to the glory of God and the edification of people everywhere
Strength for the Conflict
Lesson 14 -- second quarter 2009
May 31, 2009
by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2009
Introductory questions to chew
Are "the wiles of the devil" a real threat to me personally?
What lessons does this passage have for me in its usage of all?
Am I a viral carrier of peace wherever my feet take me?
Is verse 18 a call to every believer? To me, for example? If so, how so? If not, why not?
Every time I leave home -- am I supposed to go out as an ambassador? Why or why not? How about every time I am at home?
How do I put it on?
Ephesians 6:11 conveys to us one of God's commands for His people: "Put on the whole armour of God." In the interest of being obedient to God and thus experiencing spiritual success and victory, we must ask the obvious question: How do we put on God's armor?
I have heard and read (and in the past, even taught) that this must be done literally. Since this is physically intangible armor, we cannot put it on ourselves. We must ask God each day to put that armor on us, somewhat like this: "Father, ask You to please put on me right now the breastplate of righteousness." So this approach goes. Even though I no longer teach this as such, I still think the mind set has its merits. However, I now believe that the Christian can indeed put on the armor himself.
How can we as humans put on something as physically intangible as spiritual armor? By exercising ourselves in those areas highlighted by the armor. Still not sure of my meaning? Let's look at each piece of armor mentioned in today's lesson.
Girdle. This particular piece of armor is identified as truth. As we love, learn and practice truth, we are "girt about with truth" -- we have put on the girdle as God has commanded. Thus we see that truthfulness protects us spiritually; untruthfulness leaves us vulnerable.
Breastplate. What does the Bible call this? Righteousness. One definition of the term is simply choosing what is right. Every time. All the time. This is the mind set to live after God's ways. Each time we live righteously and choose righteousness, we put on the breastplate. Wrong choices and less-than-righteous decisions are the spiritual equivalent of an ancient soldier chucking his breastplate...right in the thick of battle!
Foot Gear. Verse 15 calls this "the preparation of the gospel of peace." We put on our spiritual footgear when we choose peace in all our relationships, when we present the message of the Gospel, and even when we prepare to do these things. When we skip these things, we march into combat in our bare feet. Wise? Hardly.
Shield. Has it ever occurred to you that without this piece of armor, you cannot please God? Just a thought based on Hebrews 11:6. Anyway, when we choose faith in God and in His Word, when we choose faithfulness to God and His Word, we are taking up our spiritual shield. Those who are faithful and full of faith are pleasing to God and well shielded from "all the fiery darts of the wicked."
Helmet. In our day it seems that almost any part of our bodies can or could be transplanted without affecting the real us. Almost, because it seems that a head transplant would cause significant changes in our personhood. In that sense we could say that our heads are the "container" of the real us. And in the spiritual dimension, our salvation keeps us safe and protects our real identity in Christ. How, then, do we put on salvation after we have made that first surrender to Jesus? By daily fresh surrenders to His Lordship. By living each day within the Biblical guidelines of our salvation. How else?
Sword. "The sword of the Spirit...is the word of God." Bible reading, meditation and memorization are all ways to take up the sword of the Spirit. But these must never take the place of Bible living! Make the Word an integral part of your life and you shall always have the sword in hand!
Thoughts for the Week:
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