Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 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 firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. Ephesians 6:10-20
When we hear the words, “Armor of God” it immediately evokes a particular imagery: a Bronze-Age Soldier donned in the battle gear contemporary to Paul’s day. To the early Church and even up through the mid-19th Century this imagery was applicable and effectual. Unfortunately, with the advances in modern warfare, this particular representation has become increasingly divorced from the Church’s present-day perceptions. This is often evidenced by the casual and irreverent dialogue of many Christians regarding the “Armor of God” and its employment.
The powerful truths individually represented by our given Armor are vital to each generation’s success as Warriors of God. Therefore, it is beneficial that we view the Armor of God not simply as an unaffectable depiction of a Roman Centurion or Medieval Knight, but rather as we would view and recognize the esteemed warriors of our nation today. This is subjective, I know, but if we are unable to contemporarily personalize the attributes of a warrior, which we are called by God to stand as, then we will completely disassociate from it. And, ignoring any of God’s protection (or underestimating it) leaves us exposed to the unrelenting onslaught of the Enemy. Our Mission is to war alongside Christ Jesus to save souls, redeeming what has been corrupted, and in order to do so successfully, we absolutely must know the weight of the Whole Armor of God upon our shoulders and in our hands.
The conferment of Truth, Righteousness, the Gospel of Peace, Faith, Salvation, and the Spirit of God through the perfect blood of Christ Jesus are of such radical, immeasurable, and majestic consequence that we can scarcely comprehend it; but it is our duty to do so. These six pieces of armor ought to evoke in us an undone humility juxtaposed with a love-captivated compulsion to serve steadfastly in our great Benefactor’s ranks. Therefore, let us reinvigorate our understanding of the Armor of God so that we will make much of the Captain of our Salvation. The extreme fights to which we are called mandate that we, the Warrior Class, renew our perspective as “high-speed, low-drag” Operators in the Lord’s Army. It mandates that we rightly appropriate our Kit in Christ, in unswerving fortitude, joy, and peace.
The correlation of our Temporal Reality to the Kingdom Reality is profound and far- reaching. The modalities of a Warrior and his accompanying characteristics are all encompassing; therefore, we are instructed to pray “your Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven”. Our Kit serves a reciprocal role to both defend us and outfit us to offend. This is true for soldiers on the modern battlefield as it is for the Redeemed of the Lord. All protection provided is not designed to support a static “holding” position, but to aid our advance on the offense. The Kit’s purpose is to ensure we can withstand the rigor and dangers of the battlefield as we press on toward our objective. No modern warrior has ever put on his Kit to go and simply stand in enemy-held territory, catching bullets in his chest!
On the contrary, when the Kit is donned, the modern warfighter is imbued with confidence and courage to confront and violently overwhelm whatever enemy forces arise. This same confidence is what the Armor of God is to produce in the hearts and minds of His Warriors to whom it has been issued! In addition, as we look to our right and left and see a multitude of equally equipped Warriors, stoic and strong, we can be filled with a certainty that come what may, together we will win the day!
It is your Kit that allows you to offensively take (or retake) enemy strongholds. It is your Kit that gives you the confidence to be first in the Stack (dynamic building breech and entry) as you kick down a door. Your Kit carries all the tools needed to destroy your enemy and tend to those wounded during the harshness of the battle. It carries your radio for constant communications with your Commanding Officer and your Night Vision for engaging the enemy even in the darkest hours.
Your armor has attachments for carrying nourishment and refreshment constantly needed in the midst of arduous fighting. It holds your map so you can correctly navigate the rubble-filled, chaotic streets and press on toward your objective. Your battle-belt and plate carrier hold all your ammunition to continually assault and overcome enemy forces with superior and accurate firepower. Your boots keep you from twisting an ankle and allow you to advance against a troop and tread upon the heights. Your helmet covers you with an assurance of protection so you can charge headlong into the chaos. And your weapon only serves one purpose (just as a double-edged sword): to “reach out and touch somebody” --inflicting great harm to their hostile efforts and plans.
This is the nature of combat body armor; it defends in order that you can offend! Do we see the Kingdom Realities contained within these truths? The Armor of God is so much more than what many have ever been led to understand; it is so much more than merely protection from the attacks of the Powers of Darkness. It is the very essence of the Christian Life and the tenacity of the Gospel of Christ Jesus which we carry inside us!
Each of the pieces of Armor is a distinctive Gospel doctrine. Each point to the very Object of your faith, Christ Jesus. He alone is your identity, power, authority, and covering unto any and every need or circumstance in this life. It is out of this unshakable identity, this knowing of who we are in the Lord, that we walk out His will and Mission for our lives. Salvation, Righteousness, the Power of the Spirit, Truth, Faith, and the Good News are all entrusted to us when we place our hope in Jesus, because they first belonged to Him!
Christ is in the Father, we are in Christ, and Christ is in us! Therefore, these Weapons of Warfare and Armor of God entrusted to us are predestined to do something! They are not meant to be worn at a historical reenactment ‘play’, an inane procession of pomp and pageantry, or because you want to look “Tacti-cool” (tactical and cool) in front of your peers. True Kit, the Kit of a Warrior, does not sit in a glass display case depicting a long-forgotten event somewhere in history. No, it is donned, embodied, and employed daily (physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually) whenever a person with a Warrior Spirit steps outside the wire to “close with and destroy the enemy by overwhelming fire and maneuver”! If you are not regularly hunting down the “Supply Chief”, Jehovah-Jireh (The Lord our Provider), to acquire new gear because yours is so haggard and worn from continual combat, then you most assuredly do not understand the nature and fierceness of the conflict you are in!
What Warriors, what sane people, would walk through the streets of Fallujah in flip-flops and tighty-whities (underwear), waving around an iPhone, frantically thumbing through their 1-Minute Inspirational Daily Devotional trying to be reminded of how special they are? How long will they stand before becoming a casualty? How many of their brothers and sisters will they be able to sacrificially and lovingly defend? How many people who remain under vile, demonic Insurgent oppression will they be able to liberate? To what victorious commendation will they be able to advance?
Unfortunately, this is the state of too many in our contemporary Church! We must humble ourselves and enter into major repentance! We must submit to revolutionary transformation through Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit as we stand up in our calling and election as Soldiers of Christ. We have been conditioned, via highly effective deceptive doctrines of passivity, to believe that there is no war to engage in, and even if there is, there is no personal role for us. The Armor of God has been reduced to a “christianese” sound-bite. It is used when you feel offended by a co-worker, your 298th channel won’t come in clearly on your TV, or when the Little League Coach won’t start your kid on Saturday morning. “Well, I’m just gonna have to put on the whole armor to get through this….” Oh, where are the C.H. Spurgeons of our generation! Where are the men and women with the zeal of Joshua, Caleb, Jehoshaphat, Ester, Ruth, Deborah, Peter, and Paul!
Every choice of truth is an act of war. Every act of love is a round fired down range. Every stance taken against tyranny and deception is a stronghold demolished. Each word uttered in worship is an artillery round impacting. Every weakness that is ministered to with compassion is an offensive operation against the Enemy. Every sin and hindrance thrown off is a door dynamically breeched. Every exposure of perversion is the precision kill shot of a Heavenly sniper. And any unmasking and subsequent restoration of incomplete or false teachings is a tactical nuke detonated against the schemes of the Adversary. This is what we ought to be teaching our children during our nightly devotions! And this is what we ought to be calling to remembrance in one another daily!
The Gospel takes on layers and layers of weight when placed in its full context in the Cosmic Story from Genesis to Revelation. When we comprehend this reality, an insatiable taste for the sweetness of the Peace that we have through Christ Jesus swells to overflowing! In understanding, the Redeemed of the Lord would long for their Heavenly Dwelling and worship in eager anticipation for the Redemption of all creation. We know that those who reject the Prince of Peace will never find rest from the ravages of war, but that those who are in Christ Jesus are called allies, victors, friends, and sons of the Most High. Our ‘light and momentary afflictions’ lose their power as the truth of eternal rest, security, goodness, and peace encourage us to persevere and not shrink back from the fight! For the peace and the joy set before us we Kit-Up.... IT IS TIME to take hold of all these things for which Christ has taken hold of us!
Warrior Class of the Most High, rightly appropriate the Armor of God, and the overwhelming victory of Christ in us, and start kicking doors for the Kingdom in your hearts, homes, and the hurting, hostile world around us!
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