Christians often speak about “battling the enemy.” The idea is that the enemy is on the prowl and he can and will devour us if we let him. But the truth is that we often give the enemy more power than he actually has. God’s Word doesn’t call us to struggle against the enemy; rather we are called to stand firm. Let me explain… Continue Reading
In Ephesians 6, Paul gives us a list of armor that all believers are called to wear when preparing for spiritual battle. He uses traditional pieces of armor as a way to illustrate how we are to arm ourselves as Christians against the enemy. This list includes the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, shoes of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit.
He concludes his list with the following verse:
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. – Ephesians 6:18 (NLT)
Battles are a part of life. We all face them. Some are more difficult than others. Some last only a day (or even hours) while others can last for years. Whether they are physical, emotional, or spiritual, every person will face battles that they must overcome.
We all have them. Obstacles and impossible battles that we have no idea how to overcome. We are taught from an early age to face them head on. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. For some of the battles, this is true. We can face them head on and win.
Then there are the impossible battles. The ones where it seems that no amount of fighting will keep us from defeat. The ones where our demise seems inevitable. What about these battles? How can we possibly face these head on when we feel hopeless about the outcome?
When the early Christian church was expanding after Jesus ascended into heaven, amazing things were taking place. Thousands were coming to know Christ as their Savior and the message of the gospel was being preached throughout the known world. These new believers were passionate about their new faith as well as the expansion of the Good News.
At the time, however, they were also being intensely persecuted. I find it interesting to think that while Christians everywhere were dying for their faith, somehow the church was still expanding. The message was getting out there, and people were responding by surrendering their lives to something that could potentially get them killed.
Every warrior knows that in order to succeed in battle, one must be prepared both offensively and defensively. Without one or the other, we are doomed to failure. At first glance, the armor of God is all about defense. We do, however, have one offensive weapon – the sword of the Spirit.
The Word of God is our sword – our only offensive weapon against the enemy.
Have you ever done something you knew in your gut was wrong? We all have regrets. I’m not talking about those. I’m talking about the times when you actually had the opportunity to stop and think about your decision before you acted on it.
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul presented a metaphor that would shape the way Christians view spiritual battle – the act of putting on spiritual armor. Ephesians 6:17 tells us to put on the helmet of salvation. The helmet is often the final piece of armor a soldier puts on before marching out into battle. Yet without it, the rest of the armor seems somewhat pointless. If your head is unprotected, it will only be a matter of time before the enemy takes you down.
When it comes to armor, the shield is an extremely vital piece – something I definitely wouldn’t want to go into battle without. Sure, I may be wearing body armor, but it’s my shield that allows me to protect the most vulnerable parts of me. I can maneuver it to guard me from all angles. And while my body armor can prevent me from being injured in an attack, my shield can keep me from getting hit in the first place.
What do shoes and peace have in common? Not much on the surface. Yet Paul tells Christians in Ephesians 6 to wear “shoes of peace” as part of our spiritual armor. (Ephesian 6:15)
When it comes to armor in general, the term “peace” doesn’t usually spring to mind. After all, armor is generally worn during times of war – not times of peace. So why would Paul tell us to wear peace when facing the enemy in warfare?
The breastplate is an extremely important piece of armor. It protects our heart and other vital organs. So when Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 to put on the breastplate of righteousness, he was indicating the importance of righteousness in our lives.
Righteousness can’t be earned. Our own attempts to be righteous will always fail. In Christ, righteousness is granted to us as believers because of our faith.
Paul tells believers in Ephesians 6 to wear the belt of truth. In our culture, however, truth is relative. Your truth and my truth can completely contradict one another. Not only is this type of thinking considered okay, it is actually encouraged. Our culture even has a polite, socially acceptable word for it – tolerance.
Growing up in the church, I have been taught numerous times about the armor of God. In the book of Ephesians, Paul warns believers to be prepared for battle. He lays out a detailed list of armor that we as Christians should “put on” as we prepare for war. As a kid, I understood the mental image, but I never fully understood what this armor meant until I was older and faced the battle in a very real way.
No one enjoys feeling weak or vulnerable, yet it is inevitable to feel this way at some point in our lives. We all feel small at times…especially when it seems like the cards are stacked against us. When it came time for the Israelites to finally enter into the Promised Land, God commanded Moses to send 12 spies into the land to survey the scene. After forty days, the men brought their reports back to the Israelites. Needless to say, there were mixed reviews.The land was exactly as God had promised. It truly flowed with milk and honey, and it was everything the Israelites could ever need or want. There was just one problem…they would have to fight for it.
Life can be difficult. We work hard, and we try to keep everything together, but life has a way of throwing us curve balls. Why do these things happen? How can we cope as believers? Continue Reading