Young children can teach us many things. I was in a shopping center and watched some children line up to sit on Santa’s lap. It was an amusing lesson in human nature watching these small ones react and respond during their audience with Santa himself. Pondering their different reactions – I realized their response was to the uniform that the man wore. It wasn’t so much the man in the suit, but the suit on the man that elicited the excitement and hope. The clothing we wear can often define us. What we wear and how we wear it can characterize or alter important events or outcomes in our lives.
We dress for our jobs. We dress to represent out personal life style. We dress for special occasions or activities (weddings, funerals, graduations). We dress to identify ourselves to others (nurses, policeman, doctors, dentists). We dress to show affiliation or membership (sports, soccer team). We dress for personal protection (winter wear for cold weather, football gear, fireman)
DRESSING FOR THE JOB
It would be foolishness for a fireman to rush into a house fire without a fire hose wearing just a t-shirt, shorts and sandals. Football players would not only be unprotected during a game, but they would not be able to identify who was on the opposing team without their uniforms. Imagine sending in an army of foot soldiers armed with sticks and pitchforks when their enemy has rocket grenades, night vision goggles and high-powered rifles.
Our Spiritual Battles
When we deny or ignore that there are spiritual battles before us, we have already given the devil the victory by default. Likewise, there are many Christians that think the mention of battles and war in scripture with Satan are allegorical or metaphorical and should not be taken very seriously. How then would they respond to the following verses?
“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.” – Eph 6:12
“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging was against to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” – 2 Cor 10:3-4
“As a good soldier of Christ Jesus, accept your share of the troubles we have.” 2 Tim 2:3-4
We have been given spiritual armor or protective gear to use as well when we battle against Satan. Without our proper spiritual gear we would be just as foolish and vulnerable as the solders with just their pitchforks and a fireman responding with just a squirt gun. We are only effective against the enemy that we battle as long we follow our given orders and are properly dressed and equipped for battle.
Ephesians 6 lists the armament we have been given as “Soldiers of Christ.” Keep in mind that none the pieces of our armor require any power on our part. The armor we have been given (except for one) is only used in defense. Christ has already won the victory through His death on the cross. As Christians we have all been given this armor to use, but it is useless kept in our closet. We have to put on this armor that we’ve received and then be willing to use it as we face our enemy. The following descriptions are regarding our spiritual armor may be considered metaphorical, but do not confuse the metaphor from its seriousness and the amount of power and effectiveness it has in our spiritual battles.
OUR SPIRITUAL ARMOR
Belt of Truth –The belt is used to support and store our tools and weapons. Although it is not the most noticeable piece of armor(like the shield) it is actually the central piece that holds all the rest of our armor securely in place during battle. Specialized hooks on the belt held the sword in place and the soldier can rest his shield (breastplate) from his belt in front of himself during battle to deflect the enemies arrows. The question then is “what is truth–this belt of truth?” In John 17:17 Jesus is praying to the Father as says “Sanctify them by your truth. Your word is truth” We are to wear the belt of truth around us as it carries and holds all the other weapons in place. Some people have the sword of God’s word, but without the belt of truth their armor becomes loose and it may be used irresponsibly and can damage or hurt other solders and without the “truth” they may come to reckless conclusions. Using the armor without the truth they become a liability rather than an asset to the Kings army.
Breastplate A chest wound can be fatal. Soldiers wore a breastplate to cover their heart and lungs. Our heart is susceptible to the wickedness of the world, but our protection is the Breastplate of Righteousness, that righteousness comes from Jesus Christ.
Gospel of Peace –This deals with fitting our feet with readiness that comes from the Gospel of peace. Terrain was rocky and required sturdy protective footwear. Imagine yourself standing in rocky terrain in battle without proper foot gear. The added weight of your armor would only make your feet more sensitive and less effective in getting a proper foothold for battle.
Shield of Faith –No defensive armor is as important as a shield. It fended or repelled arrows, spears and swords. Our shield of faith can guard against Satan’s weapons. One of his deadliest weapons against us is doubt. Satan shoots doubt right at us when the Lord does not act immediately or visibly. Our shield of faith held against Satan can deflect away flaming arrows of doubt or disbelief harmlessly to the side. We can keep our shield held high, fastened to the belt of truth, confident in the knowledge that the Lord provides and protects and is faithful to His children and to His word.
Helmet of Salvation –Helmets protect the head, where all thought and knowledge reside.1Cor 2:16 says that believers have the “Mind of Christ“. Even more interesting in 2 Cor 10:5 explains that those who are in Christ have “divine power to demolish the enemy and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God and we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” Our helmet of salvation used to protect out thought and mind is a crucial piece of armor and we cannot survive without it.
Sword of the Spirit This is the only defensive weapon that is in God’s armor with which we can strike against Satan. The “Sword of the Spirit” represents the Bible, the Word of God. Heb. 4:12 says that the “The word of god is alive and active, sharper than any two-edged sword. It cuts all the way through, to where the soul and spirit meet, to where joints and marrow come together.” To properly use this weapon you must be knowledgeable in what the Word of God says and then receive that word into your heart. That overflow from your heart out of your mouth, used by the power of the Holy Spirit in the authority of the Name of Jesus Christ is a deadly and effective weapon against the enemy. It is the only defensive weapon you have been given and it is the only weapon you will ever need. Don’t be afraid to use it, as Satan’s wish is that you never know how effective it is in battle against him and his demons.
You may wonder what then protects our backside, or behind us when we engage the enemy? Isaiah 58:8 says “ Then your light will shine like the dawning sun, and you will quickly be healed. Your honesty will protect you as you advance, and the glory of the Lord will defend you from behind”.
What Every Good Soldier Must Do
The King of Kings, our Heavenly Commander-in-Chief has given us all the tools we need to win any battle we have before us. The two essential elements in victory in battle are knowing your enemy and knowing your resources. The devil is not frightened at all by our human credentials or efforts of our own. He knows his kingdom can only be damaged and defeated when we recognize and use all the armor we have been given and when we realize who and what we are in Christ and then respond with that knowledge. We have the power to withstand evil as we take our stand as a soldier in the army of the Lord. Our duty or assignment is obey our orders from our Commander and to stand in the gap, shoulder to shoulder with other soldiers as we defend our common ground. We resist every attack of the enemy, holding our spiritual ground, refusing to be moved and destroying every work of the enemy.
So remember to put on your armor every day, never leave home without it and always be ready to use it.