Ephesians 6:10-18 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 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. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.”
This is a well-known and powerful Scripture. For years I have used it to pray into each day: 1) I put on the belt of truth praying that I strive through God’s power to follow every truth God puts into my life. 2) I put on the breast plate of righteousness asking God to protect me from the world, the flesh and satan, as I strive to live fully in God’s righteousness. 3) I pray that my feet bring peace to others with every action of mine. 4) I take up the shield of faith asking God to protect me from satan’s attacks, the world’s allures and to strengthen my flesh from any sinful assaults or weaknesses in faith. 5) I put on the helmet of salvation knowing that my life is secure in Christ no matter how hard and impossible the situation might be. 6) I pray that God will equip me with the Word of God as my sword for attacking evil, encouraging others, and protecting myself from sin.
One of the men I disciple further enlivened this passage as we began to discuss the two sides of the armor of God. 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 emphasizes not to war in the flesh: “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” I strive to live on God’s side of the armor, but there is a flip side to the armor of God. Each piece of the armor has a negative side when your armor is not used. Living casually in Christ can make you vulnerable to 1) (Belt) Inconsistent or minimal pursuit of truth, which can make you highly vulnerable to satan, the world, and the flesh. 2) (Breastplate) Failing to live righteously makes you vulnerable to inconsistency, uncertainty, re-definition of truth, natural consequences of sin, and conformity. 3) (Feet) Winning, demanding rights, and punishing offenders occurs when love is not the prevailing lifestyle. 4) (Shield) Your skills, experience, shrewdness, and desires supersede a faith that does not trust God for your outcomes. 5) (Helmet) An incorrect understanding of salvation and the Christian life can short circuit your life to Christ’s redemption and power. 6) (Sword) Insufficiently consuming the Word leaves you anemic, weak, and vulnerable. Christians who live this way will continually be consumed by the circumstances of life, people, and attacks. You may be saved, but without God’s armor you will not be experiencing God, His life, and power.
Paul’s admonition to put on the armor of God so you could live mightily in His power was meant to move Christians from lethargy to actively living the Christian faith each day. This lifestyle does not come without the sacrifice and commitment described in Romans 12:1-2: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is — His good, pleasing and perfect will.” This type life will be actively engaged in putting down sin, standing apart from the world, and proclaiming the gospel message regardless of cost. God will no longer be a casual participant in your life, but an active participant from the wake of dawn each morning to the last thought of each day. The amor of God will allow you to successfully live out Ephesians 4:22-24 “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Roman 13:12 “So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.”
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