Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Armor of God!

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

We are fighting enemies in the spiritual realm and need special equipment for both offense and defense. Only God can provide us with the “full armor” and we should wear each piece lest we fall to the devil’s schemes. Each piece of the armor is significant for the Christian’s victory.

There are six pieces to this armor. Today we will look at the significance of each piece in terms of battling the devil.

“13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” Ephesians 6: 13-17.

First we are to fasten the “belt of truth” around our waist. One of Satan’s tactics is lying. He wants to distort the Word of God. The devil is controlled by lies. To contrast that, the believer’s life should be only controlled by truth. The function of the belt is to hold all the other parts of the armor up. We are to uphold truth as well. The belt also holds the sword (sword of the Spirit). Unless Christians practice the truth we cannot have use of the Spirit.

Secondly, we are to have the “breastplate of righteousness in place”. Breastplates in battle protect the vital organs such as the heart, lungs, and most of the digestive system. Satan is an accuser but he cannot accuse the believer who is living right with God through the power of the Holy Spirit. Without the breastplate of righteousness in place, Satan will attack the very essence of our being- our heart, our lifeline. Righteousness must be practiced by Christians on a daily basis or we open ourselves up for an attack from Satan!

Our next piece of armor is our shoes. We are to put on the shoes of the “Gospel of peace”. The shoes have two meanings. First, shoes help us stand and give us a firm foundation to stand upon. Roman sandals had hobnails in the shoes to give them firm footing, similar to the bottom of cleats today. The Christian should always stand firmly against the devil. Secondly, we must be prepared daily to share the Gospel of peace with the lost. When we wear the shoes of the gospel we are told that we have beautiful feet (Isaiah 52:7). I have to sadly admit that here lately my feet are not looking so beautiful. Are yours?

The Christian should also “take up the shield of faith”. It protects the soldier of Christ from the “fiery darts” of the devil. In Roman battles the soldiers would line up with the shields in front of them and march towards the enemy. They represented a tough wall that the enemy would have trouble penetrating. This suggests that Christians are not to face the battle alone. The “faith” mentioned here is not saving faith but “living faith”. Christians should support each other in their walk with God. We must always walk by faith using our shield to protect us.

The next piece of armor is the “helmet of salvation”. The helmet protects our mind. The devil is always trying to attack our thoughts and belief system. Our minds should always be controlled by God. When God controls the mind, the devil cannot lead anyone astray. To have a God controlled mind we must subject ourselves and our will to reading the Bible, studying it and meditating on it. We must learn the foundational doctrines of our faith and be ready to give an answer about the hope that is in you (1 Peter 3:15). The devil will poke and prod you trying to make you doubt your salvation. Knowing the fundamental beliefs of the Christian faith will give you the upper hand in defeating the devil.

The final piece of the armor of God is the “sword of the Spirit”. It’s the only offensive weapon listed. Material swords pierce only the body but God’s sword pierces straight to the heart of the inner man and conviction is the result. “The more you use a physical sword, the duller it become, but using God’s Word only makes it sharper in our lives” Wiersbe, Be Rich! The physical sword is used to wound and destroy but the “sword of the Spirit” us used to heal and give life! When the sword is used against Satan however, it will cripple him, defeat him and keep him from hindering God’s word. “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11.

Because we are never out of harm’s reach this side of heaven, we must always be on guard to the schemes of the devil. Each morning before we step even a toe to the ground we must put on the whole armor of God. To not do so will be detrimental to the believer because the devil and the principalities of darkness along with the rulers of this world seek to destroy us. There is a definite army of demonic creatures out there seeking to attack us. When we put on the full armor of God we are given the weapons necessary to make war not with “flesh and blood” but against the very enemies of God.

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