Posts Tagged armor of God

Armored Prayer

Ephesians 6: 18

With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.

This week and last we looked at the armor of God as listed in Ephesians 6: 10 – 17. I thought you might be curious to know that upon concluding his list of the armor the very next words Paul wrote were encouragement for us to pray at all times. Could it be that the two thoughts are connected? I believe they are.

First, we are instructed to put on the armor of God, but having donned the armor Paul teaches us to enter into prayer as if the two are related. If you are in spiritual warfare, prayer is probably well advised. Paul says to pray at all times IN the Spirit. What does that mean to you? There would seem to be an insinuation that we connect with the Holy Spirit in this prayer. This prescribed prayer is not a barrage of words from our minds leveled at the gates of heaven. No, there is something entirely different going on here. Remember that Paul’s letter was advice as to how to stand firm against the schemes of the devil (Ephesians 6: 11). Paul is continuing to teach how to overcome the devil’s attacks. So, when the devil attempts to bring trouble into our lives, we are advised to first put on the armor of God and then secondly, to open up the prayer chest and begin to pour out Holy Spirit inspired prayers.

When we pray with the Spirit, he gives direction to our prayers. This becomes much more than only praying our thoughts. We connect with God, since the Holy Spirit is part of the triune God head. Hence we pray to God through God. As we allow the Spirit to guide our prayers, we pray exactly what God knows we need to pray. The Spirit gives voice to our prayers so that we pray as we should. Isn’t that exciting?

Paul doesn’t even stop there, though. “While you are praying,” he says, “be on the alert.” Isn’t that what Peter wrote in 1 Peter 5: 8, “Keep your mind clear, and be alert. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion as he looks for someone to devour” (NOG). Paul doesn’t end this thought there though. He goes on to entreat us to pray with perseverance for all the saints. You see, the person whom the devil finds who can be devoured probably isn’t you because you have on your armor and are standing firm. Therefore, prayers should be made for all the saints. Satan is on the hunt for some unsuspecting, vulnerable person who he can take advantage of. We have the power and the authority to pray for all those who may be vulnerable to attack.

This is so typical of how God sees the world. First, He meets our needs. Then, with our new found truth and growth, He employs us to help others. As those people learn and mature in spiritual matters, they reach yet more people. When we all do our little part, the multiplication process can, quite literally, reach around the globe. So, it begins with our realizing truth in our own battles against the powers and principalities of this world. As we increasingly attire ourselves in Jesus’ victory, we stand firm in his word praying for others. That is the paradigm, get free and then help someone else to get free. The Holy Spirit is here to guide our steps and our prayers. Let’s put on our armor and get down to business.

Belted

Ephesians 6: 14

Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth.

The first piece of armor God has given us is truth. It is worn like a belt, around your middle. It circumnavigates your whole body and connects the lower and the upper half. Truth is the beginning point. Without tying yourself to the truth, all else will be meaningless. In order to stand firm, the first thing we need is THE truth, and dedication to the truth.

Jesus told us that he is the truth (John 14: 6) and the beginning and the end (Revelation 21: 6). He is continuity. Like a belt or sash wrapped around you, the beginning and the end, come together. They complete one another. There is no loose end because the end is connected to the beginning. The truth is the ongoing support of all else. Jesus was in the beginning with God. Truth, therefore, is the beginning point but it is the ending point as well and everything that is or ever will be must, necessarily, be contained within this circle of beginning and ending and back to the beginning again. Wherever Jesus is, there is truth and we are wrapped with it.

In the case of armor, the belt or sash secures clothing and armament. It is the piece from which many other items of clothing and weaponry depend. Knives and swords are suspended from the belt. In life, it is truth which sets us free. Really, it is knowing the truth, the real truth, not our imagined or perceived truths which is freeing. So, freedom is secured by truth. In an interesting contrast, the more wrapped up we are in the truth, the more free we are. Other garments may be worn loosely but the belt is meant to be snugged securely about us.

When we begin with truth, not only have we begun with Jesus but we actually form the basis by which the rest of our armor, and hence our lives, will depend. The belt of truth is prime importance. There is no possibility in making truth too high a priority. When you hear the word truth, there should be at least two resonant ideas. First is that Jesus is the truth. That should be loud in your mind and spirit. Second, there is the ordinary use of the word truth, as in not false nor even misleading. We should endeavor to live in and speak truth as absolutely as we may. Lying on taxes is not acceptable because it is untruth. Misleading business associates is not living in truth. Do you know that if we are to live in the fullness of victory Jesus has prepared for us, and our battle array to shine and be effective, we cannot even lie to our kids, even when it is uncomfortable? We are going to have to learn new ways to respond to people such that we do not compromise our firm stance. You cannot usher in truth, which is overcoming power and freedom, and at the same time utter untruths. There is a decision to be made here and this is the point of beginning. Will you gird yourself, first and foremost, with truth?

The reality, as we begin this study, is that untruth leaves you exposed. None of us desires to begin with our pants down. So pull up your pants. Cinch your belt of truth and prepare yourself for victory.

Dressed for Battle

Ephesians 6: 11

Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.

Perhaps you have heard many teachings on the armor of God. Well, today I wish for you to think of it a bit differently. First, let’s look at the five pieces of armor. There is first truth, then righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, and salvation (v. 14 – 17). After donning this raiment of protection you then take up the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. Having put on all of these shielding characteristics you are able to stand against the schemes of the devil and defend yourself from his fiery missiles. 

When you pull this scripture apart in this manner you may find something curious. Each of these characteristics is reminiscent of a particular person. Look again. Who are you reminded of when you hear truth, righteousness, gospel of peace, faith, salvation and the Word of God? Well, of course, each one of these is Jesus. He is the truth, our righteousness and so on. So the revelation this scripture should lead us to is that we need to put on Jesus. The essence, then, of triumphing in spiritual warfare is to put on Jesus. 

So, how do we don Jesus? Paul had the right of it. He told us that we must put off the old self with all of its encumbrances and put on this new self in Christ which is in the very likeness of God, which Paul tells us, is accomplished by renewing ourselves in the spirit of our mind (Ephesians 4: 22 – 24). This is very much like the teaching he gave to the Romans, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12: 2). 

We put on Jesus which is the equivalent of putting on the protective armor of God and then we are able to stand “strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might” (Ephesians 6: 10). We are to abide in him and him abide in us (John 15: 4). Picture yourself taking on all that Jesus is. Imagine him stepping into your body even as you integrate yourself into him. See yourself so enmeshed, so intertwined that it is difficult to tell where you end and he begins and vice versa. Now, how would that impact your life? Might your priorities shift a little? Would your thoughts and meditations be different? This isn’t about behavior modification it is about letting Jesus live with you, letting him be a part of every part of your day? It’s not about imagining what Jesus would do or have us do and try to live that but rather to live him; to put him on and just be. This is the armor of God, living in Jesus, living with Jesus; making him a part of us and everything we do. He is our breath and our life. He is our victory.