(1/1/2016) It’s a good question for a new start on this first day of a new year. This message is in response to that question which was just asked of me. The answer to this question is really the nuts & bolts of what makes the walk in Christ work! How many Christians have I met who can’t seem to make Christianity work, who don’t have a clue about most of this! First, it is vital to understand the purpose of the armor.
UNDERSTANDING ITS USE. The primary Scripture that describes the armor of God best is Ephesians 6:10-20…although many other scriptures mention or touch on it.(A) The armor passages in Ephesians were written by Paul, who had experienced (suffered) for acting like a Christian about every possible problem, incl. being badly beaten, harshly imprisoned for years, slandered, & chased out of towns. It seems no good deed happens without being punished. Paul is thought to have written these words on the Armor of God while in prison—in other words, he knew firsthand how important the armor of God is to survive as a person of God. Almost every man or woman of God is going to face problems where there are no answers—things will make no sense—and when you want to see God destroying the problem—He does nothing. If one puts on and uses the armor of God, miracles often happen, and one sees that God is there after all! I can testify that the armor works! I have witnessed this many times…I think of one time where I felt backed into a corner with no explanation or answers for what I faced…but I moved forward in total trust (faith in the living loving God) and I saw the Spirit anoint me and do miracles. Out of confusion, & what seemed defeat, the Spirit of God made me an overcomer. I didn’t merely survive, but I thrived in the midst of difficulty. Others have overcome incredible battles with the Armor of God.
THE INCREDIBLE PRESSURES OF LIFE. “We have this treasure in earthen vessels [frail human bodies], that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.”(B) In other words, we receive incredible pressures, so that we can manifest the life of Christ to the world. The Armor of God is not some clever analogy, some skillful play on words, but it is the practical method that we must use in our spiritual warfare against the World’s forces of evil.
INSTRUCTION ON THE ARMOR IN GOD’S WORD: “…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.”(C) The entire suit of armor is needed, for our opponent will attack where we are weakest. The advice to put on “the whole armor” is repeated two verses later.(D)
PARTS TO THE ARMOR.
FIRST PART OR ARMOR. TAKING THE TRUTH PILL TO LEAVE THE MATRIX. The girdle around the midsection is truth. How important it is to know ourselves, to know the truth of others, to know truth in this World of lies. Christ said he was the way & the truth. Another verse teaches us that it is the “love of truth” that will save us.(E) It is not merely having the truth, but loving the truth, because Satan will have all kinds of power to do lying wonders and every unrighteous deception. (E) What pill do we want to take—red or blue—to leave the World’s matrix of lies, or to stay in the comfort of this World of lies? The first piece of armor to put on is to take the truth pill to leave the Matrix.
2ND PIECE OF ARMOR, the Breastplate of righteousness, i.e. taking the moral high ground. When we have truth on our side, when we have right on our side, it gives incredible power. Having righteousness gives us incredible courage & confidence. Have you ever been righteously indignant about some injustice? Do you see how that indignation empowers you? For instance, you may have the courage to go up to a bully and say, “That’s mine, I want it back.” But we all start out weak, we need to ask for forgiveness, repent of our immoral ways, and start life new with the imputed righteousness of Christ, who promises forgiveness to those who admit their wrongs and ask for forgiveness.
3rd PIECE OF ARMOR, the gospel of peace. When we come in peace, when we come to help others, to find win-win solutions, rather than trying to hurt, it gives us confidence. Imagine how bold you would feel if you had $100 bills to give everyone. Normally you would not approach people, but because you know you have something valuable to give them, you have courage and confidence to approach them. The gospel of peace is the real gospel of Christ…who taught us the golden rule, to do unto others as we would want done to ourself. The real gospel of Christ is a gospel of love to build others up. It is a treasure that is worth far more than $100. Peace blesses us too; “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makes me dwell in safety.”(F) Peace was what Christ came to give: “Peace, I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”(G)
4th PIECE OF ARMOR, the shield of faith. Our faith and trust that God is good functions like a shield to protect us from all the fiery arrows that the enemy shoots at us to take us down with discouragement. The enemy is trying to weaken us, and things fly at us—but they don’t attach to us and penetrate us if we use our shield of faith. When things don’t make sense, move forward with that shield of faith. “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”(H) The first book written of Scriptures was about Job. Job, a man of God, had it all, until God permitted Satan to attack his life. Job lost everything, and his wife told him to curse God & die. But he kept his shield of faith in place and it carried him through the battle. We need our God every moment. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”(I) This is why Christians treasure the Word of God, because washing our minds with the Word, cleans out the lies of the Matrix and builds our faith in a good God.
5th PIECE OF ARMOR, helmet of salvation. There is power in knowing that you are a child of God. There is power in knowing your Father is Almighty God. There is power in knowing that this world is not all that there is, and that your true hope is a heavenly hope of your future home with God. Satan will send demons of doubt to cause a person to doubt salvation, to doubt God, to doubt the future that is promised believers. The helmet of salvation is important. One needs to know one’s identity is Christ. One needs to keep one’s heavenly hope and heavenly perspective. I am reminded of a German Christian in the last month of WW 2; the German people had trusted in having the best technology, in having the baddest army, in having the strongest willpower of all the nations, and indeed they had these things…but those things had let them down…and now all their cities were rubble, allied “jabos” fighters roamed the over the country looking for anyone to shoot, & their enemies had said they wanted to take Germany back to the stone age. He wrote 13 days before the surrender (V-E day): “there is in fact only one genuine reason for joy: the hope of God’s coming kingdom.” True indeed…if they had only realized that before they began the war.
6th piece of Armor, the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God which is powerful. “…attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings…For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.”(J) The Word of God functions like a 2-edged sword…it will cut both ways…to both the user and the one receiving it.(K) It also functions as a flashlight to light up the path and show where to go.(L)
7th piece of weaponry, prayer. Ephesians 6:18 says “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit..” A key component of prayer is that it is God-breathed…”in the Spirit”. I have been compelled to pray prayers that I knew were inspired by God and knew at the same moment that they would come true. God was behind them. How is this obtained?…by moving into the center of God’s will.
So this then are the components of spiritual armor, to know our identity as a child of God, to walk in that gospel of peace & love, to move forward with a shield of faith, having obtained the truth that removes us from the World’s matrix of lies. To cherish the truth that we would diligently look for it, using God’s Spirit of Truth to reveal the World’s incredible deceptions. We carry our Sword and know how to use the Word of God, which functions as the Sword of God. We continually are in contact with our commander by all manner of godly prayer. Prayer is like a radio for the soldier who needs to call in artillery or call for other help. But we must use it correctly by moving in the center of God’s will.
(A) Other scriptures on the armor incl. ISA 59:17, ROM 13:11-14, 2 COR 6:7, 10:3-6, 1 THS 8:8 (B) 2COR 4:8-9 (C) EPH 6:10-11. (D) EPH 6:13 (E) 2 THS 2:10 (F) PS 4:8 (G) JN 14:27 (H) 2 COR 5:7 (I) ROM 10:17 (J) PRV 4:20-22 (K) HEB 4:12 (L) Many verses say this incl. PS 119:105 & PRV 6:22,23