There has been many many wonderful sermons, books, articles, even blogs, I would imagine, on the armor of God. Yes, that wonderful little analogy found in Ephesians, exhorting us to be prepared, to take a stand, to use the tools that have been bestowed on us. I'm not going to shed new light on this topic, I just wish to put out some of my thoughts and experiences relating to it. This passage hit me between the eyes this morning. I'm going to focus on Ephesians 6:13-17. Prior to these verses, Paul is giving the reason for putting on the armor of God, as being so that we can "stand against the devil's schemes." (Ephesians 6:11) I don't know about the rest of you, but it is taking me a long time (in my eyes) to get that armor on. I'm always fumbling about and trying my best, but then I find that a piece either isn't on right, or I forgot it that morning, or whatever. I have thought for a long time that we are supposed to put the armor of God on every day, and it would seem wise to do so. But for me, I don't think I've lived a day where I've had every piece of this armor in place. I am, however, making headway. I find the articles themselves to be interesting. The first mentioned is the "belt of truth." Why pick the belt to be truth? The first immediate answer that comes to mind is so that you're not caught with your pants down. Of course, when Paul wrote this and probably had the soldiers at the time in mind, there was probably some other reason he was thinking of. Maybe the belt held the sword? Or the whole outfit together? At any rate, belts are important, and it is fitting that the very first thing mentioned is truth, because it is of utmost importance. I have been fighting the battle of looking for truth in my own life. I've been struggling against what I can now see as whispered lies of being trapped, needing control, having the "right" to be angry or depressed, of needing to let my emotions reign. Yesterday I believe I hit a bit of a landmark.I could feel that familiar and dreaded cloud of hopelessness and desperation beginning to rise up within me. With the onset of that feeling, I had a revelation born of frustration. I thought to myself, "I am so sick of this! Enough!" And with that thought... I realized I was beginning to see the truth. That this feeling and the cause behind it was just a bunch of lies. And being lies, I do not have to succumb to them. I am a child of the truth, satan no longer has me. I think I finally have that belt of truth on. Next is the breastplate of righteousness. Once again, I find it interesting. Why would Paul choose the breastplate as a symbol of righteousness? I like to think it is because righteousness (which word makes me think of holiness, purity, honesty, integrity) is what gaurds our hearts. "Gaurd your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life." Proverbs 4:23 NLT. I don't know if it is true, but I would like to think that reading the word and praying has something to do with strengthening that breastplate. Our feet are to be "fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace." My NLT reads that we are to "put on the peace the comes from the good news so that you will be fully prepared." Peace as a preparer? For our feet? Think about it. If you are peaceful, that doesn't mean you are not alert, but it does mean that you are not distracted by chaos, nor are you necessarily running to in fro in panic or distress. The sheild is a tool that I have started to use in conjunction with the belt of truth. The sheild of faith, that we use to put out the fiery darts of Satan. What fiery darts, or, as my NLT says, fiery arrows can you see being shot at you in your life? Faith in God, in who and what God is, trusting in God will protect me from the flame and the pierce. Throw or shoot what they may, they cannot get through faith if it is based on the utmost trust in the Lord God Almighty. That He does what he says. That we are in the palm of his hand. That he truly does work all things out for the good of those who believe in him. Those fiery darts cannot penetrate the conviction that we are wanted and loved and cleansed by God, so long as we have that faith. The last two items are said together, as though to protray a special connection between the two, sort of like how the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness were coupled together. And indeed, you cannot have the helmet of salvation and not have the sword of the Spirit, or vice versa. Once again, I would like to point out which piece of armor Paul chose for what. The helmet of salvation. The very thing that saves our head, so to speak, is our salvation. And the sword of the Spirit, which (as my NIV goes on to say) is the Word of God. Notice that this is the only article assembled that is meant not just for defense, but also offense. The Holy Spirit, the Word of God, this is our weapon "...against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 6:12 NLT) I may not utilize them as I should, but I do have this full suit of armor. I finally have put my belt on, and taken up my sheild. Every day I strive to fortify my breastplate, and stand in peace. I can't go anywhere's without my helmet, for it has become a part of me. And my sword is getting sharpened as we speak. Bring it.
Oh Who WONDERFUL blog!! :) A great writer you are! One among many of your talents, no? ;)
A great reminder, like Bethy and Galahad have already said. Yell it from the rooftops people!
very good blog, and it is the truth for as long as we are prepared satan is defenceless. I Corinthians says that we will not be given more than we can bear and will be given a way out. The word of God is the most powerful thing that there is for us to use. Just with his words God created everything, and Jesus cast demons into pigs which then died, and we could keep going. Thanks for your encouragement.
Thank you Lord for the use of this most powerful weapon!
A very thoughtful blog, I especially liked the part about the feet shod with peace. Like you said, peace keeps you from distraction. In a sense it is the freedom from distraction and chaos that allows us to act. I mean if you're in a battle and you just get hung up on how there's carnage all around you, odds are you're going to end up dead because you can't distinguish what's coming at you from what's on around you. In a sense then, peace gives you the freedom to move and therefore to act and intervene; to start a fight rather than be at its mercy.
The other thought that occurred to me is that I would argue that the sword is not the only offensive weapon, its just the primary. A shield is also used as a weapon for pushing back an attacker or even for delivering a finishing blow to someone at your feet (Gladiator has an example of this...or was it braveheart?). I'm not sure what the significance of this is, except that the word for faith can also be rendered nurse. Nursing gives strength to another just as faith gives strength to the one believed in. Perhaps then while the Word is the most devestating thing to the enemy, the shield extends the kingdom in a more general way? I'm not sure, that's as far as my reasoning goes.