The Armor of God
Updated: Sep 6
If someone were to ask me which person from the Bible that I look forward to meeting besides Jesus it would be the Apostle Paul. I've often admired and marveled at his tenacity, faithfulness, and endurance amidst the uttermost conflict, challenges, and long-sufferings. Yet Paul considered these adversities light afflictions and had a holy mindset that all that happened to him turned out to be for the furtherance of the gospel. Paul's adamant allegiance to God, boldness, humility, deep love for God and people, his sold-out stance for Jesus have made a profound imprint on my spiritual life.
What I love about Paul is that he had a keen eternal perspective which he demonstrated in his life and expressed in his prayers and letters. This great enduring apostle is the writer of Ephesians. The Apostle Paul while in prison in Rome wrote a letter to the Ephesian followers of Christ. This letter wasn’t written to confront any untruths, bad behavior, or specific problems in the church but to strengthen and encourage the small steadfast local assemblies of Christians spread out in the province of Asia.
The church of Ephesus was a small converted group of faithful followers of Christ living in extremely hostile surroundings. They lived during a time of overwhelming worldly power. False religion and idol worship dominated the city. It was a time of high moral decline, sexual perversion, promiscuity, riot, and rebellion. During this time those who professed and followed Christ faced threats and persecution. Sound familiar? The things going on during the time of Paul's letter are running rampant in our world today and the challenges they faced then mirrors the challenges we as believers face now.
Though the church in Ephesus was small they were strong, unified, and loved one another. Together, they withstood the popular social cultures and false religious customs of their time. There was much evil and gross darkness in Ephesus and the little flock of believers was up against relentless resistance.
The Apostle Paul knew the real source of this ruthless opposition. He saw “behind the curtain”. He looked beyond the flesh and blood. Paul knew this was not a battle against humans but against invisible spiritual enemies. Paul uses a metaphor of a Roman soldier's armor to illustrate God's spiritual armor. Here he urgently warns the church of this unseen warfare. Paul instructs God's steadfast believers on how to put on the whole armor of God so that they can resist and protect themselves against the devil and spiritual forces of wickedness in high places. By putting on the whole armor they would be able to firmly stand their ground.
As followers of Christ, we must not be ignorant of the enemy's devices either. We don’t consume ourselves with looking for him behind every bush, neither do we downplay the forces of darkness. Rather we consume ourselves with God, seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness. Diligently and wholeheartedly going after Him with a surrendered heart.
When we make God our greatest aim, His Word our first and final authority, give Him precedent in all things, with yielded allegiance and obedience we are positioned to be:
Equipped to resist the devil and he will flee. (James 4:6)
It's very important to mention that there are times when we are fighting against the enemy within (our fleshly desires). As much as we'd like to blame the enemy sometimes it's just us. Our sin nature. Our flesh, which is dominated by sin. Paul exhorts us in Scripture to put on the Lord Jesus and to make no provision for the flesh. Each time we give in to gratifying sinful desires it compromises and "loosens" the armor and this is immensely detrimental in battle.
As recruits in God's armed forces, we must have a keen awareness that we have an enemy who knows his time is quickly running out and he is on a ravenous rampage to steal, kill and destroy, therefore we must be, “Sober, vigilant; because our adversary the devil walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
We see him aggressively at work in the world, families, government, and the Body of Christ. He’s working overtime to aggravate, assassinate, confuse, divide, deceive, discourage, divert and devour.
These are some intensely difficult times we're living in but we can take comfort and praise God who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms for those who are united with Him. (Ephesians 1:3)
Listen to Paul's powerful prayer to God for the believers in Ephesus,
"I also pray that you understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe Him! This is the same mighty power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand. He is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else not only in this world but in the world to come. God has put everything under the authority of Christ and has made Him head over all things for the benefit of the church." (Ephesians 1:19-21)
Hallelujah! What great encouragement! God's incomparable great power that raised Christ from the dead is available to us! We need not fear. We need not panic. We need not be downhearted.
Yes, we are living in times hard to deal with but we like the church of Ephesus must be unified, love one another, and have strong faith in the Lord our God.
The Apostle Paul loved the church, encouraged them, and had a genuine deep-hearted concern for them that moved him to pray. Hear his heart, “Ever since I heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly." (Ephesians 1:15-16)
Paul prayed earnest prayers from a heart burdened and steeped with love and thanksgiving for the church and he thanked God for them. He prayed that God would give them spiritual wisdom and insight and that their faith would grow. Their faith was so strong that Paul heard about it and prayed for their faith to grow even stronger.
It's evident that their faith was strong because their faith was IN Jesus. The Originator of faith. The One who overcame the world. Paved the way. Won the battle! He is Alpha, The First, so in all our fighting it must begin with Him and in Him.
It's important to note that the first admonishment that Paul gives directly before introducing and giving instructions on the armor is to, “Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.” (Ephesians 6:10) It’s HIS power that we depend on. Nothing in us. His power infuses and enables us to properly put on the armor of God and effectively use it in the strength that He provides. Our strength is a direct result of having close communion with God.
We cannot afford especially in this urgent hour and heightened time of wickedness to be caught off guard. There are no intermissions in this battle. We are on active duty and in order to be victorious, it is critically important that we are watchful, prayerful, and attentive to God's marching orders in His Word.
It's vitally important to be positioned to have an ear to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying. Unsubmissive and unattentive soldiers miss victory. We must keep our ears open, walk wisely, discern what the will of the Lord is, keep our eyes fixed on Jesus the Captian of our salvation and draw strength from His inexhaustible reservoir of grace and power.
"Our Saviour never lost a battle not even when He lost His life." ~ Willian Gurnall
As followers of Christ, our victory is already sealed and assured. Consequently, because we are on the Lord's side we are engaged in an ongoing battle by default until Jesus' triumphant return.
He is Alpha and Omega.
The First and the Last.
It all starts with Him.
It all ends with Him.
Thanks be to God who gives us the overwhelming victory through Christ Jesus!
With God’s armor surrounding us, Holy Spirit in us, and Jesus fighting and interceding for us we are more than conquerors through Him that loves us!
No weapon formed against
God's people will prosper.
Let's go to God’s throne of grace:
Sovereign Father we thank You for so graciously blessing us with Your spiritual armor. We ask that You would go before us in this study series. Cover us and enlighten our eyes of understanding. Give us ears to hear, eyes to see, and a heart readiness to properly apply Your armor securely that we may be able to withstand in this evil day, and having done all, to stand. Not by might, nor by power, but by Your Spirit. It’s in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
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