Time To Don Our Armor
By Matt Leasher
We live in day in which there seems to be much anxiety throughout the world about what the future holds. There is the economic anxiety of failing monetary systems on a global scale that leaves many wondering what will become of their finances in the near future. There is the anxiety of wars and rumors of wars throughout the world on a scale more fearful than ever before with the existence of nuclear weapons throughout a majority of the world’s powerful nations. There is even the anxiety of where the next earthquake will strike as we are undoubtedly witnessing the increase of earthquakes as Jesus forewarned would happen shortly before His return. Not only have there been increasing earthquakes but also an increase in other types of nature related calamities such as volcanoes, tsunamis, tornados, hurricanes, cyclones and many other unordinary weather occurrences and with a frequency that we have never witnessed before. Even the animal world seems to be in a state of despair with the increase of bees, birds and fish suddenly dying in great numbers throughout various regions of the world. Romans 8:19-22 says that all of creation eagerly awaits the revealing of the sons of God, (at the return of Christ), that the creation itself will be delivered from the bondage of corruption, (the curse of sin), and that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs, (vs. 22). I believe that the increases of natural disasters that we are witnessing are indeed these birth pangs spoken about in Romans 8:22 from the creation itself before the coming of the Lord.
The Bible warns us that as we inch closer and closer to the return of the Lord we will be subjected to a world that will wax more and more evil. Throughout the ages there has been a battle between good and evil that exists beyond the tangible world. Many walk through life unaware that they are in the midst of this unseen spiritual war. The apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:12 that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of this age, and against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” There are spiritual “hosts” of wickedness that are pulling strings behind the curtains of the world’s affairs. We have Biblical evidence of this in Daniel 10:13 when the holy angel that came to Daniel to deliver to him a divine message from God got held up by “the prince of the Kingdom of Persia” and Michael the arch angel had to come to his aid and help him fight so he could then escape and deliver his message. We see from this occurrence that the earthly Kingdom of Persia was under the influence of a demon. In 1 John 5:19 it goes even further to say that “the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one”.
The human race has been involved in this spiritual battle since sin entered into the world through Adam and Eve’s falling in to the temptation of Satan in the Garden. Since all of creation is subjected to this spiritual battle of good and evil what are we to do? First and foremost we should be sure that we have obtained the “cure” for this cursed disease that has fell upon creation. That “cure” is Jesus Christ. The Lord promised this “cure” immediately when the curse came into the world. In the Lord’s divine interrogation of Satan in Genesis 3:15 He said, “and I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” All the way from the beginning the Lord promised a “cure” for sin and that Satan would be defeated. That victory came at the Cross when Jesus, (who is the Seed of the woman spoken of in Genesis 3:15), bore the sins of the world and then defeated the consequence of sin, (which is death, see Romans 6:23), by rising from the grave three days later. So if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and made Him Lord of your life then you have obtained the “cure” for sin and you have taken part in the victory. While through Christ we have won the victory we wait patiently to obtain the reward that He will bring at His coming, (Revelation 22:12 & Isaiah 40:10). It is while we are in waiting for His coming, in a world that is a battlefield of good verses evil, that we are to follow what the apostle Paul admonishes us to do in Ephesians 6:11-17, and that is to – “put on the whole armor of God!”
God knows that we are on this battlefield and since God loves us so much He has supplied us with the armor and weapons we need to fight against this battle until He returns to finish the job at the end of the age. Before we examine the components of this armor I’d like to take a look at an example given to us in the Scriptures of someone that took full advantage of the armor of God centuries before Paul even wrote of its details in his epistle to the Ephesians. That somebody is David. When David was just a young boy he found great favor in King Saul, (the first king of Israel ), as he would comfort the king with his harp playing and also became his armor bearer. When war broke out between Israel and the Philistines David came to King Saul and volunteered to fight against the leader of the Philistine army, the giant Goliath. King Saul doubted David’s request acknowledging that he was just a young shepherd boy. David convinced Saul to allow him to fight Goliath by informing him that he had single-handedly killed both lions and bears while protecting his flock of sheep through the “Lord’s deliverance” – not his own! Then Saul took his battle armor and attempted to don David with it but when David put on the armor it was too big and heavy for the young boy to even walk with it on. So David took it off and went to fight Goliath with a different type of armor! Several movies about the life of David have illustrated the fight between David and Goliath as being in a desolate field with no one else around but in the true Bible story from 1 Samuel 17 it actually says that David killed Goliath in front of both the armies of Israel and the Philistines. When Goliath threatened to give the flesh of David to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field, David replied with, “you come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel , whom you have defied.” David equipped with just a slingshot and a stone defeated Goliath by sinking that stone into his forehead with one single God ordained shot. When the Philistine army saw this they turned and fled. It wasn’t that they feared the young boy David or even the Israeli army but they saw that David possessed something far greater. He was wearing the armor of God! Picture if you will both armies standing there on the battlefield dressed head to toe in protective metallic armor, even Goliath the giant was wearing armor, but scrawny young ruddy David the shepherd boy was the only one without any “physical” armor on and yet he was the most powerful among them all!
When we hear the word “armor” we immediately envision a medieval knight in shining metallic armor or perhaps a Roman gladiator covered in battle wear, but as we see from the story of young David and Goliath, the spiritual armor of God is more effective than any physical battle armor. Examining the story of young David and his zeal to fight Goliath without any physical armor we can’t help but acknowledge the fearlessness that he possessed. This is the most rewarding aspect of the whole armor of God. It makes us fearless! Fearlessness is a trait that we all should possess as we venture into the foreboding future.
The epistle to the Ephesians is one of the apostle Paul’s prison letters that he wrote while imprisoned in Rome . Paul spent much time around Roman guards. In fact he even had one assigned just to him, (Acts 28:16), so Paul knew the attire of the Roman guard very well. He used the components of the Roman guard’s uniform to analogically describe the armor of God. He describes the full armor as follows:
“Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;” (Ephesians 6:14-17)
Lets briefly examine how we can apply this armor to our lives. If we are girding our waist with truth we are living a life that is not false. When we walk in truth we walk according to the truth of God’s word – the solitary source of truth. Jesus said that the truth will set us free, so when we walk in truth we walk in freedom with nothing to hide or to be ashamed of. We obtain this freedom when we confess our sins to God and are open and truthful with Him freeing us from the bondage of our sins. This leads to the next component of the armor – the breastplate of righteousness. We can only obtain righteousness through Jesus Christ and not on our own and we obtain this righteousness when we come to Christ in repentance. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9). The righteousness of the armor of God is Christ living in us. Next is the covering of our feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid,” (John 14:27). Here is where the fearlessness of the armor comes in! Jesus provides a personal inner peace to every believer in Him that one can’t obtain from anything else in the world. It is a peace that the world does not provide. It is peace that is permanent and it is a peace that you will take with you when you leave this world. In fact your relationship with Christ is the only thing that you will take with you when you leave this world. If you are relying on the world to supply your needs then you won’t know this peace but if you rely on Christ for your needs then you carry this peace everywhere you go and in every situation that your feet may take you. Next on the armor is the shield of faith. Paul says that this armor piece is above all the others. Faith is indeed our greatest shield against the wiles of the devil. All throughout the Bible we see the results of God’s will being done by men of great faith.
Chapter 11 of the book of Hebrews details what men of great faith can do. Too many people in this world put their faith in everything else but God. How many people rely on their bank accounts, their educational skills, their careers, their own physical abilities, etc., without ever relying or having faith in God for any of their achievements? Not that any of those things are bad but faith in God should be above all of them, not the other way around. All of those things are perishable. God is eternal and always with us. Furthermore, strong faith can do miraculous things. There are several times throughout the gospels where someone would come to Jesus for healing and Jesus would say, “Your faith has healed you”. Healed them from what? Healed them from sickness that is the result of sin in the world. The ultimate result of sin is death but faith in Christ saves us from the sting of death and allows us to pass on into eternal life – therefore faith is the shield! The helmet of salvation is the next component of the armor. This is our confidence in which we walk. If you are saved then you should be sure of it. If you’re not sure then chances are you’re not saved. To be saved is to have a relationship with Christ. If you are a married person you don’t walk around saying “I’m not sure if I’m married or not”. You know it and you committed yourself to it. The same goes with our relationship with Jesus Christ. We are the bride and He is the bridegroom. To wear the helmet of salvation is to walk in confidence, (not pride), about who you are and where you are going. If you are saved then you are of Christ and you are going to be with Him. Lastly is the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. The Word is the sword. We combat evil and unrighteousness with the Word of God. Jesus said we are to love our enemies. There are Christians being severely persecuted throughout the world, especially in the Middle East . It is hard to love people that are out to kill you for your faith in Christ. So how do you love your enemies? With the Word of God! We witness our testimony to them of the love of Christ. This is what the apostle Paul did to his persecutors. Jesus himself used the Word of God against Satan’s temptations in the wilderness. Jesus combated Satan by quoting Scripture three times. Let the Word be your sword!
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
It is important to keep in mind that Paul says we must put on the “whole” armor of God. We must possess all of the pieces of the armor listed in Ephesians 6:14-17 in order for our Godly protection to be effective in our warfare against evil. “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil,” (Ephesians 6:11).
Paul himself is a prime example of the effectiveness of wearing this armor for Paul endured more tribulations and persecutions than probably any other patriarch in the Bible. In 2 Corinthians 11:24-27 he lists them – “From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fasting often, in cold and nakedness.”
Notice that these are all physical tribulations that Paul endured which he combated with the spiritual components of the armor of God. Had Paul not been wearing the armor of God he would never have been able to endure these things and continue to carry through with his ministry. The armor of God will get us through all of our troubles and tribulations also. Without it we are entering into life’s daily battles unarmed and when we are unarmed we are open game for the enemy!
As we live in a time where the future is so uncertain with the world tinkering on the edge of nuclear war and of global financial collapse, the secular world wants to provide solitude in material and temporary enjoyments. The only way you will be able to cope in a world that is heading towards inevitable turmoil is to put on the armor of God. I may sound pessimistic about the future but God’s timetable for prophetic fulfillment is right on schedule. All of the end time chess pieces are moving into position. Our present day world may seem like evil is winning but God is still and always will be on the throne and in control. We shouldn’t be surprised when we read the headlines and see catastrophes, corruption and wars. Jesus said it would be so but if we are wearing Jesus Christ, (Romans 13:14) then we are prepared.
In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
If you live a life of anxiety or fear then may I suggest turning to Christ. It isn’t just the right remedy it is the only one! All other remedies are temporary and want something in return. Christ just wants your heart. Christ is a giver not a taker and what He gives is life and in abundance. Spend some time meditating on Ephesians 6:14-17 and get acquainted with your battle armor. Christ doesn’t want you living in fear. Fear is of Satan. It is one of his most underhanded weapons but we have armor for it. We have Christ and we have His promises of overcoming the world and of eternal life. We know the end because He has revealed it to us and at the end of the day – we win! In fact we have already won the battle but we are just waiting for it all to play itself out. While we are waiting, be sure to be donning your armor. Satan’s time is running short and he knows it. In these last days he is pulling out all the stops to take as many with him as he can. We live in an era that is chock full of temptations, compromises, deception, lures, and distractions from God then any other generation before. That is why it is so important that we have on our protective armor – The Armor of God.
“The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.” (Romans 13:12)