Today’s Culture ~ As observant Christians observing the culture of our day, many of us can identify with the thoughts of Jeremiah: “O my soul, my soul! I am pained in my very heart! My heart makes a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because you have heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. Destruction upon destruction is cried, for the whole land is plundered. Suddenly my tents are plundered, and my curtains in a moment. How long will I see the standard, and hear the sound of the trumpet? ‘For My people are foolish, they have not known Me. They are silly children, and they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge’” (Jeremiah 4:19-22).
Fundamental Response ~ The Christian must put on the whole armor of God if he/she is to be prepared for spiritual victory.
Assurance of Victory ~ (1) God has given the equipment and everything we need to succeed for Him. “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3). (2) When we avail ourselves of all the provided resources we are in actuality putting on Christ Himself. “…let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light [“God is light” (1 John 1:5)]. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ…” (Romans 13:12-14).
R.E.A.D. ~ When you Rely on Him, Equip yourself for battle, Acknowledge your enemy, and Defend your territory, you have the winning formula (R+ E+A+D = spiritual victory). READ the Word of God regularly!
A Different Army ~ The Christian Army differs from other armies in that there is no discharge (cf. Ecclesiastes 8:8). It is an on-going spiritual war without end. The end will only come when Christ returns to earth in His second coming. Sadly, while there are no honorable discharges from spiritual warfare on earth, we can choose to go AWOL! What a tragedy that is for any believer. How such a traitor must grieve the hearts of all three members of the Trinity.
Defense and Offense ~ To win a war you need both an effective offense and a great defense. The Apostle Paul describes both kinds of items (Ephesians 6:10-20). Consider three defensive items: the “breastplate of righteousness,” the “shield of faith,” and the “helmet of salvation.” We also have offensive equipment including “shoes of peace,” the “sword of the Spirit,” and “belt of truth.” The “sword of the Spirit” (God’s Word) is the primary offensive weapon.
Armor Word Pictures ~ When the Apostle Paul listed the Christian’s armor for this war he no doubt had a clear image of the Roman soldier and his armor—since he experienced much contact with soldiers during his frequent imprisonments. In fact, Paul was in prison as these armor word pictures came to him (Ephesians 6:20). It is important to realize that while this armor is invisible—it is very real! But it must be used consistently and correctly and when done so provides real protection and tools for not only defending against spiritual onslaught but for advancing in the spiritual war.
The End Result ~ While each piece of armor is for the individual, we are not alone. There’s power in the blood of Christ—He has already won the war at the Cross, but we are engaged in important battles. The war is won—but we are responsible for winning the skirmishes which we encounter. We can only be effective by using the armor which He provides.
Summary ~ Don’t miss the fact that Paul concludes his description of the “Whole Armor of God” with an emphasis on prayer. You may have complete and capable armor, but if you not fighting the war in constant communion with your commander, you are heading for failure. A good soldier will not be negligent in his prayer life. Prayer is the means by which we draw spiritual strength from God. Without reliance upon God, our efforts at spiritual warfare are empty and futile.
A Final Word ~ “And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we'll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out” (Ephesians 6:10-18, The Message).
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