Armor of God

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Armor of God
 
Devotion In motion
Early week Inspiration
10/5/21
Ephesians 6:10-20
  , “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” 
 

One bright, beautiful Sunday morning, everyone in tiny Jonestown wakes up early and goes to their local church. Before the service starts, the townspeople sit in their pews and talk about their lives and their families.

Suddenly, at the altar, Satan appears!! Everyone starts screaming and running for the front entrance, trampling each other in their determined efforts to get away from Evil Incarnate. Soon, everyone is evacuated from the church except for one man, who sits calmly in his pew, seemingly oblivious to the fact that God’s ultimate enemy is in his presence. This confuses Satan a bit. Satan walks up to the man and says, “Hey, don’t you know who I am?” The man says, “Yep, sure do.”Satan says, “Well, aren’t you afraid of me?” The man says, “Nope, sure ain’t. Satan, perturbed, says, “And why aren’t you afraid of me?” The man says, “Well, I’ve been married to your sister for 25 years.”

 
Whenever it comes to dealing with the devil, human beings are prone to two mistakes… On the one hand, we underestimate him. Satan loves for us to think of him as a little imp in red leotards, horns, tail, and pitchfork. Perhaps the devil’s greatest feat is in making so many people think he doesn’t exist. Don’t take him seriously, and you’ll fall into his traps. But on the other hand, don’t overestimate him. Satan is not God’s equal.
 
 He’s infinitely inferior. He is a created being gone sour – an angel booted out of the choir because of a runaway ego. Yes, he has power, but God is greater! 1 John 4:4 tells us, “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” Remember Satan is a defeated foe. The only time the devil can hassle a Christian is when we let him. Today, Satan wields his power only because he’s tolerated. He’s ripping Christians off and stealing their blessings – but he does it with a bluff and a pop gun.  We need to rise up as James 4:7 tells us, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” 
 
On your own, you’re no match for the evil One, but Paul says, “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” Let’s be strong! For no one knows Satan’s limitations better than he does. That’s why seldom does he attack us head-on. If he does, he’ll run you straight to Jesus, and it’ll be curtains for him. So, Satan prefers a bag of tricks. Paul calls them “the wiles of the devil” – doubt, fear, jealousy, condemnation, discouragement, dissension. Satan will do all he can to distract you from who you are and what you have in Christ. The devil wants to undermine our faith, and rob us of our blessings. 
 
 Thus, Paul tells us, verse 12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Never forget it’s a spiritual battle! We don’t fight modern wars with swords and spears, and we don’t fight spiritual battles with fleshy techniques. This is why we need spiritual weaponry! And God gives us armor, “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” “Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth…” Understand, while Paul wrote this letter to the Ephesians he was chained to a Roman soldier.
 
 So, he had plenty of time  to inspect their armor. In fact, Paul uses the gear issued by the Roman Legion as analogous to our spiritual armor… And the first item he mentions is the belt of truth. The ancients believed the loins, or abdominal area, was the seat of the emotions. Even today we talk about “gut feelings.” And Satan tinkers with our emotions. If he can cause us to walk by feeling rather than faith, he can sink you. so, Paul says strap on the belt of truth. Just because you wake up one day and don’t feel like a Christian doesn’t mean you’re not one. We need to bind our feelings in the truth of Scripture. Rest on His immutable Word, not our fickle, fleeting feelings. Don’t let your devotion be determined by emotion. 
 
 And then, “put on the breastplate of righteousness…” The ancients viewed the heart as the seat of the desires. And for Paul, the heart needed to be protected. We need to nurture and cultivate godly desires. Conversely, Satan is quick to inflame old desires. Be on guard. Remember you’re not the same person you used to be – your deepest desires have changed. Verse 15, “and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace…” The Roman soldier wore a unique type of sandal. Their soles had stubs so the soldier wouldn’t slip on the rocky terrain. At times, we can get blindsided and knocked off balance. Someone attacks our faith with questions we can’t answer.  We become confused and are tempted to doubt. In such times, we need to rest in God’s peace. When there is confusion in your head, recall the peace in your heart. 
 
No one can deny the presence of God that you sense and the miracle Christ has done in you. Let God’s peace steady your faith, until you have the opportunity to seek out the answers to your questions. And verse 16, “above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” The Roman shield was big enough to protect a soldier from a shower of flaming arrows. He crawled under the shield and waited out the attack. Realize, instead of single thrusts, Satan often lobs volleys of evil all at once. In those moments, we need to hold up our faith and trust the Lord no matter what. Rest in your faith until the attack has passed. It’s interesting, the Roman shields were gang-able. 
 
They interlocked so a group of soldiers could join shields and create a blanket of protection. Likewise, our faith gets stronger when believers combine faith. “And take the helmet of salvation…” This fallen world spews negativity and cynicism that sours our outlook. This is why we need mind protection – a helmet! Safeguard your thoughts with God’s good news. A football player would never go into a game without a helmet, and we need to guard our perspective. Paul tells us in Colossians 3:2, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” Wear a helmet!  Before we leave our armor – notice the one part of the body not covered? It’s the back. There’s nothing for our back – and why? God never wants us to retreat. Stand against the devil – don’t run from him. The French Foreign Legion has a tremendous motto, “If I falter, push me on; if I stumble, pick me up; if I retreat, shoot me.” God has no armor for our backs! 
 
 And we’re given two offensive weapons in the next two verses. First is “The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” The Bible is sharp and powerful. And it’s “the sword of the Spirit.” Under the Spirit’s influence, the Scriptures slice to the heart of the matter. They shred the lies of Satan and dissect our motives. In 2 Samuel 23:10, one of David’s mighty men, Eleazar, fought the Philistines “until his hand was weary, and his hand stuck to the sword.” His hand froze to the sword’s handle. He couldn’t put it down. And this should be our attitude toward God’s Word. Then verse 18, “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints…” 
 
Prayer is the heavy artillery. From behind enemy lines, you can bomb the enemy’s stronghold. You can blast away excuses and breakdown a person’s defenses before you ever move in to share the Gospel. Paul encourages the Ephesians to pray, and while they’re at  it, he asks them to pray, “for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” 
 
Remember, Paul is writing in a rat-infested prison, but he’s not whining… He sees his circumstances as an opportunity. If God has him in prison, it’s to share his faith. He asks them to pray not for bail money, but for boldness to witness!    Amen.Victor Tafoya
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