Dressing for Success Discipleship

Dressing for Success: Protecting Ourselves in Spiritual Battle


Immediately after deciding to follow Christ, we become a target of the enemy who will do all he can to take us down. He will do whatever it takes to discourage us, make us feel unworthy, not good enough and tempt us to fall into our old way of living. This is the reason we need to “dress for success.” Just as we need clothing to protect our physical bodies from the elements, we also need the Armour of God to protect us from the schemes of the enemy. Paul teaches us in Ephesians that we do not battle against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers of this dark world.

A few years ago, I was at a ladies retreat and in the middle of the worship service he hit. The enemy, in his sneaky way, found me in my most vulnerable state … singing. I cannot hold a tune; I absolutely love to worship Jesus in song and sing with all my heart, but truth be known, I could not hold a tune if my life depended on it! I truly believe that these lyrics were written just for me:
“Let it be a sweet
Sweet sound in Your ear.”1

During the worship service, my eyes closed and in full worship mode, the enemy attacked! As I was singing, I was overcome by the fear that I was irritating the woman in front of me as she listened to me sing behind her. I suddenly went from arms raised and singing in surrender to the Lord to pulling my arms down and no longer worshipping. I was mortified at the thought that I had completely ruined this poor woman’s worship time at the retreat. As I stood with my eyes open, processing the situation, I realized this was an attack! Dressed for success with my armour on, I decided to beat the enemy at his own game. I chose to get out of my pew to stand in the aisle with no one in front of me and worship there. Enemy beat … or so I thought. After the service, the friend who had been sitting beside me came over and apologized for making me move. I was confused; she began to explain. My friend had gone to the gym prior to coming to the retreat and did not have time to shower. She had opted to simply change her clothes and attend the retreat “as is.” When she saw me move to the aisle, she assumed that the reason was because of her body odour (which, for the record, there was none). I laughed out loud, although I was a bit angry as well. The enemy was unable to get to me because, having my armour on, I had dressed for success. But he succeeded in bringing my friend down. Unknown to me, when she saw me move during the worship service, my friend went from hands raised, singing in surrender, to arms down and no longer worshipping—in fear of what I was thinking.

The enemy is sneaky and conniving. He knows our weaknesses and will do all he can to attack those areas. And the sad part is that he uses people and situations around us to try to take us down.

Woman in the woods looking at the light filtering through the branchesAs a pastor, I have learned that the enemy seems to love to attack after I have preached a sermon. Having just given our hearts and souls to a message is when we seem to be most vulnerable to critique.

One particular Sunday morning, after stepping off the platform and making my way to greet the congregation, I had a woman come up to me and say “Pastor Wendy, I don’t usually like the way you preach, but today you did a really great job!” Doing my best to hide the look of shock on my face, I tried to accept the backhanded compliment. In that moment, I had a choice to make. Would I stand firm in the armour of God? Or would I crumble and allow this comment to destroy me? Isn’t it interesting that after years of preaching and being encouraged in amazing ways, one simple destructive comment has the potential to wash away every encouraging one? You’re then left focusing on that one negative remark. That day I chose to stand firm in the armour!

We need to be reminded daily that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world” (Ephesians 6:12). As much as we may think things that are false or people may attempt to take us down with their words, remember we are not battling flesh and blood—it is the enemy trying to take us down.

We all need to choose to “dress for success.” The armour of God will help us to stand firm in what is true. The belt of truth, on which all the armour is hinged, the breastplate of righteousness to protect our vital organs, especially our heart, shoes fitted and ready to go, carrying peace only Christ can give, the shield of faith to extinguish those fiery darts, and the helmet of salvation to protect our minds—the place where all attacks from the enemy begin!

Can I encourage you? Remember to dress for success! As you keep the armour of God on, you will have the power to stand firm in His mighty power.

Wendy Payne is the lead pastor at Cedarview Church in Paris, Ont., and the Hamilton Section representative in the Western Ontario District. Her husband, Darrel, is her greatest cheerleader.

This article appeared in the July/August/September 2023 issue of testimony/Enrich, a quarterly publication of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. © 2023 The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. Photos © istockphoto.com.

  1. Laurie Klein, “I Love You Lord,” 1978, on Almighty, House of Mercy Music (admin. Universal Music – Brentwood Benson Publishing), CD, https://genius.com/Laurie-klein-i-love-you-lord-lyrics.

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