"Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes."
There are times in our lives when we can feel so bombarded with negative circumstances that it can be overwhelming.
I was recently thinking about this and discussing it with my husband and I made note of how we can look back at our lives and often find seasons of difficulty where it was overwhelming and then also see seasons of difficulty where we did much better in handling the challenges that came our way. What was the difference?
I had been thinking on this a bit and in my own life I had felt some conviction about how I was responding to life's trials. Was I acting as though I trusted God and was I abiding in His Word and instructions?
The scripture reference above is just a small piece of the instruction given. Read the full scripture below. This isn't just a portion of words from a book called the Bible, these are God breathed....real....living instructions given for the purpose of helping us and instructing us so that we might live in victory!
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor 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 armor 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."
(underlined emphasis is mine)
Before this scripture I wondered what could have been the difference between my times of difficult circumstances where I felt victorious, and the times when I felt defeated....I believe the answer is in that scripture. I didn't have my armor on.
I have been a believer for most of my life, and although that might seem like a good thing, sadly there are times where I find myself being lazy or even prideful and forgetting to do things that were once foundational.
We must not forget to put on our armor! We are living in a world at war, and not just the physical world, but as the scripture says, we are warring "against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."
What this means is that even though we may not see an enemy standing outside our doors or in our homes pointing his weapons at our head....he is still there.... in the spiritual realm. Are we ready?
The point that I felt God stirring in my heart yesterday was this....why am I complaining about the sting of the arrows when God has provided me with full armor to protect me and it is all laying at my feet and I simply need to just pick it up and put it on? Of course I am going to get hurt when I walk around unprotected against the enemy, why would I even think otherwise?
What can we do to put on the Armor of God?
BELT OF TRUTH - You cannot hold a sword without a belt. This is listed first because without knowing the Truth of Jesus Christ as Savior, you cannot weild the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6
BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS - God made a covenant with His followers, His righteousness covers us when we are in relationship with Him. Righteousness comes by complete Faith in Him and with that you will desire to abide in His Will and be obedient to His Word. I believe righteousness can not be earned, it is given to those who believe as a gift from the Father. Therefore, to walk in righteousness we must walk in relationship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled" Matthew 5:6
SANDALS OF PEACE - Inner peace comes from resting in Christ, knowing that He has taken your place on the cross and you can be in relationship with God the Father. Christ also intercedes for you with the Father, you can rest in His care. Jesus is the "Prince of Peace"Isaiah 9:6. And we are also given peace from the Father, which comes from relationship with Him. "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus"Philippians 4:7 But we cannot spread God's peace without first spreading His gospel. "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!"Romans 10:14-15
SHIELD OF FAITH - This is the first thing listed that you don't just wear, you must hold it up. If you have a shield on your arm and someone shoots an arrow at you, the shield is no good if you leave your arm down at your side. You must raise the shield to cover yourself. Faith is similar, we cannot just say we have faith, but must 'raise it' or execute it in our daily living. Faith is not easy, it is linked to things we hope for but do not see. It links back to Trust, we must trust in the promises of God and Christ to be able to live in faith."Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1
HELMET OF SALVATION - A helmet protects your head from attack, and salvation does the same thing only in a larger scope. Salvation is to be saved (from something bad) and Christ saved us from eternal separation from God by dying for our sins and thus connecting us back with the Father through His love and act of sacrifice. Since we have an enemy, the helmet of salvation will protect our minds. If we focus on the hope that we have in Jesus, it helps to protect us from depression, overwhelm, and fear...which are all from the enemy. "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" Psalm 27:1
SWORD OF THE SPIRIT - The Word of God is the sword and the Bible calls the Word "a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." Psalm 119:105. His Word sheds light on where we are, where we are headed, and where He would like us to be. The Word is a most powerful weapon! God gives it to us not only as a comfort and instruction, but also as a weapon against the enemy. "For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of the soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Hebrews 4:12
Lets all make sure we have our full armor on. Life feels better without the sting of the enemy's arrows constantly piercing our skin.
As many know, we are a homeschooling family, and last year I found an excellent in depth study of the Armor of God on a website called 'Bible Study Guides'. If you would like a great Bible study for you or your children (especially boys since there is lots of talk of soldiers and weapons), I highly recommend this site. You can get to the first study (Lesson 1) by following this link:
May God richly bless you and may we all be motivated to clothe ourselves with the protection that God has given us to keep the enemy from infiltrating our minds and spirit.