The Armor of God

March 30, 2013

For a hippie to show up at boot camp is a rather traumatic experience. I was a peace and love kind of a guy suddenly thrust into a violent and loud place designed to prepare me for a loud and violent war. Had I had any clue what those weeks would have been like and the opportunity for death it offered me, I might have ran off to Canada.
I had been a WWII buff in my pre-teen years and watched every war movie I could. “Combat” and “Twelve O’clock High” were favorite TV shows. My favorite comic books were “Sgt. Rock and Easy Co.”, “Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos”, and “The Haunted Tank” (haunted by the ghost of J.E.B. Stuart and flying a rebel flag). I still have many of those comic books.
Hollywood and comic books made war more of a fairy tale. The blood and guts didn’t really sink in. I could not have imagined real war. My father-in-law and one of my maternal uncles were real war heroes and they spoke little of what they saw. I can still remember my uncle sitting there in a sweat while I watched “Combat” on his TV. I believe both my uncle and father-in-law suffered from shell shock/PTSD. Incredibly, they both worked hard and provided for their families. Maybe we should rethink our current treatments for those conditions, which seem to leave the men and women helpless and dependent on groups and therapists.
I was very fortunate. I did not make it to SEA (Southeast Asia) until six months after the Viet Nam war was declared over albeit they were still shooting at our troops leaving Nam a year after I left SEA.
I spent most of my active duty stateside. My only contact with the carnage was via my Honor Guard duty that allowed me to participate in the funerals of my fallen comrades in arms. After awhile, I could no longer take the grief I saw at the gravesite and asked to me moved from the color guard to the firing party that stood away from the family. Also, Dover was one of the processing points for bodies returning from Nam and I routinely made deliveries to the morgue and occasionally saw the bodies. That was ghastly enough and I cannot imagine the horrors of those on the battlefield watching their friends fall and wondering when it would be their turn.
War is indeed Hell and no one wants to think about it or be involved in it. However, Brothers and Sisters, we are in a war. We are not at peace. Sadly, many have fallen wounded and remain on the sidelines because their fellow soldiers are AWOL or on perpetual R&R and will not or cannot help.
Many will fall and condemn their Commander-In-Chief because they do not believe they are in a war. They think it is over and they should be running through flowered fields dancing with butterflies. They do not understand the cries of the wounded Christians and the dying lost. Yea, often they do not hear them at all. They are like mad men walking in the midst of the battle singing and gathering up shrapnel thinking they are gathering flowers for their dinner table.

Eph 5:14-16
14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (KJV)

How appropriate that Paul would write these words before he speaks of putting on the whole armor of God. Those who are “sleeping the sleep of the dead” will not hear nor understand the need for the armor. They are in the dark and they need the light of Christ to show them the truth and lead them from their fairy tale world into reality. Fools wandering around in a daze will only hurt themselves for they will treat the weapons of war as toys and will fall as though they were unarmed. The time for the partying of victory is after the war is over not while the days are yet evil!
I do not know that it is still there, but at one time the Queen Elizabeth was berthed in a California harbor. The ship not only served as a luxury liner, but as a troop transport in WWII. They had divided the ship in half. One side was decorated as it looked in peace and the other as it looked in war.
The peace side showed extreme luxury. Crystal chandeliers, fine china, gaudy table cloths, thick rugs, etc. The war side was stark and barren. Lights were functional, not pretty, the floors and tables bare and the utensils tin. What contrast! Brethren we are called to war!

2 Tim 2:3-4
3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. (KJV)

We are expected to kakopatheo (kak-op-ath-eh’-o); 25553 from the same as 2552; to undergo hardship: KJV– be afflicted, endure afflictions (hardness), suffer trouble. It is a part of war. We are line soldiers. Our place is on the field not at the Officer’s Club or the rear echelon. We are called to do battle. Jesus won the war and He will win our daily battles, but not as we sit on the beach or at ringside. We are to do battle together.

James 4:7
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (KJV)

5293 hupotasso (hoop-ot-as’-so); from 5259 and 5021; to subordinate; reflexively, to obey: KJV– be under obedience (obedient), put under, subdue unto, (be, make) subject (to, unto), be (put) in subjection (to, under), submit self unto.

I am to submit myself unto the Captain of the Host (Joshua 5:13-15). I am a man under authority (Luke 7:6-10) as a soldier is to his superiors. Which means I have orders to follow and a fight to fight.

436 anthistemi (anth-is’-tay-mee);from 473 and 2476; to stand against, i.e. oppose: KJV– resist, withstand.

While there have been times that God fought the battles of His people as they stood behind and worshiped (II Chronicles 20) He also tells us to resist. To stand against the Devil you must be in the right army (saved) and in the condition to serve which means no unconfessed sin and having the right weapons.

2 Cor 10:3-6
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. (KJV)

In a carnal army carnal weapons are used. In boot camp you learn to make your rifle an extension of your body. You eat and sleep with it. You learn how to break it down, reassemble and load it blindfolded. If your weapon fails because you failed to care for it or you did not use it properly you die. That is the cold, hard and dirty facts.
In a carnal war, your enemies want you dead or at the very least maimed and out of the battle. It has been said that it takes at least four people to carry you from the battlefield wounded and hence it is more beneficial to wound your enemy than to kill him. That may be true, but in the heat of the battle I doubt that any soldier has anything else on his mind than to kill so as not to be killed.
In this spiritual war, you have one advantage. Once you are in Christ, the enemy cannot kill you spiritually for you are already dead and your life is hid in Christ (Col. 3:1-7). He can kill you physically with God’s permission (Job 2:6) or if he can get you to participate in some activity that will bring about death (Matt 4:7) or causes you to commit a sin unto death (I John 5:16).
He can make you wounded and out of the battle. He can create doubt so that when you pray you cannot receive from God (James 1:5-8). He can get you working in the flesh so that you receive no rewards in Heaven (I Cor 3:11-15). He can cause you to fall so that you lose your ministry temporarily or for a lifetime (1 Cor 9:27, Heb 12:15-17). He can keep you wounded so that others are wrapped up in caring for you when you should be bearing your own burden and teaching others (Gal 6:1-5, Heb 5:11-14).
How can we resist the devil victoriously and avoid the wounds? We put on the whole armor of God and use it correctly!!!

Eph 6:10-20
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 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.
13 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.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. (KJV)

First, we need to know in whose power (dominion) and might (ability) we are working in the first place (vs. 10). It is not ours, but God’s!!! Without Him we can do nothing! (John 15:5). Without His Spirit the battle is not won and there is no liberty! (Zech 4:6, 2 Cor 3;17)
Next we need to sure we put on the whole armor (vs. 11). Achilles of mythology fell because of one small part his mother did not dip in the river. How many policemen have died because while they had their pistol and nightstick they did not wear their vest? The devil is lying in wait to see which part we forget to put on and he will attack us there.
In the heat of the spiritual battle we must remember who are our real enemies (vs. 12). Many times we attack people and reject people instead of attacking the spirit behind the actions of that person and rejecting the lies that come from that evil spirit that is deceiving that person. The person is just being used as a carnal weapon to throw us off our objective and divert us from our main target.
Let’s keep our sights on the main objective and ignore the diversionary tactics of the devil.
We are to withstand the evil day. (Vs. 13) Brethren, we are surely in that day or time. The word evil is where we get our word porno or pornography.

4190 poneros (pon-ay-ros’);from a derivative of 4192; hurtful, i.e. evil (properly, in effect or influence, and thus differing from 2556, which refers rather to essential character, as well as from 4550, which indicates degeneracy from original virtue); figuratively, calamitous; also (passively) ill, i.e. diseased; but especially (morally) culpable, i.e. derelict, vicious, facinorous; neuter (singular) mischief, malice, or (plural) guilt; masculine (singular) the devil, or (plural) sinners:

KJV– bad, evil, grievous, harm, lewd, malicious, wicked (-ness). See also 4191.

We are living in a day when moral lewdness prevails and we can see all the facets of meaning in this word in the traits of our people. The result of the moral degeneracy is a time when people are vicious, full of mischief, malice and calamity. We suffer from many illnesses and addictions that are falsely called illness. We are a derelict society full of spiritual and moral derelicts! People are drugging themselves because of depression caused by guilt!!!
What are we called to do? We are called to withstand and having done all else to stand. We withstand the evil by refusing to buy into the lies of this age and its activities. We withstand by calling the world to repentance and faith in Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. Yes, sins! You can call them something else and write it off as ancient mind manipulation espoused by blue nosed Victorian prudes, but God still calls them sins and either we let the Blood cover them or we will pay for them. That is withstanding! Staying in the old path that is narrow and calling to those in the broad path of destruction. We seek to thwart the advance of evil and push it back and recover ground for Christ at all costs. That is withstanding the evil day!
You say, Brother Ron, they do not listen to me. They laugh and mock Christ when I try to reprove their deeds in love and show them to the Cross. Would it not be better to say nothing? God forbid!!!!

Lev 5:1
1 And if a soul sin, and hear the voice of swearing, and is a witness, whether he hath seen or known of it; if he do not utter it, then he shall bear his iniquity. (KJV)

Prov 29:24
24 Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul: he heareth cursing, and bewrayeth it not. (KJV)

If we rebuke not the sins of this age then we are partners with them. By our silence they will think it is not important or we agree with them. Telling them will make then hate us or get saved, but we cannot offer them the comfort of our silence. (2 Cor 2:16) In spite of their curses and abuses we are to stand. An example might be the English royal guards that are not to move or show any expression regardless of the foolishness or the taunts of the tourists. They are to stand fixed and focused on their duty and endure the continued assaults. We too are to stand bruised, bloodied, and bullied as one focused on the mission given him by His King! Even when there is no advancement holding your ground is still a victory.
Loins gird about with truth (vs 14). A man’s robe would hang to his knees for normal daily wear. When he needed to run, do certain types of work and fight he would hike it up and stuff the excess in the belt to give him the needed mobility and keep it from getting caught on things. The belt also was a place to hang his sheath. In order to keep us mobile and prevent us from getting hung up on things we must be sure that we wear truth like a belt. Some belts also protected the man from a stomach wound, which was usually fatal.
It is also interesting that the belt covers the waist or bowels of a person. Throughout Scripture the bowels represent the residence of emotions (2 Cor 6:12, Phil 1:8, 2:1; Col. 3:12; Philemon 7,12,20; I John 3:17). We speak of having gut feelings. This is a great picture of what we striving for in SAFE (Stable And Free Eternally). We want our emotions controlled by truth and not truth interpreted by our emotions. We also want to avoid emotional reactions to our trials, temptations and other assaults.
A belt also provides support to our back to reduce strain and injury. As we grow in the full knowledge of the truth (epignosis) we will strengthen our spiritual backbones and be able to endure any load we must bear.
The breastplate (vs. 14) also defends against a fatal wound to the heart. Earlier I spoke of policemen who died because they neglected to wear their vest or breastplate. Not all blows to the chest would be fatal. A hit to the solar plexus would knock the wind out a person and even bring them to their knees. This leaves them temporarily unable to defend themselves and to save their lives might lead them to surrender.
Again, the devil cannot kill us spiritually because we are in Christ, but unless we put on Christ’s righteousness and reckon ourselves already dead (Rom 6) he can disheartened us to where we become unable to serve because we are dwelling on our righteousness. The devil can accuse us 24/7 if we trust in our own righteousness and he will always find weaknesses in the armor of flesh. He can deal a deathblow to our ministry and testimony if we put on the breastplate of self-righteousness. By putting on Christ’s breastplate of righteousness we become invulnerable to the devil’s attacks to our heart area. If we rely on our righteousness even slightly we will open up a hole for him to hit us in our spiritual solar plexus bringing us to our knees and tempting us to surrender. Let us put on the right breastplate, but if we falter let us hit our knees praying to recover not surrender.
I was issued combat boots. They were very durable and gave me good footing on various terrains as well as protecting my shins and strengthening my ankles. I had to be sure that I had a proper fit if I was to be prepared for long marches. I had to tie them properly to keep from tripping over my own shoestrings.
We must also be properly shod (Vs. 15). We must keep our focus and not get tangled up in vain babblings (2 Tim 2:16) and vain jangling (1 Tim 1:6) that are designed to trip us and make us fall or slow us down while we mess with loose strings or tangled knots. We must know what the Gospel of Peace is (1 Cor 15:1-11), how it should be preached and what is the bottom line (1 Cor 2:1,2). Only then will we advance over the rugged battlefield and reclaim the ground gained by the devil for the Kingdom of God and reach fallen soldiers and enlist those brought out of captivity to join us in spreading the message.
Riot police often carry shields when they do crowd management. This helps them fend off thrown bottles and rocks and block blows from baseball bats and tire irons. Our enemy throws fiery darts or Molotov cocktails (Vs. 16). These are his lies from Hell that can burn our subconscious or cripple our walk as we listen to them. Each time he slings a lie at us we must block it with our shield of faith and then take and slice him to bits with the sword of the Spirit (Vs. 17), which is the word of God. It is not enough to block the lie. We must retaliate with truth. As long as he thinks we do not know the truth that sets us free he will continue to attack until the arm that holds the shield weakens. When the shield finally falls, we are had and he has won. By answering each lie with the Word which cuts him and exposes him as the liar that he is our arm holding the shield gets stronger because we have exercised our faith and have seen the damage done to the enemy.
However, note where the sword is sheathed. It is on that belt of truth that we put on earlier. Unless our sword is grounded or sheathed in the truth it is useless against the enemy. Many try and take the sword and make it say what they want it to say or try and mold man’s blade onto it. When they do that the devil laughs for that is just his tactic. He quoted Scripture out of context when he tempted Christ (Matt 4). The truth in context sharpens the two-edged sword and brings it into a position of perfect balance and able to divide asunder the soul and spirit (Heb 4:12). Do your homework and hone your blade on the bedrock of truth and you will do great damage to the kingdom of darkness.
I wanted to show the left jab and the right uppercut power of the effective use of the shield and the sword so I skipped a piece of the armor. Let’s go back to the first half of verse 17 and pick up the helmet of salvation. No soldier goes into battle without headgear. This is another part of the body where a blow could kill or maim.
Various cultures use different parts of their bodies to represent ideas. We have already spoke of the bowels being considered the root of emotions in the Bible. There is an African tribe that expresses their affection by saying, “I love you with all my liver.” We say the heart and it is often represented by the symbol for our blood pump. In Scripture the heart would really be the thoughts or feelings of the mind. The word in the Greek is kardia where we get the word cardiac and we may get the blood pump concept because it means middle by analogy and we view the blood pump as the center of the body. However, the ancients may have meant that since out of the mind comes the issues of life (Prov 4:23) it is the middle or center of the person. This is collaborated by Hebrews 4:12 since the mind is the place of thoughts and intents and not the blood pump.
The main thrust of the spiritual war that we are engaged in is for the heart/mind of the person. The word repent means a change of mind. Therefore unless the heart/mind perceives the truth of its condition and its need for a change there can be no salvation. Proof of this is in II Corinthians 4:3,4. It is their minds that are blinded and therefore cannot change or repent and they cannot be saved. This is the heart of the New Covenant.

Ezek 36:26-27
26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. (KJV)

We must put on the helmet of salvation to protect our biblical heart, our mind. The main benefit of this helmet is that it is the assurance of our salvation. One of the most common fiery darts of the devil is the doubt of salvation. Henry A. Ironside said, “Acceptable service springs from the knowledge that the question of salvation is forever settled.” If the devil can beat you about the head and shoulders with doubts about your salvation you will be at least too punch drunk to serve well if not knocked out completely!
How do you lead someone to Christ if you are not sure you are saved? How do you comfort another saint when you are not comforted? How do you assure a returning backslider that he is forgiven and welcomed like the prodigal son when you have no assurance of your own forgiveness?
Put on the helmet. Scripture is replete with verses that are meant to give you that assurance. Put up your shield! Slice the lie with the Sword! It is either salvation or probation. It cannot be both and He has said “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Rom 10:13) We are sealed until the day of redemption (Eph 1:13,14). Brothers and Sisters, it doesn’t get no gooder or more assured than that!! Rejoice and put that helmet on straight!!
Now we come to a final weapon that strikes fear in the heart of the enemy (Vs. 18-20). Prayer is like our battle cry. During the War of Northern Aggression, the Confederate soldiers would give what was later called the Rebel Yell. Yankee soldiers said it was the blood curdling and unnerving. They could not even give a good description of it so unique was its sound.
I was not there, but I think I have an idea what may have caused that sound. There are a large number of men fixin’ to go against the enemy. Each man has varied emotions about that action. Some are angry. Some hate their enemy. Some are scared. Many are calling out to God. All are wondering if this is their last charge and who will take care of their parents or children. All of these emotions are being released in this yell and the cacophony is loud and it is possible that the emotion is being felt by the Yanks who are also feeling the same penned up emotions and it sends chills through them.
Christians about to do battle feel many of the same emotions as a carnal soldier. When the enemy rears his ugly head he may have had the advantage of surprise or his roar seems deafening and you shake in fear. You may have righteous indignation or flat out anger because the evil one has touched someone you love and you want to revenge first blood. You should hate sin and the devil, but remember to love the sinner as one taken prisoner and needs to be set free not decapitated. The battle mounting may seem so fierce that you wonder if this is the one to take you home and you wonder about the ones you will leave behind.
No matter what you are feeling your first defense is a good offense and that first strike should be prayer. It will be a surprise attack for the devil does not expect you to pray. His experience is that Christians either flee or surrender at his first roar. Those few who stand and fight are unsure of their weapons or strive in their own strength and his victory is quick. The warrior who cries out to God is rare and is a real threat to the devil. Hell shakes in fear when even the weakest saint prays for he is latching on to supernatural power even the power of the blood which has destroyed the King of Darkness and is destroying his kingdom.

Isa 12:6 Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee. (KJV)

Josh 6:5 And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him. (KJV)

Ps 132:9 Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy saints shout for joy. (KJV)

1Thes 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (KJV)

Brethren, let us cry out and shout for the Lord is in our midst! He will tear down the walls that prevent our progress or imprison us! Let the devil know that it is a joy to be in Christ’s camp and that the victory is ours for one day the Lord Himself will lead the final charge and His kingdom will be established!!!
Ah, but do not let us be slack! Let us through the Spirit persevere in prayer of worship and our supplications or requests for ourselves and all the saints!! Let us not be half hearted or selfish!! We are not the only ones fighting in His army. We need to pray for other components and soldiers (Vs. 19,20). Paul desired prayer for himself that he might also continue to fight the good fight. We often think to pray for the weak, but what of the strong? How many valiant soldiers have fallen by the wayside because we neglected to pray for them and continued victory? Moses was a mighty man of God, but even he needed Aaron and Hur to hold up his arms while he besought God for victory (Exodus 17:9-16).
Pray for boldness for yourself and others! Lift up the arms of men of God until the battle is won! Brethren, let us put on the whole armor of God and go forth into the fray for victory is ours and we shall sing the songs of Zion for joy!!

1 Sam 17:47 And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hands. (KJV)


2 Responses to “The Armor of God”

  1. iamdee Says:

    What a powerful, Spirit-led and meaty word for the Body of Christ. It has spoken to me right where I’m at right now. I pray that it gets wide exposure and that it penetrates to the division between bone and marrow and judges the thoughts and intentions of hearts.

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