~ Introduction to “The Whole Armor of God” ~
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:10-13).
A Different Army ~ The Christian Army differs from other armies in that there is no discharge (cf. Ecclesiastes 8:8). It is an on-going spiritual war without end. The end will only come when Christ returns to earth in His second coming. Sadly, while there are no honorable discharges from spiritual warfare on earth, we can choose to go AWOL! What a tragedy that is for any believer. How such a traitor must grieve the hearts of all three members of the Trinity.
Defense and Offense ~ In sports there is a saying that “defense wins championships.” Perhaps the truth of that reality is the reason the Apostle Paul describes three primarily defensive tools, two primarily offensive tools, and one which functions both ways.
Consumables ~ To fight the spiritual war we are given three primary on-going resources—the consumables of war—which are the Word of God, prayer, and the Spirit of God.
The Word of God might be likened to our food and water, as well as our arsenal of ammunition. “How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103). “Sweeter than honey and the honeycomb” (Psalm 19:10b). In the parable of the sower Jesus said, “The seed is the Word of God” (Luke 8:11b). “Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14). When Jesus Christ was tempted by Satan, He used the written Word of God as His ammunition (Matthew 4:1-11).
Prayer is communication with the Commander-In-Chief. As such it provides tactical directions from He who is responsible for the overall strategy. Prayer provides both direction and strength. A key benefit of prayer is that it aligns our will with His will. Prayer changes our thinking process—a root issue for effectiveness as a Christian soldier. Our supreme role model exemplified this. Jesus said, “My food is to do the will of the Father who sent Me, and to finish His work” (John 4:34-35). Jesus’ life was characterized by His prayer to His Father, “Not my will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
As our Commander He sees the big picture and because of that He has plans that are “above and beyond all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20). Still, in order to carry out our role in tactical battles He provides constant feedback and direction to us. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting” (James 1:5-6a).
The Spirit of God could be likened to fuel or our recharging station. Jesus said, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8). The Christian is commanded to “be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:18a-19). The Spirit of God also recharges us by assuring us of truth. Jesus said, “When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority” (John 16:13a).
Overall Objective ~ The Word of God, prayer, and the Spirit of God all work together with and in us. Jesus gave us an example of how we should pray by beginning with the overall objective of this war: “Thy will be done on earth” (Matthew 6:10; Luke 11:2).
Armor Word Pictures ~ In Ephesians 6:10-20 the Apostle Paul provides us a list of the Christian’s armor for this war. Paul without doubt had a clear image of the Roman soldier and his armor—since he experienced much contact with soldiers during his frequent imprisonments. In fact, Paul was in prison as these word pictures came to him (cf. Ephesians 6:20). It is important to realize that while this armor is invisible—it is very real! But it must be used consistently and correctly and when done so provides real protection and tools for not only defending against spiritual onslaught but for advancing in the spiritual war.
The End Result ~ While each piece of armor is for the individual, we are not alone. There’s power in the blood of Christ—He has already won the war at the Cross, but we are engaged in important battles. The war is won—but we are responsible for winning the skirmishes which we encounter. We can only be effective by using the armor which He provides.
In subsequent posts we will examine each piece of Christian armor identified in Ephesians chapter 6 including its importance and symbolism.
don’t miss this ~ (1) God has given the equipment and everything we need to succeed for Him. “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3). (2) When we avail ourselves of all the provided resources we are in actuality putting on Christ Himself. “…let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. [“God is light” (1 John 1:5)] Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ…” (Romans 13:12-14).
~ Robert Lloyd Russell, ABUNDANT LIFE NOW
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