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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Armor of God

Since I was a teen almost daily I have put on the Armor of God.  Even during times in my life that I have not walked closely with God I have carried on this habit(and those of you who know me know there have been times I have not lived as a Christian should, thank God for His grace).  The importance of wearing this armor was instilled in me by my youth minister and as I have grown in my walk with God I value, not only the Armor, but also the education I received regarding the necessity of arming myself to help me walk as a Christian in this world.  

Recently I was talking with some Christian friends of mine and was shocked to learn that they do not wear the protection God so graciously provides.  I wondered why they didn’t:  Is it lack of education in the Church, lack of discipline, lack of knowledge regarding Spiritual Warfare or simple laziness.  Have we grown so complacent in America that we do not realize the spiritual warfare taking place all around us every day?  Do we feel so safe that we neglect part of our Christian walk?  Or is it that we do not grasp the importance of armor?  

I think perhaps it is a combination of these.  Knowledge of armor and its importance has waned over the centuries.  Armor, after all, is outdated.  We do not need it in today’s society, so the importance of spiritual armor seems trivial.  Armor was essential in medieval times for knights, but in today’s world we do not grasp its vital importance.  

I am not a Bible scholar, simply a reader of the Bible.  And when I read of the Armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-20 I can be overcome with the intricacy of these verses.  It is easy to read them, think they are good verses but not apply them to life because they seem simple yet complex.  They seem important yet hard to apply to my own life…why do I need armor…isn’t praying and reading my Bible enough?  But I remember my youth leader telling me of the importance of arming myself so I can stand against satan, warning me that satan wants to destroy not just my witness but my life.  (“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour” 1 Peter 5:8)

To help me understand the armor I try to think of what each piece represents.  What functions each piece possesses and then apply it to the Armor of God. 

I’m not sure if this will help you or not, but here are my thoughts when I think about the Armor of God:  

Helmet of Salvation:  A helmet protects not just our heads, but our thoughts.  Knowing we are saved, that we belong to Christ helps shield our minds from things we should not be thinking of, it helps us bring our thoughts captive to the obedience of God.  (“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5) 
Breastplate of Righteousness:  A breastplate shields the chest and vital organs, especially the heart.  Our hearts need to be protected from the schemes of the devil, not allowing any footholds to take root in our hearts.  Allowing satan footholds/temptations leads to sin. The breastplate of righteousness helps us to know what is right and to do what is right.  (“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13)

Belt of Truth:  A belt helps hold things in place, during the times of knights it helped to keep the tunic pulled up so they could fight. From what I have read in the Bible the waist/abdomen was considered to be where our emotions come from.  We must know the truth of God’s word so that we are not overcome by our emotions.  Emotions can be good, but we must not be lead by them, emotions should not control us.  Jesus says He is, “the way, the truth, and the life.” John 14:6.   When I put on the belt of truth I ask God to help me to know the truth when I hear it and to speak the truth no matter the cost.  

Sandals of Peace:  shoes are important today, just as they were during the Middle Ages, they protect our feet.  We put shoes on to prepare to go somewhere.  The Sandals of peace are spiritual shoes that help guide us and protect us as we go through this world.  They help us have peace even during the most hectic of days.  Jesus calls us to spread His message, these shoes help us to do that with the peace only He can provide. “And how shall they preach unless they are sent?  As it is written:  How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” Romans 10:15

Shield of Faith:  A shield protects against all the darts satan shoots at us.  Our faith protects us.  “So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” Luke 17:6.  It only takes a small amount of faith, which is good because often that is all I have.  I have to remind myself, Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world.

Sword of the Spirit:   This is our only offensive weapon and it is the word of God.  How can we use this sword unless we know Gods word?  Just like knights had to practice with their swords we must practice with ours, we must learn how to wield it. If Jesus used it to fight off satan in the desert I can use it too.  I ask God to help call to my mind His words as I go through the day.   “For the word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”  Hebrews 4:12.  “All scripture Is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16

Finally Ephesians tells us to pray continually, while this is not part of the actual armor, it is another weapon we have and can be used both offensively and defensively.  Every soldier in battle needs to be in communication with the Leader, we too as soldiers for Christ must be in constant communication with our Leader to know what to do and how to act.  It also helps us receive orders of action, encouragement and rest as we battle on.  Prayer is our two way walkie –talkie.  

I pray this helps.  As I said, I am not a Bible Scholar… I hope I clarified and not further confused.  If anyone has any other suggestions for how they apply the Armor or clarification please post so we can all utilize this armor to the full extent.  God has given us protection as we walk through this world; I pray we all learn to utilize it to the fullest potential.  

As I was writing this I decided to Google information about real armor, I found a web site that has some basic information about Knights, Armor, their weapons and more.  You can check it out at http://www.knightsandarmor.com/index.htm

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