Saturday, December 03, 2005

What is the Armour of God?

Ephesians 6:10-20 tells us...

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full Armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full Armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.

With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should."

Ephesians 6:12 clearly indicates that the conflict with Satan is spiritual, and therefore no tangible weapons can be effectively employed against him and his ministers. We are not given a list of specific tactics he will use. However, the passage is quite clear that when we follow all the instructions faithfully we will be able to stand, we will have victory regardless of his offense.

The first element of our Armour is Truth verse 14. This is easy to understand, since Satan is said to be the "father of lies." In speaking to His enemies, "Jesus said, 'You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies'" (John 8:44 - NIV). Deception is high on the list of abominations with God. He clearly states that no liar will be admitted in heaven.

"Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying" (Revelation 22:14-15 - NASB).

We are therefore exhorted to put on truth for our own sanctification and deliverance, and for the benefit of those to whom we are a witness. "Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee" (1 Timothy 4:16 - KJV).

Also in verse 14 we are told to put on the breastplate of righteousness. A breastplate would shield a warrior from a fatal blow to the heart and other life and death critical organs. We see that God's help is just a prayer away for the righteous, "The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry" (Psalms 34:15 - KJV). "The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles" (Psalms 34:17 - KJV). "For surely, O LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favour as with a shield" (Psalms 5:12 - NIV).

Verse 15 speaks of the preparation of the feet for spiritual conflict. The modern soldier needs to pay particular attention to his feet as well as did the ancient soldier. Sometimes the ancient enemy would place dangerous obstacles in the path of advancing soldiers. This is much like the land mines of today. Also disease can damage the feet of a soldier without proper footwear. The idea of the preparation of the gospel of peace as footwear suggests what we need to advance into Satan's territory with regard to the preparedness of having a message of grace so essential in winning souls to Christ. Satan has many obstacles placed in the path to halt the propagation of the gospel.

The shield of faith spoken of in verse 16 is to make ineffective Satan's assault of sowing doubts in regard to the faithfulness of God and His Word. The helmet of verse 17 protecting the head is, again, to keep viable a most critical part of the body. We could say that our way of thinking needs preservation. The posture of our mind is crucial in making correct moral and spiritual choices. Verse 17 interprets itself in regard to what is meant by the sword of the Spirit. It speaks of the holiness and power of the Word of God. A greater spiritual weapon is not conceivable. In Jesus' temptations in the desert the Word of God was always His overpowering response to Satan. What a blessing, the same Word is available to us.

Praying in the Spirit (that is, with the mind of Christ, with His heart and His priorities) as in verse 18 is the culmination of what is involved in arraying ourselves and in utilizing all the aforementioned Armour of God. It is significant that this passage of scripture is so true to form with the priorities of ministry highlighted throughout the apostle Paul's epistles in holding prayer as most essential to spiritual victory and maturity. And notice, by the way, how he sincerely requests it for himself as well (verse 19-20).

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