“To be a Christian is to be a warrior.” CH Spurgeon
Last week we introduced a new series on How to Stand Firm. We discussed that by following Christ and committing to serve Him, we make ourselves a target. Our adversary is cunning and we need to be prepared for trouble.
For years I heard people mention that we must ‘put on’ the armor of God each morning. For the longest time, I thought it was merely a prayer people said each day.
But it’s much more than that.
The Armor of God is a series of daily choices regarding truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, and the Bible.
In Ephesians 6, Paul explains each item in terms the people of his day could understand based on the typical armor of a roman soldier prepping for battle. This explanation emphasized how vital each concept is to the life of a believer.
- Belt/Girdle of Truth: The enemy is a deceiver, so to defeat him we must know the truth, which is God’s standard. We get this truth from scripture, and it has the power to set us free. The more truth we obtain through Bible study and teachings from church, the better prepared we will be against enemy attack. Truth is also the basis for wearing all the other pieces of armor properly.
- Breastplate of Righteousness: Living a holy life isn’t something we can take lightly if we want to stand firm. Righteousness matters. We’re made righteous because of Christ’s death, but we also grow more holy over time through sanctification and resisting sin. We must learn what God expects of us, and then live it out each day in obedience.
- Shoes of the gospel of Peace: Jesus said that He gave us His peace (John 14:27), and He also said ‘Blessed are the peace-makers” (Matt 5:9). We don’t need to find peace – it’s a tool that we already have. God wants us to live in harmony and wholeness. We decide how we respond to what’s happening around us. We can either get stirred up with emotion, creating tension and spreading negativity, or we remain calm.
- Shield of Faith: Each person has been given a measure of faith (Rom 12:3), but faith doesn’t grow unless it’s tested. So when the fiery darts come to distract and destroy, we must refuse to be shaken by worry or fear. We find rest in our tough situation because we believe that God is in control. The more we know God intimately, the more we trust Him.
- Helmet of Salvation: The sacrifice Jesus made on the cross didn’t just grant us access to Heaven – it changed our identity. We have so many blessings and promises we didn’t have before we became a believer. We’ve been saved from more than just hell – we’re not slaves to sin any more! We must live up to our new status, being grateful and never taking Christ’s sacrifice for granted.
- Sword of the Spirit, God’s Word: This is our only offensive weapon, and we need to know how to wield it. We need discernment from the Holy Spirit, and that comes from knowing God’s words. There is great power in the written (logos) and spoken (rhema) words of God (as we can see when Jesus was tempted in Matt 4). We have to pick up our Bible often: we must read it, study it, believe it, memorize it, and speak it!
Putting on the Armor of God is more than saying a short prayer each day – we have to actively utilize each area in our life: truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, and God’s word. If one area is weak, we leave ourselves open to attack.
Where does your armor need a little adjustment?