hypocrisy, I say here that the devil is diligent to approach and corrupt with it gradually and imperceptibly, as with evil leaven, so that ardent love and endeavoring for good works with a whole heart for God fade away.

Hypocrisy is strengthened from such beginnings because the entire person sours in goodness with the passing of time. Then only superficial observances remain, while all love for people dies. Then the flesh is according to the old man in its works, decency departs from a person, and a person begins to have fleshly and profane pleasures and other unrest in the flesh. The devil is able to introduce all of this to these kinds of people bit by bit. Love of women is also a grave snare with which the devil trips such people up.

Although it is difficult for all people, it is not so perceptible or well known in some because they widely permit themselves in it. Because a dear woman is a very attractive thing, the devil brings many prominent people down through women. And women through men too, because people are not careful from the beginning, but instead trust themselves that they have good intentions, meeting and speaking about good things and, in the meantime, not watching themselves.

The devil, the craftsman of a thousand handicrafts a day, does not fail to harass them in their hearts and flesh and to continually bind their hearts in their affections further until he accomplishes his long stored-up intentions. The devil corrupts and destroys people of enlightened and good lives the most through the temptation of pride. He sees and knows to establish everything in pride a thousand times beyond what he is able to do, is, and does according to those aforementioned things.

Who can understand it? The devil sees that in both good and evil people; he sees that the adulterous heart is not any more pure in good people. Although spiritual people have an adulterous and corrupted heart of flesh, it is not purified by the goodness of a saint-like person. The devil also knows the spiritual riches in such people according to that adulterous heart that the Lord God spoke about, because some are wise and aim to do everything that is good deliberately, like marksmen.

Then there are others of firm resolutions and unwavering in difficult things like a sling stone in its blow. These are against him like with a lance. Others are like tried gold in purity and other virtues. Therefore, we can understand that the cruel and cunning devil, looking down on all that are haughty, is able to corrupt such aforementioned goodness in those people with pride and is helped by his hateful cunning and the evil hearts in people, deformed to such an extent that they always do everything for themselves.

Love of each person for himself arises from that heart, because he pleases himself in all things and seeks to please others in all that is honorable and salvific according to God and in front of people. That cunning devil, looking down on all who are haughty, also sees their adulterous hearts, which lead them to love themselves and care about being praised in everything. They demand that everything be reckoned to them as goodness and that that which would be to their disgrace be brushed off and hidden so that no one knows about it.

They avenge themselves on anyone who is not kind to them, and spurn anyone who does not think highly of them. This is because their hearts are so wrapped up in themselves that they are not friends with anyone who does not make them better, give way to them, and promote them. And he is able to move that proud heart so cleverly that he clothes it in those gifts. When it is dressed in the gifts of God, it comes along with them according to its own evilness and proud disposition and seeks its own affairs through those gifts so that it profits from the world with praise, favor, a reputation, and fleshly gain.

And it seeks to enter into license, idleness, and satiety because of that. The heart is lifted up in pride most of all so that a person is celebrated before people through those gifts. And the devil works this out cleverly. He does not introduce pride obviously or immediately to people so that they are exposed right away. The devil takes pains to stir things up with people so that they are inclined towards a person and expect something spiritual from him, because they see that he is useful in a position due to his wisdom and goodness.

Spiritual Warfare

And when he is already engaged in a position and favored by people, then the crooked heart that is not easily guarded will glorify itself in boasting and will gladly listen when many people praise and expect great things from it. And other such people will fall into pride, too. When they are useful to others with those gifts, then people will love them for their good things, want to be in favor with them, speak about good things, consult together, and ask prayer from others. The devil blinds with that and will move the proud heart so that it loves itself and others with the good it does.

When the devil looks down on everything and all that are haughty, he is able to corrupt such goodness in a person in this way, having that evil and unexamined heart to help him. And if people are boastful, the devil sees those boastful hearts, robs them of everything, and allows them to do everything — to go about simply, seldom socialize, eat simply, make great efforts in everything, not sleep, and not easily serve themselves in many things — while working his desires and intentions secretly all the while.

If the devil can use someone in pride, it is enough for him that that person compares himself with the world, dressing up prettily for the eyes of people, wanting to appeal to them in this way. If a person does not like outward pride but fancies going about in simple clothing, eating bread, drinking water, and lying on boards and stones, the devil is also able to deceive a person and employ his heart in that so that he does not have praise as a worldly person but as a good, long-suffering, and moderate person.

And he can also evilly boast with a smelly sheet like a person with a colorful skirt, with water like someone with wine, with stones like someone with a canopy bed, with dry bread like someone with venison, with imprisonment in jail like someone fox hunting, and with hardship like someone dancing. That is why he understands both our humbling and exalting ourselves. He is able to clothe our proud hearts in everything so that they act arrogantly and do not seek rewards from God, but instead do everything for worthless approval or vain praises.

When such depravity is in the human heart and such cunning is in the devil, it is no wonder that Satan spreads gold people under himself like mud and tramples rays of sunshine under foot. Too few of those people are found who avoid the devil in this, live in simplicity of heart in all things whether that be more pitiably or grandly , and look to God in everything and fear Him, not thinking many great things of themselves or blindly condemning themselves as if that were humility.

He knows everything. The devil also knows the praise of boastful people and understands that there are proud hearts in them. When they praise others they also want to be praised themselves, and when they put others down they think more of themselves than of others. The devil sees all that. He destroys them with pride so that everything comes out of the evil heart through pride and boasting, always lifting itself up and putting others down. The devil, king over all who are proud, begets everything in pride. In whatever way they are proud whether through some holiness or infamy , he pays attention to everything so that he begets those who love themselves, think much of themselves, and do not protect themselves from his cunning, being at peace before him.

The apostle shows Christians when there is spiritual wickedness and hatred in that battle, since we cannot see it or easily figure out what kinds of approaches that unseen and cruel spirit has to us, being of incalculable understanding beyond us. Like sinful beasts, we still do not understand physical and visible things and how we would live life today for good. We discern that cunning and unseen spirit very little — how he carries out spiritual malevolence against us, watches us from a distance, and has access to us from far away for a long time in an unsuspecting manner.

He does not approach from the side we would expect or watch for him from, but instead when we are looking for peace and presume to be safe before him. He approaches, has a way to us, and plans his spiritual hatred against us where we think there are beneficial things, seek salvation, and expect God — and therefore spiritually.

He approaches according to such things and has his origins in our lives from a distance, seeing how he should move our adulterous hearts according to how he knows us in these things. Because of that, he braids like with a rope, leading us into something and from that into something else until a habit takes hold in us in something helpful to him.

Because of that bondage into more serious things, and because of that entrance to grounds for license and becoming entangled, he always brings about his intentions. The devil carries these things out so sanctimoniously that we will not see or suspect anything evil in it until he prospers by it further in what matters to him. When we understand that, then we can be careful of our hearts and observe its promptings, desires, and ideas and what they lead to.

Instead, they become entangled in harmful things and practices that are helpful to him, and they fall into sins when they do not take heed at the beginning of his cunning approaches. He easily blinds pagans and Jews when they are blind in themselves, living without the law.

That is why he leads them to visible wooden idols and to other overt wickedness like foolish beasts. He also blinds and darkens those people who are in the faith so that they err differently. Speaking grandly to God to impress people, they do not know Him and reject Him abominably like pagans. The devil will have rule on the earth when he blinds people in this way. Worldly authorities too, who heathenishly lord it over people, do not do anything for the common people out of self-importance and for their own gain.

When the devil has both these great powers on his side, he easily ushers all his subjects into great darkness. And they remain in darkness themselves when they put Him out of mind and do not understand Him. Worldly people in high positions also establish their own laws for the people, judging all the incidents and disagreements that go on between them, and deciding them according to their own conclusions. These earthly laws are also against the commandments of God. They also regard the laws and regulations of spiritual and worldly hypocrites as truth among themselves and deem laws, judgments, and practices to be the truth.

This is all through the lofty thinking of Satan, who is the priest and ruler of all darkness because his lordship on the earth is so powerfully consolidated. He forcefully and powerfully took up his lordship in the world most of all through powerful people, establishing his pawns in authority with his wicked cunning — proud, avaricious, fleshly, and blind people who do not fear God and do not care at all about others. Therefore, they are not for the common people, looking out for their good like shepherds over their flock; but the common people are for them, serving their stomachs and laboring for their pride.

The rich possess their fortunes in them and recline on them with their idleness. That is why the devil could lead everyone far astray into fleshly sins and taking pride in such things as fanciful garments, costly drapery, extravagant dwellings, and showing off with food and artisanship. Pride is exceedingly multiplied in everything by the devil as the king and worker of all pride. He also works avariciousness, fornication, and gluttony deeply into those people and leads them into other wickedness, malevolence, and hatred as a ruler and governor. He has infused these into such people to so darken them that they cannot see each other for the thickness of the darkness.

That is why the apostle now calls him the ruler, because he is the ruler of darkness and has introduced offence and invisible heresy on the wide path that people walk on so that everyone everywhere unconsciously falls and errs. That is why it does not become dark to him and he does not even suppose that his eye would make it dark to him. Instead, he believes that the sun of righteousness has risen upon him. The devil also has other kinds of darkness that are unknown to people and are not onerous to them when they are clothed in the glory of this world.

They rejoice that their daughters marry rich sons-in-law so that their honor is great, and the sons gather heirs of great wealth around themselves so that their praise does not wane. For that reason, the darkness is not odious and they do not hear that it is called darkness; among all those who live that way it is unhampered and uncorrupted vision.

But who is it dark to? This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?

Pray in the Spirit

And the ruler of the darkness does all of that. He lulls people to sleep, and in their sleep they dream of the enticement of the flesh, heaping up its profits, and disregard all understanding and awareness of their Creator. Therefore, when we are familiar with such great evil, when people are so blinded by the devil and we cannot remedy that, then let us have in mind to escape the ruler of much cunning darkness ourselves so that our own eyes are not darkened and he does not deprive us of the good God has promised to give us.

When a person learns of that, it is sufficient for his protection against the devil. A simple person can also stand against the devil more easily than the very intelligent, because that kind of thing cannot find a place in a simple person like in a very intelligent person. The simple person will not be needed on a council or in a position of authority, nor is he able to figure out many things — in scripture or other cleverness — or make excuses when he is disciplined for something. And of course I say with the gift that is worthy against the power of the devil, and the apostle now calls that the armor of God.

But that is why I said earlier that Satan spreads gold out under his feet like mud. Gold is good people of good and pure lives, devout and otherwise honorable. The devil can spread them out under his feet like mud nevertheless, just like those who are soiled with great sins. While many people work to attain virtue, not many take care that they not lose what they have attained. But the devil does not quickly allow a person to attain to virtue and is always vigilant to lead the person who has it away from the side he is not expecting.

Just as the devil clothes himself in various garments and prepares fatal blows although not painful to the body for us under their cover, and because those who want to save their lives in this arduous battle must have on the armor of God, he commands that we should put on the armor of God to hold back serious wounds. The one who wants to enter into the battle with the devil must be well clothed because he is a strong armored warrior and has unfamiliar armor.

That wisdom does not suffice in this battle against the devil. It is sufficient for worldly profit so that others will not cheat you, and so that you are able to acquire possessions from others cleverly but honestly. That worldly wisdom can also gain praise, prestige, offices, a great name, success in carnal battles, escape from danger and physical difficulties, and victory over the injustices of this world. I do not say that all this would be helpful in the battle against the devil, but that it is harmful and that making use of the wisdom of this world in those things is the loss of the battle in itself.

It consciously forsakes carnal profit so that the devil does not have points of access to a person through it. That wisdom subjects the body to peril, disparagement, and difficulties so that a person does not lose the truth. That wisdom leads people through the freedom of the body so that they always forfeit the good of the flesh for the good of the soul. That is why the apostle commands such people to take the armor of God so that the devil cannot afflict the soul and rob it of its spiritual clothing. It penetrates or sees through him and his cunning appearance and a person is guarded through that and will be safe against his cunning.

When he calls the day evil, he does not mean that God would have created some evil day such that people must brace themselves for it; God has created all days good. But for some reason, sometimes a day is called evil and sometimes it is called good. The day is evil when evil things take place; it is called a good day when good things occur. Though we stop being careful and prepared to meet up with him, he always shows up, prepared to deceive us. Though we sometimes nod off, he never does.


Though we have some cares or are occupied with something, he is not idle and is diligent to find us self-assured in something. If he sometimes eases up on us, he does not do it because he has mercy on us or is turning his back on us, afraid of us for our steadfastness. When he eases up with his cruel provocation, seduction, and roaring, prowling about deceptively like a lion, he does it all so that we become self-assured. Then he strikes at us, seeing us defenseless in something pleasant to us.

Having taken off our armor and weapons, we fall into his hand where we did not expect it. Sometimes a day can also be called evil because of grievous things, serious trials from persecutors of the faith, or other things that God particularly allows to happen to a person.

That is why the apostle commands us to clothe ourselves in the armor of God so that we are able to stand against our enemy in the day of evil when such violence and distress will come, because the devil overcomes people through the lack of long-suffering in distresses.

The devil works grievous things against us, knowing that we are cowardly and impatient and that he will easily overpower us when he finds us in grave difficulties without the armor of God. A fearful, corrupt, and ungrounded person does not have any power to overcome violence unless he has spiritual strength to bear violent things humbly and patiently. Sometimes a day is called particularly evil when abominations and many heresies are multiplied.

In such an evil day the armor of God is always necessary so that people are able to stand, overcoming heresies with faith and wickedness with a good life. When these heretics wax impressively with the approval of this world, the devil makes bright light out of them like at noon so that many carelessly follow them because of that light, unafraid of anything. And that is the heresy of the popes, loftily lifted up with the praises of God and great offices.

Another day is evil when this world glitters with praise, honor, fortune, peace, and riches so that it makes a pleasant impression on everyone who dwells on the earth. That day satiates many of them with its benefits and brilliance. A person does not easily resist and defy what goes on so grandly and ubiquitously.

What Spiritual Warfare Is (and What It Definitely Isn’t) | InterVarsity

Fleshly pleasures are also the day of evil when they charmingly lay hold of the heart. Who stands in that day and has the armor of God so that he frees himself from the enemy? Those pleasures blind the understanding so that a person dreams as if he saw something that is not perilous. Who will stand in that evil day and who has the armor of God and great humility so that he does not rob God, boasting in His gift?

Death and destruction dominate then in everything because we do not have the armor of God. Others wobble shakily here and there standing cowardly in the battle; sometimes they stand and then they buckle again. And that is why it is necessary to stand perfectly in this battle so that we do not heap up strength against us for the enemy through cowardly standing.

In this battle our cowardice, laziness, neglect, and foolishness are his strength against us. Our ignorance in this battle is his hope in our death. That is why God commands us to stand perfectly in all diligence, labors, integrity of heart, actions, and long-suffering, because long-suffering has a perfect work and the greatest blamelessness is necessary. It comes to people in affliction and their insufficiency, because long-suffering beyond our corrupt strength comes about in us by the power and strength of the Holy Spirit Himself.

Nothing is perfect in us according to flesh and blood but according to faith and spiritual power, because that has the power to uphold the truth in violence. But the apostle insists that we stand perfectly in everything because we immediately begin to lose the battle in whatever we ease up in and do not stand perfectly in. Or, we are already overcome in the battle when we forsake something we should be doing because we do that which is forbidden, or we do those things slothfully, insincerely, impatiently, or unfaithfully.

We have either already lost the battle there or are close to losing it. That is why the apostle commands us to stand perfectly in everything, knowing the ways of this battle, because we assure ourselves a little bit, slacken off a little through insincerity, ease off a little through idleness, pile up a little through immodesty, and think things through very little. We glance behind us or to the side very little until the enemy comes near, opposes us from a distance, and harms us.

It is not possible to make things right again for a long time because his power is in us. He clothes himself in us and goes up against us. And when he stands up against us just a little bit he takes many in. The apostle encourages us to stand, tucking up our loins, but because that is an unfamiliar physical thing, I will describe the act. When there is mud where people run or fight, they tuck up long clothing so that they are more agile.

But the apostle is speaking about spiritual things here, and we can say something similar about spiritual tucking up. And, while rolling it up, that person cannot fight. By commanding us to tuck up our loins, he means that we are confronted by the sin of fornication and that it is necessary for this battle to guard ourselves against it. The tucking up he speaks of is abstinence in purity and the restraining of depraved desires so that the battle is not lost through them.

Few people are found who stand their ground against this iniquity so that fornication does not find some way in, because it is a forceful iniquity. Other sins will be worked up in a person through various things, but this sin does not wait for anything from anywhere else — it has a strong footing in our bodies themselves. For that reason, our bodies have enormous incitement and passion towards fornication within themselves and are always ready to do its treacherous work in us.

A person is strongly driven to the consummation of sin by his own nature, and what help that sin has around it then! Men and women are the basis of that sin toward each other and there are many reasons for that. That is why the person who is clothed and stands his ground in the face of that sin is blessed. And who is so tucked up that he stands in it and perseveres? That is why, when some people take great pains, wanting to wring it out of themselves, they still bow to it through its slipperiness.

I am not saying that it would always be like this for everyone, but it sometimes pertains to people. Some people do not know anything about suffering violence from this sin, because God gave them a great gift in this regard. But those who do not fear God do not endure very much before they commit these abominations; evil people do not easily control themselves in this area. For that reason, a great reward will be kept in heaven for the person who has a good heart and who labors against what he is tempted in, whether he is with a virgin or a whether good will is found in him when he is wronged.

That is why it is good advice that those who want to engage in the battle tuck up their belts and constrain such desires with the help of God.

Spiritual Warfare

If those desires are tested in a man through the company of some individual, he should tuck up his clothing again properly that so that he is not overcome. A person may endanger himself with his foolishness because he lies like a wolf on a scythe, not protecting himself from death. In the same way, this kind of powerless person does not run away from some illicit love. Whoever has a long robe in battle has already long lost the battle far from the battlefield, because his enemies do not allow him to tuck up his clothing before they defeat him, catching him by his long robe. But we have an even more cunning swordsman in the spiritual battle, the devil.

He grabs hold of that which he sees dragging on the ground around us and overcomes us through it. The robe of this discourse represents those things around us that cling to us or that we cling to. They are necessary and helpful to us like clothing, because a person would be naked here in the world if he did not have some help from earthly things and people.

But they are helpful only when a person is able to make use of them without attachment. The many things a foolish person acquires are unnecessary, and so are the way he uses them and the way he behaves towards them. That a person can be entangled by concerns far from himself can be clearly demonstrated by the people of this world and how their thoughts are far from themselves. They are most conflicted whenever their thoughts are furthest from themselves.

If what he has is burned for a distance of 15 miles, he has two sorrows. That is why he has grief and great indignation for that which is far away, just as much as for that which is near. And the more he spreads out further across the Czech lands, the further he is from himself. If the things increase and prosper, the heart lifts itself up in them with boasting, delight, and hopefulness.

If the things perish and are destroyed, the heart also languishes with sorrow and humiliation. These things are temporal and subject to change, and the more a person spreads himself further out in them, the more he goes further away from himself and heaps up greater change and instability for himself. Therefore, when the apostle teaches faithful people about spiritual battle against the cunning devil, he commands them to have their loins tucked up so that their clothing does not drag along far from them.

He approaches from a distance and wherever he sees rot from those things in which his heart is entangled, and he takes hold of his heart in depravity with those things. The devil is able to deceive and ensnare a person because his access and power is in what the heart is attached to. He binds it to himself and has it for his profit. Seeing that a person is attached to something for its usefulness, the devil corrupts his heart through it, leading him into other snares. A person does not establish those things for life as desired, but the devil sets a person up for death through those things.

They will not be his wealth; they will be his poverty because he made a fishing hook out of them for his enemy so that he is trapped by them. For that reason the apostle commands a person to tuck up the loins of his mind in the spiritual battle so that it does not trail about around him like clothing and the enemy does not ensnare, overthrow, and kill him because he is strewn out far from himself.

When he is tucked up spiritually so that he is temperate and has everything together in his heart, the devil does not have access to it through those things. They could defend themselves with the walls better this way, decimating the strength of their enemies.

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Here too, when a person does not make a garrison against himself out of those earthly things, shutting himself up in his heart, he has the greatest power against the devil and does not give him access to himself in anything through those things. He will have sunk into stinginess, greed, laziness, debauchery, and many other wrongs.

Therefore, he also takes hold of them in many iniquities and sees that we are liars and that our hearts are not with God. He quickly inflicts wickedness on us through those things, seeing that our hearts do not seek God but those things, and he renders us powerless. The more we set about multiplying those things, the less spiritual power we have within us. But the more we break free of those things, the stronger and more secure we are.

Now they [do it] to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. Such baggage would weigh them down, keep them occupied, or hinder them. Instead, they only have armor and a weapon, since they are useful to them in the battle. He says that they undergo such labors and distresses of life in order to obtain a corruptible reward that will pass away and decay — money, a robe, horses, and apparel. That is their corruptible reward. But we have a spiritual battle and an eternal reward in heaven. How much more should we watch over ourselves in those things that would hinder us in this more painstaking battle, and for such a precious reward!

Where is that kind of ready and fearless heart in us that would so readily risk all things for eternal life, just like vain people risk all things and run in those physical battles, wanting to preserve and defend the petty goods of life? They will divest themselves of life for such worthless things. And who is assured with salvation when they fight each other so bloodily for wealth? And if a man also strives for masteries, [yet] is he not crowned, unless he strives lawfully. He says that no person fighting for God in His spiritual battle entangles himself in worldly things.

It is necessary to emphasize this for those who want to go into this battle. He says not to entangle themselves, because whoever wants to have worldly things with tranquility and manage them must give them care and diligence. In the same way that they will be careful for worldly possessions, they will be entangled in them. They will not rule over them; they will be ruled by them. They will tangle their hearts and lives up in them so that they will not have any peace or freedom of conscience.

Those things will hold them like knitting between knitting needles. The apostle says why such people should not entangle themselves in worldly things, and that is so that they may please Him who has chosen them — that is, that they please God whom they are fighting for. People entangled in the world cannot please God, because they do not have their hearts with them but in those things in which they are entangled.

A person must throw off fleshly fear and put to death everything that falls into his hands that much more here in the spiritual battle. Otherwise, the battle against spiritual enemies will not be proper, leading him to make peace with his spiritual enemies instead of killing them. Such spiritual enemies are worldly and fleshly desires, and the devil makes them sweet to the heart so that one will not want to put them to death for their pleasantness but to be at peace with them. When a man does not put them to death due to his pleasure in them, they, being alive in the flesh and in the heart, have no mercy on him but immediately torment him in the soul.

His fighting will not be proper if he does not want to put them to death. Again, he fights improperly when he is entangled and encumbered with worldly things and does not comprehend the spiritual battle. That is why he sometimes puts up resistance and then weakens. That is why the apostle speaks of all the important things about the spiritual battle here. It is also necessary to be tucked up from the love of worldly people, because the adulterous heart clings there perniciously and is led away from God. The devil leads into grave snares through the love of camaraderie and fleshly friends, but a person does not easily recognize that because it is a pleasurable thing to have the favor of many friends.

The devil seizes a person in much evil because he wants to be pleasing to others. Such friends lead one another into evil things for pleasure and look for praise from one another. Not only is it evil because of things that can be explicitly seen, but also because the devil has a footing in the love of friends and camaraderie. He ruthlessly approaches people from a distance so that iron wills are broken and they deviate from faith through those affections. They are entangled in serious things because they do not easily get out of them. What grave falls have occurred for the affections that are evident in some spiritual people — loss of virginity, widowhood, spiritual peace, many virtues, a good conscience, and the introduction of serious offenses in people — and that all for the love of illustrious friends and friendships!

The devil works all of this immodestly — and not only through affection itself. He also has other devious and unassuming inroads to people through it. That matter is not altered for any self-justification. When He says that he cannot, that ought to be believed and not the excuses of fleshly people. Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. It is clearly stated in those scriptures that, when a person does not reject the love of friends and other worldly people, he is always the enemy of God.

The devil also gets at a person through such affection, since he would not have inroads to him so easily otherwise. For that reason, the apostle commands one to be tucked up so that he himself does not send his heart away from itself through such affection. He has it at home and does not lose battles by having his heart in many people. Those people who have their hearts in the world drag them around in the world and the devil through affections. When the devil cannot approach a heart himself, he approaches it through a friend and destroys it. That is why it is necessary to be tucked up in such affections so that the mind does not err and is not deceived.

We can also understand about some walks of life and positions in which the heart sorely takes leave of itself. A woman clings tenaciously to a man with love — and a man to a woman — and later both to the children and to the household so that the heart is not easily with itself when it is always taking care of something and expending itself, wanting everything to be done properly. There is much unrest and anger when things do not go as planned. The devil easily approaches that heart through those things and conquers it.

It also happens to those who are officials. They must be busy for others, too, somewhere else, outside of themselves and not at all at home with their hearts. And this all is like long clothing, dragging on the ground far behind a person. Whoever would want to kill such a person captures him by that immodest gown, since it drags on the ground and gets the better of him. We should tuck the loins of our minds up in yet another way: that is, having diligent vigilance within us, keeping in mind and judging everything according to truth, discerning and looking all around us with our internal eyes to see what is happening around us.

The devil has many entrances to our hearts through our faculties and senses. Those entrances are the beginnings of evil thinking, the desires and drives in our hearts; they are unrest and divided hearts. Therefore, whoever tucks his mind up so that it does not wander everywhere weighs everything that enters it with understanding and immediately takes up the battle against evil things, and will easily overcome them. A person has temptations conceived in the heart through some pride or delusion entering the mind, commences the battle against them, and immediately overcomes them when they are conceived.

But that can only take place in those who stand attentively, watching over what enters their hearts. Above all, clear understanding awakens in the person who has the fear of God within him. Such a person sees this entire world full of all evil like an instrument of sin and delusion. The parts of our bodies that are the clothing of sin are not evil by themselves, for it is not evil to see or hear or speak.

It is the heart and the vain world, which are there in the midst of those parts, that corrupt them. The devil is the craftsman of all wickedness and leads and governs the whole world so that it heads his way in all things. Everyone follows after him such that they exist and live their lives to make others fall. When many evil people consort together so awfully, the person who needs salvation sees and hears all that and has friendship with it, dwelling in the midst of that evil. That person has an evil heart within himself. It lays hold of everything it sees, hears, or touches, occupying itself with everything and engaging itself in that strange deviant depravity.

It will be destroyed with that depravity and wrapped up in the wickedness around it through its senses.

  • RSM Primary English;
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That is why the person who fears God must watch over it, watching himself and considering everything through the true light of understanding. That person recognizes where some harm could come to him from afar and does not engage his heart in that evil which is around him. The exceedingly evil and crooked heart stands in the midst of the senses and, because of all that the eyes see that please or tickle the heart, or because of what the hands touch, grievous thinking gets into the evil heart and it falls.

For this reason, the person who wants to fight in battle must tuck this all up, watch over it prudently, and guard the parts of his body with fear so that he does not look about, listen all over the place, and attach himself to everything, but instead turn away from detrimental things. He must also be alert, minding everything in understanding most of all that evil heart so that he does not fall asleep, watching out for what is beginning to be dreamt up in it. That must all be tucked up, placing emphasis on being awake and taking everything into consideration with forethought which things proceed from where and what they are born from.

One then immediately resists them so that, growing stronger, those destructive things do not ensnare the heart and create unrest or some evil root in temptation, because it would not be so easily remedied later, even with remorse. That is why he commands us to tuck up the loins of our minds in truth, watching over and carrying everything out in truth — so that we are not careless, evilly negligent, unrestrained and spread out in this way, involving ourselves in, fraternizing with, and getting our noses stuck in everything, forgetting ourselves and falling into harm.

Otherwise we will not make it in this battle when we let our minds loose everywhere. That must be the righteousness that surrounds the entire body with good works and protects every empty place. However, there is not enough time to talk at length now about that because the apostle includes all virtues in that word righteousness.

Even though the fulfillment of the law is love, it is easier for us to understand it when he distinctly explains that sometimes we speak about patience, humility, mercy, silence, being peaceable, exertion, carefulness, faithfulness, restraint, and purity. We also call it righteousness when such things are in people, because a person is righteous through those virtues. Wherever there are such virtues, they cover a person from all sides so that the enemy is unable to strike, for the devil has a place to strike at a person wherever righteousness does not cover.

But I cannot explain those virtues in this discourse because they are sparse in me according to my works. Nevertheless, I will touch on righteousness a little bit. Though it would be fitting to give a lot to God, a poor person cannot give much when he himself needs to be comforted by His wealth and take nourishment from His hand. But still, the righteousness that is fitting is when He receives what we have, because it is righteous when we meditate on all of the goodness we have received from Him, give Him praise and thanks, and return it all to Him again.

We are created by Him and redeemed by the precious blood of his dear Son so that we are His peculiar people for His honor.

We are redeemed by His holy blood from the falsehood of life so that we no longer serve sin but the living God with a pure conscience, being washed from our evil consciences in the blood of His Son. We therefore abolish that mortality within us which defames God, exalts itself, and corrupts the power of the Holy Spirit in us and the spiritual life in the inner man.

But, because we often speak about it, the ways of the corrupted flesh should already be familiar to us. Because its ways are lewd and shameless, the ways of the flesh are obvious. They are seeking pleasure, ease, promotion, liberties, and vengeance, crookedness, evasiveness, disregard for goodness, lying down in laziness, pouring oneself into worthless things, caring and laboring for food, evil fear and shame, love of gain, incessant unrest because of the world, comparison with the world, great faithlessness toward God, and that which can be called hateful and loveless.

We should give ourselves to Him from our whole hearts in obedience with all of our lives and works. It is also righteousness that we do not accept the gifts we have received from God in vain but that we tend them, seeking His praise and the multiplication of good works through them. Then, nothing in us is in vain — the strength of our lives, the abilities we have, and our vocations — and all is sacrificed in truth and in actuality.

We should likewise always show gratitude to Him that He condescended to do such great good for us, who are so undeserving. Returning to Him again with what we have taken from Him will be righteousness. When we are created by Him and are His redeemed, it is righteous that we keep ourselves for Him and are alive to Him in everything as He commands us. We should give ourselves to Him as much as our strength is sufficient, being subject to Him, hoping in Him, and requesting help from Him so that we are His people and He our God. It is also righteous, when we fall into something unrighteous, that we make ourselves righteous again in the blood of His Son, making repentance and humbling ourselves before Him for that evil.

When people have such righteousness towards God, giving Him that which belongs to Him according to that which is spoken in the discourses, such people have the entire and sufficiently strong breastplate, shielding the entire body so that the devil will not be able to strike a mortal blow. We always want good for ourselves from people without ever considering it, wanting no evil from others. Therefore, the Lord Jesus serves us with this law and wants us to behave towards other people in the same way that we want good for ourselves.

I am saying that according to the truth, as mundane good things matter to the most insignificant person. But evil, avaricious, and unloving people behave differently. When they grieve and hurt others, they also say they want the same from others, but they are liars in that. It cannot be that people would fulfill those words the other way around, doing despicable things to others and saying that they also want that for themselves from others. A person will hardly find even enough goodness within them such that, when they do evil, they allow themselves to be punished for it.

Instead, they do not stand for being punished themselves or tolerate unpleasantness from others. That is why it should not be believed that, doing unpleasant things to others, people would say that they themselves also want to receive the same unpleasantness from others. There are also other people who, contrary to this declaration of the law of Christ, prefer not to receive anything loving from others so that they themselves are not obliged to do anything for anyone out of love.

They are used to living according to the lovelessness of this world, the intentions of avaricious people, and the obligations of trade and debt in everything. They do not have mercy on whoever they have power over, but bind them with wages while wringing as much as they can out of them.

They do not consider strength or life — only their own profit in the work. That is why such unloving things are against these words of the Lord Jesus. Either they do not receive love themselves because of not wanting to give themselves to others in love, or they buy a person for themselves with wages and clutch at his life without love, putting inordinate strain on him. It does not seem to such people that they should show love in that which they hire, agree on for money, and pay for.

But those who love God will be recognized in the good, helpful, honorable, and saving things they want people to do to them and they should lay their lives down for others according to their strength in such aforementioned things. And not only according to their strength — they should give themselves for others in their own needs. When someone would not easily ask a person, he should give of himself in what he can. When he would learn of obvious or hidden need, he should immediately and willingly give what will be of benefit.

Because a person wants others to speak well of him and not to defame, dishonor, insult, berate, think evil of, steal from, harm, embarrass, or betray him, he also wants love, help, edification, good advice, faithful instruction, avoidance of evil, and loving co-existence. He also wants people not to hurt or shame him, put temptation before him, mislead him in his salvation, or trickily seduce him from the truth.

A person wants this all for himself from other people, and he should likewise give himself to others for their benefit with good intentions in love according to his strength and ability. They have fleshly, amicable, earthly love for themselves and they do not bemoan work, money, comfort, or their lives for that love. But such things that come from the desires of a corrupt heart are hideous before God. It is particularly fitting for us to speak of selfless love because it has its root in God, is beneficial for people, and is virtuous.

That godly love should not be like when a person would first wait for something good from someone and also want to do him good as well, being moved by that goodness. Instead, he should know that he has the commandment from God that he should love his neighbor and lay his life down according to that commandment so that he does good to everyone, whoever he would see in some need.

With that need he could be just as if he himself would thankfully accept it in his own need, for that commandment should not be followed in the receiving of something good from others but in giving of oneself to others for their good. When we receive something good from others it moves us to do them good again. Then a person does not know if he is doing something because he first received something good or if he is doing it because the love commanded by God leads him to it.

Therefore, a person must watch himself in what he does so that he is led in it by the commandment of God and His grace and not by the good thing he received first from his neighbor. When the apostle calls righteousness a breastplate in the spiritual battle, it should not come out of a corrupted fleshly heart or following some goodwill.

Our love for our neighbor is not certain in those who are dear to us when we cannot have love for those who are not loveable to us. Human righteousness does not stand up in this battle because the strong devil rips everything open and scrutinizes who loves from a corrupted heart. Purely human love will not be detrimental to him. He is not afraid of it because it will be helpful to him, but love from a true heart is what the apostle calls a breastplate in this battle of spiritual love between neighbors.

It also should not be holey either because of little love, since sometimes a person loves his neighbor when he has a good mood, when there is nothing detrimental to fleshly gain, and when he does not have to expend effort on it. That is all little love, as is love that is inconsistent. All such love is impure. It is impure, too, when something besides God is loved. The entire and true breastplate is necessary in this battle.

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