Not to sound snarky or unlearned, but if we are called to put on armor, what’s the reason why? And how does that work?
What armor am I talking about? Why, the armor of God of course! Something that we as Christians are told to equip daily!
Those who are familiar with the Bible know this familiar passage from Ephesians 6:
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Luckily, the Scripture tells us clearly what the main purpose of the armor is: to help us stand tall. So that no matter what we go through, what the enemy throws our way, we can stand firm and unmovable. After all, that’s what it takes to live this life — determination and discipline.
I’d read this scripture so many times but I never really got it. Or maybe I had but once I read it again and again, the meaning just became a bundle of words to me. Too often, it is like that with many believers. We read the Scriptures but our passion wanes and it’s just like reading the newspaper in the morning, for information and entertainment instead of the heart-wrenching instructions they are meant to be.
“And having done all, to stand.” That should mean something to us all. It meant something to me once and I had forgotten it. It means that regardless of my situation or circumstances. Regardless of any persecution I may face for my faith or if things get hard or if my health fails or money gets tight, the Lord of All desires that I stand. He wants me to be able to stand tall with head high and shoulders back because I am a representative of Him here on the Earth. And my Father wouldn’t tell me to stand if it wasn’t possible for me to do so. So, I know that I can stand, I know that I can make it, but how? How do I get there? That was something I asked myself for a really long time. And then when I realized that I couldn’t answer the question on my own. That’s why I turned my face heavenward and asked God. (Yes, I know that this should’ve been my first response, but I am a work in progress.)
So, He told me that the first thing to do was to not read just to read, but to understand. What was the purpose of the armor? How could I equip it? Then fear came, telling me that it was impossible for me to remember what the armor meant, even more so to put it on every day. To that, I disagreed and decided to pull out my concordance and Bible dictionary to learn the armor and view it in a new way. What I discovered was mind blowing. Most importantly, He reminded me that I can’t read the Word just to read it or even just to memorize or understand. There was no point in reading the Word if I wasn’t going to put it to use in my daily life. That hit me right in the gut, but I had to accept it.
Here’s a summary of what I learned about the armor:
The Girdle of Truth:
Truth comes only via the living Word.
Truth shows me how things really are. It’s not just my perception or someone else’s perception. It’s deeper than that.
The Breastplate of Righteousness:
Keeps me from unnecessary battles.
Wearing it means acknowledging that I am sanctified and set apart and then living like it.
The Shoes of The Preparation of The Gospel of Peace:
I must always be ready and willing to go, to share the gospel, even when it looks like no one wants it.
The Shield of Faith:
Faith keeps me from falling away or stumbling when trials come.
The Helmet of Salvation:
Salvation anchors my soul and gives me something to look forward to. (Like the joy that Jesus saw before Him on the cross.)
It must be received in my heart before I can ever truly use it.
The Sword of the Spirit:
The sword (the Word of God) attacks and deflects attacks.
It discerns the souls of people and is deadly to the enemy.
Prayer is the piece of the armor that is often forgotten about, but the truth is that the armor is not complete without it.
Prayer involves me being aware of the importance of what I am praying for. It also means interceding on the behalf of others. Prayer must be taken seriously with perserverance and without growing weary.
After my study, I asked myself the following questions. I didn’t just skip over them or breeze through them, but I searched myself until I found the answers. It took me an hour to write down my answers and some of them were excuse-ladden (in full disclosure).
- Am I truly aware of what I’ve been asking for? Do I understand the gravity of it?
- Do I continue to maintain excited expectation as I wait? Without growing weary?
- Am I consistently and seriously interceding on the behalf of others?
- How do I go after peace?
I highly suggest that you answer these questions in regard to prayer yourself, they may hep you reevaluate how and why you pray. And since prayer is something that gives us strength (remember some things we can only handle via prayer and fasting), I hope that you do it with all seriousness.
After discovering these truths, I have been pondering how to equip the armor. I know I need it. I know it is important, but as someone who has always overanalyzed life’s questions, I felt like I was missing something. It was as though there were some fundamental building block that had escaped my attention. And you cannot build a house on an unstable foundation. In hindsight, knowing that I missed something is a blessing. (God can’t help you with something you don’t bring to Him. He isn’t invasive like that, He waits until we’re willing to talk to Him.)
What was it that I was missing?
The order. There’s an order to this and that’s where I fell short. First, comes the truth. Once I know the truth, I have to believe it and act on it, that’s where faith comes in. Next is coming to terms with my own salvation. After I have recieved it, I can use the Word of God to live righteously. And once I am standing on my own two feet, I can share this peace, this gospel with other people. And what was laced through it all? Prayer! I have to pray so that I can go deeper in Him, so that I don’t just read or learn enough to recite it, but so that I can live it earnestly and make it through. I need to pray in order to strengthen my faith, in order to continue to live righteously when the world is anything but.
This has been quite an amazing revelation but now I have to ensure that I don’t forget it. And the only way to do that is to live it. Reading it back to myself isn’t enough. I’ve tried that before and it didn’t work. If I want to look back on life and say that through it all I stood tall, I have to practice what I preach and do so daily. As A.W. Tozer once said, the Lord makes allowances for our shortcomings when we are trying in earnest. It reassures me because I don’t have to get this right the first time. I don’t have to immediately know how to put His word to use or even how to equip all the armor. God makes allowances for me and He won’t let me down. He’ll lift me up so that one day, I can put this armor on at the start of each new day as easily as I breathe. And what’s true for me is true for you.
(If you care to know what I learned in my study of the armor, leave a comment! If I get enough interest, I’ll share it all in another post!)