DOING BATTLE

 

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be firm. Ephesians 6:13 (ESV)

 

A friend reminded me this past week that “the evil one” is always lurking around, looking for an opening through which to torment or derail God’s children. There’s no fear in that, but it certainly is important for us to remain vigilant and to remain abiding in the shadow of the Almighty (Ps. 91).
I think we’re  pretty much accustomed to safety messages all around us that tell us to “Be aware of your surroundings to minimize safety incidents.” But do we take seriously the need to abide in God and to be prepared for attack? Do you inventory your safety equipment? And do you take time to put it on every morning? I mean the armor of God:
• The helmet of salvation. Jesus Christ’s redemptive death on the cross paid the price for our sin—once and for all—and we have absolutely no condemnation if we stay in him and obey his Word (Romans 8). We put on Jesus’ salvation covering our thoughts so that the enemy cannot have access to our minds.
• The breastplate of righteousness. Our righteousness comes from Jesus alone, not from our good deeds, so that we have no right to boast (Romans 3:22). We choose to live in purity, giving glory to God.
• The belt of truth. Jesus described himself as Truth. We bind ourselves in him committed to live in light and transparency, without falsehood, deception, or exaggeration. Truth encircles us.
• Shoes of the Gospel of peace. We’re told to—as much as possible—live at peace with all men (Romans 12:18). We do everything we can to be disciples of Jesus’ peace, knowing that he gives us his peace so that we’re not troubled in spirit (John 14:27).
• Shield of faith. My personal thought is that the size of our shields is determined by the size of our faith (Luke 17:5). While that may be a scary thought, as we walk in obedience to the Lord and experience his faithfulness, our trust in him increases and prepares us for the battle ahead.
• Sword of the Spirit. This is our only offense—the Word of God. And it’s enough. It was the weapon Jesus used against his enemy, Satan, and it’s sufficient for us as we study, memorize, and rely on its truth in every situation.
Personally speaking, I don’t like battles, but we are well equipped to take on any enemy and to be victorious. Think of these battle verses and be encouraged:
• “This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s’” II Chronicles 20:15.
• “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their righteousness is from Me” Isaiah 54:17.
• “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will show to you to-day…” Exodus 14:13
• “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him” Isaiah 59:19.
• Finally, “…after you have done everything, … stand” Ephesians 6:13.
Oh, God, the enemy is breathing down my neck. But I am relying on your promises, wearing your armor, and standing. AMEN.

ARMORED UP

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  Ephesians 6:11

 

 

This morning in chapel the Bishop gave a whole new twist to the analogy of God’s armor.  Remember, there’s the helmet of salvation, the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, shoes of peace, and the sword of the Spirit, God’s Word.

The helmet of salvation guards our thoughts and protects the mind so that it processes and applies God’s truth.  We typically wear belts around the middle parts of our bodies for aesthetic and practical reasons.  Truth is both beautiful and holds all our theology together.  A breastplate, righteousness, protects our hearts from all the things that can spoil and destroy the life of Christ within.  We walk in peace as God’s children, and God’s Word, the sword, is two-edged—both protecting and reprimanding us.

When we are children, we love to play dress-up.  My granddaughters have all enjoyed taking various pieces of clothing from my closet and dressers to play grown-up.  They imitate me and their mothers.  Play is a child’s work to help in developing character traits and personality.  When our children and grandchildren wear our clothing, they are processing through play what they will become.

So here we get to the armor.  The whole object of our Christian journey is to glorify God and to become like Jesus.  How better to do that than to dress like him?  Jesus IS our salvation, our truth, our righteousness, our peace and has taught us to use that sword in growing into his likeness.  The more we wear the armor, the more it becomes like a second skin, and the more we become like Jesus.

The armor of the Lord not only helps us to stand against the wicked intentions of the devil, but it assists us in being transformed more and more into the image of our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.  If you’re not wearing it, stop everything, and go put it on right now.

 

 

Father, show us the joy that awaits us as we are changed into the likeness of your Son, Jesus Christ.  AMEN.