May 14, 2013 Alright, so now we’ve properly identified the enemy but does that mean we just go jumping into the ring now and pound it out? Not Quite! The next part of our study scripture says to “…take unto you the whole armour of God…”
“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For 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. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” (Ephesians 6:11-18 KJV)
Oh, did you notice that too? Or should I say two – this recommendation from the Apostle Paul was a repeat from the beginning of the section. He says to put on the whole armour of God and then after properly identifying the enemy he repeats himself by saying essentially the same thing. Is there a reason he makes the double emphasis? Did he just forget or is he waxing poetic or is he really trying to drive a point home? I think it’s the latter.
Paul is trying to help us understand that without being wholly armored in God’s armour we don’t even stand a chance. Simply look at the way he says both phrases. He says put it on first so you can stand against the wiles of the devil and then he says put it on so that we can withstand and after it’s all said and done still be standing.
You see life is going to deal us some pretty heavy blows and the enemy is going to be sure to capitalize on them to try to wear us down. The enemy will often throw several of his own jabs at us even while we are just dealing with the issues of life, like a new job, a relocation, start of a new relationship, birth of a child, or the death of a loved one. These are all things that are just a part of life and they take some adjusting on our part and if we’re not careful during these big transitions in our lives, the enemy can exert a little extra pressure and topple us.
Armour is our protection during these times and having the right armour or equipment on is of paramount importance! In other words, you shouldn’t have on a tennis outfit when going scuba diving; it just doesn’t fill the bill. You shouldn’t normally have on your swimsuit when going out for a round of golf and you don’t want to be caught in your PJ’s when actively involved in a game of paintball.
Like any good soldier knows, however, to be properly equipped for the battle means first having to strip down of all other things that may get in the way or hinder the proper movement or use of the necessary equipment. Hence we are told over and over in scripture to lay aside the unnecessary and grab hold of what’s important.
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” (Hebrews 21:1 KJV)
We accomplish this by letting go of grudges, past hurts, feelings of worthlessness etc…. Sure sin itself can be weighty but so can the consequences of our own sin as well as the effects of other’s sins like shame, disappointment, crushed self-worth, broken trust and the like. So the writer of Hebrews isn’t just saying get rid of sin from your life, their saying drop all the things that bring you down and prevent you from being victorious in this life. In other words, don’t accept the labels that other try to put on you such as stupid, lazy, good for nothing, inept or any other derogatory statement.
But once stripped of those things do we charge ahead as raw as the day we were born? I know some are not afraid of their birthday suit but it is not the given norm nor is it acceptable to stroll around that way. Therefore, we must clothe ourselves with something other than these previous weights, sins or labels. But what?
You see until we surrender everything we are and have to God our best is as scripture puts it – nothing but rags.
“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isaiah 64:6 KJV)
Think of it as a pair of hole-ly jeans. Some think its cool to wear jeans with gaping holes in them and even famous designers jumped in on the fashion trend charging outrageous prices for a pair of ripped up worn out looking new pair of jeans. But the truth of the matter is when the cold winds blow and the rains pour those holes are good for nothing but letting the elements in to affect the unprotected areas.
“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” (Hebrews 11:24-25 KJV)
Yes sin can be appealing and even be pleasurable for a while but eventually the storms of life will blow across our lives and anything we’ve exposed will be damaged, which could be our reputation, trust, self esteem, morals, judgment etc… so I would not recommend anything Hole-ly as far as armour goes since it’s best not to leave any open areas for the enemy to attack.
Yet others have gone from this one extreme to another and over holy-fied their lives. Everything to them must be Holy or be done away with. But this mindset leads only to legalism and judgment of others. This is what the Pharisees in Jesus’ day were into and look how well it worked for them when he called them a brood of vipers. Not such a endearing term from the God of all Love wouldn’t you say? And isn’t that how we end up feeling about those who act that way toward us? That’s probably why the conversion rate for these individuals is quite low but they can sure preach fire and brimstone to us (which may be what we need to hear at times but not the way we should live 100% of the time). So the Holy-er than thou armour isn’t highly recommended either.
“Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:” (Luke 6:37 KJV)
I believe the only correct choice to make is the one the Apostle Paul recommended in the first place; to be wholly armored. That is to have every area of our life covered by Christ.
“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” (Isaiah 61:10 KJV)
A robe in Jesus’ day was designed to cover from head to toe in order to protect oneself from the elements. It could be drawn around the body to be slept in and leave no part exposed to the elements. This is what is meant to be wholly covered and what Paul alluded to when he said we should be wholly armored.
We must be stripped down, washed clean and re-outfitted with the proper perspective of who we are in Christ. This is the only way that the armour of God will adhere to us and be of any use in our daily living.
Hence, it might be time to reassess where we are at in our relationship with Christ. Are we hole-ly, holy or wholly involved with a living savior who thrives on personal interaction with us? It’s best to assess that now before the enemy discovers any weaknesses and attempts to exploit them.