“It is not suggested; it is commanded. The Bible would not have told us to take up the whole armour of God in order to withstand evil if evil could have been withstood without doing that” Stormie Omartian
The theme for the next few blogs will be the armour of God (Ephesians 6: 10 – 18). It’s a topic that I remember being talked about a lot when I was a child but, as an adult, I have to admit, it’s a practice I have fallen hard out of the habit of. If you aren’t aware, the armour of God made up of the following items:
- Belt of Truth
- Breastplate of Righteousness
- Shoes of Good News
- Shield of Faith
- Helmet of Salvation
- Sword of the Spirit
The armour of God appears in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. He is writing to them from prison, so armour was something he was quite used to seeing adorning the bodies of the Roman guards. The point of the verses were to remind the Ephesians that they were in a spiritual battle, to not become complacent, and to remember that God had provided them (and us!) with ways in which they could protect themselves from the spiritual war they found themselves in.
Spiritual warfare (or the battle of good vs evil) is just as real today as it was then. It goes on in the heart of every individual, as the forces of evil (the devil) want to turn us away from God and separate us from Him. Our world is a daily battlefield. The enemy is real, and he wants nothing more than to bring defeat. As John 10:10 says “The thief comes only to steal and kill, and destroy…”. He will use anything and anyone, even those closest to us to destroy us.
Priscilla Shirer, in her bible study on the armour of God, writes this: “The enemy’s attacks are always wrapped in the packaging of deception, always designed to manipulate the truth about God and about your value in Him…The evil temptations that appeal to your specific desire and happen to show up when you are most vulnerable are not accidental. They are his deceptive tactics…specifically designed and personalised in hopes that you fall prey to his demon ploy and miss out on experiencing abundant life in Christ”.
Much like a soldier puts on armour to protect himself from the wages of war, so must we clothe ourselves in the armour we have so readily available to us. In our war with Satan, we need spiritual help. God provides a powerful armour to protect us and give us victory. He has given us His word and Spirit, “powerful and true”, so we will have the wisdom and power to stand against the enemy. Luke 10:19 says “Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them”.
The thing is, and I think often in the face of adversity we easily forget this, we already have victory over the enemy through Jesus Christ: 1 John 5:4 “for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith”; 1 Corinthians 15:57 “How we thank God for all of this! It is he who makes us victorious through Jesus Christ our Lord! “.The lie tells us that we never had the victory in the first place. The truth tells us that when Jesus went to the cross and died for us, the enemy was defeated. Jesus, through his sacrifice, gave us authority and victory over the enemy.
Daily “suiting up” can feel a bit weird or strange. And it certainly doesn’t mean we will escape injury or affliction from the trials that we face, but we are less likely to suffer long term if we are protected. A person wearing a bullet proof vest may still suffer a bruise from the bullet’s impact, but without the vest, their injuries would be much more severe, or even fatal.
Evil can only enter our hearts when we allow it access to our lives. That is why we are warned to be watchful and guard our hearts against iniquity and sin. Proverbs 4:23 reminds us “Above all else, guard your heart for everything you do flows from it”. If we are clothed in armour, we are giving ourselves an extra barrier, and extra door for Satan to have to get through.
So, over the next few weeks, we will be taking a look at the armour of God and how “wearing” it will aid us in our daily battles.
I’ll finish here with the lyrics of Pete James’ song “God Suit On” (if you don’t know it, go Youtube it!)
I got the sword of the Spirit, the shield of faith
The belt of truth tied round my waist
When I feel weak, you make me strong
Never back down, I got my God suit on.
Your saving grace will guard my head
Your righteousness like a bullet-proof vest
These good news shoes were made to run
Never back down, I got my God suit on