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The Armor of God

The sun was dawning on the streets of Los Angeles when police officer Bob Vernon saw a red pickup truck speed through a stop sign. This guy must be late to work, he thought to himself. So, he turned on his emergency lights and radioed that he was in pursuit. What Bob didn’t know is that, just moments before, that driver robbed a nearby convenience store at gunpoint. Well, the criminal assumed that the officer knew of the robbery. So, when officer Bob came to the window of his pickup, the driver immediately shot him in the chest from just inches away, knocking Bob flat on his back. The gunman was about to speed away when a bullet from the officer’s revolver flew by his head, shattering his windshield, immediately followed by another shot through the driver’s door, ripping through his leg. The thief had no choice but to surrender. “Don’t shoot!” he screamed, throwing the gun and the sack of money out the window. Officer Bob Vernon was saved that day by the dozens of layers of Kevlar armor in his bulletproof vest.

Likewise today, WE are in a battle. The artillery of our enemy is aimed to destroy each and every one of us. Officer Bob would surely have died without protection, and neither will we survive, unprotected. The apostle Peter put it this way; “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8). We can not be the master of our own destiny. We will surely fail, if we live life OUR way and on our own terms. The enemy we face has been in battle for thousands of years and has millions of warriors at his command. If we do nothing, we will surely die! But, unlike Bob, Kevlar will NOT save us. It is simply NOT enough!

Let's open our Bible now to the book of Ephesians, chapter 6. We will start with verse 10. The good news is that we are not in this battle alone. With Jesus as our general and Lord, there is armor that we CAN put on that WILL save us from our enemy… In Eph 6, the apostle Paul, under the inspiration of Jesus(Acts22:13-15) entreats us to “put on the whole armor of God…”

Ephesians 6:10-18 ... Be strong in the Lord(Jesus 1Cor8:6) and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

Put on the belt of truth (vs.14)

Satan is the father of lies. He is a master at mixing just enough error with truth that it makes us unsure what the real truth is. He is also an expert at teaching us to do the same. When we get into difficult situations it is so easy to tell just a little lie – to only mislead slightly. Sometimes we only tell half the truth and withhold information that would have cast a whole different light on the situation. We do it to try to keep ourselves out of trouble. And, sometimes we may even do it to cause pain to others. Then, we tell another lie to cover the first, and then another, and another… and so it goes… But, "even the statement of facts in such a manner as to mislead, is falsehood. What we need to understand is that when we are not fully honest, we are working on the side of the enemy. 

On the other hand, there is something healing about accepting the truth about who we are and in speaking the truth. It has often been said that we are only as sick as our secrets. I think there is a lot of truth to that. There really is healing in confession.

So, what is truth? And, where do we find truth? In Jesus' prayer, in John 17:17, He asks His Father to=>“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” And what is the word of God? In John 1:1-3, we see that Jesus is the Word and in 1Peter 1:10-11, we see that all the prophets were inspired by the Spirit of Jesus. That makes the Holy Bible, the word of God. and, who is truth? In John 14:6, Jesus said,I am the way, the truth, and the life: no one comes to the Father, except by me.” The only way we can know what truth is… is to study the Holy word of God, praying always that the Spirit of Christ will give us understanding of what we read. Without the protection of His Holy angels, Satan will deceive us into believing his lies, even while we read the Bible! That’s why the apostle Paul gave this instruction to Timothy (in 2Tim 2:15)=> “Give diligence to present yourself approved by God, a workman who doesn't need to be ashamed, properly handling the Word of Truth.

Friends, we don’t stand a chance against the subtle lies of the enemy IF we are not in the Word of God often! I can’t over-stress this. DO NOT trust what I, or anyone else, says about God! The truth is in the Bible! Check it out for yourself! I once belonged to a church where a lot of the members worshiped the pastor more than they worshiped God. What I mean by that is that they absolutely trusted what the pastor said. When I tried to show them something different from the Bible, all they could say was, “what does the pastor say about that?”. Friends, only God is worthy to be praised. Only God and His "only begotten Son" are worthy of worship! We can only find the truth from God's inspired writers.

The body armor (like Bob's bulletproof vest) of God’s righteousness (vs.14)

This is God’s appointed protection for our spiritual life. When 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).  And, Paul says he wants to be found in Christ, not having his “ own righteousness, which is of the law, but [the righteousness] which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:(Philippians 3:9) No one has sunk so low that he cannot come to Jesus! Even though all our righteousness is like filthy rags(Isaiah64:6), He declares us to be righteous when we humbly come, confessing our sins. 

Then, He makes ample provision for us to live in righteousness. As we submit ourselves to Christ and strive to overcome our natural and cultivated tendencies to sin, The Holy Angels of God are right by our side to protect us from satan’s fiery darts while Christ's Spirit leads us into all truth and righteousness. Jesus gave an wonderful example of how this works. In the garden of Gethsemane, while praying to His Father, Jesus said, "if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground." (Luke 22:42-44).

Jesus gained the victory that night, with the help of an angel from God. His experience can be our experience. When we are striving against the enemy and against our own selfishness, God has promised in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that He will not allow any temptation to come to us without providing a way for us to have victory. And, if God be for us, than who can stand against us?! (Romans 8:31). Friends, satan has no power over us when we are fully surrendered to God.

Even though we can do nothing without Christ(John15:5) we can do all things through Him, who gives us strength(Philippians 4:13), for the "righteousness of God" is, "by faith in Jesus Christ" unto "all them that believe"(Romans3:21-22). When we die to our own will and submit to our Father in Heaven, as Jesus did in Gethsemane, then, with Paul, we can say, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)

For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News  (vs.15)

All around us people are living in the depths of sin, crying out for something better than they have, not knowing where to go to find peace. They long for deliverance from their bondage, for a life of freedom, health, and peace.

The message of the gospel brings peace, unity, and happiness to those who accept it and pursue it. As we put on the body armor of righteousness, we will become more and more like Jesus. As a result, those who are seeking for a better life will be attracted to Jesus. We will have opportunities to witness to them of the wondrous things that God has done for us. As we become more and more emptied of self and more and more filled with the Holy Spirit, witnessing will become to us an honor and a privilege. When we witness to others, we help ourselves at least as much as they are helped. For, in Revelation 12:11, the Bible says of the saints, they overcame [not only] by the blood of the Lamb, [but also] by the word of their testimony”  "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:7)

Hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows (vs.16)

Just as officer Bob wore a bulletproof vest to protect himself against criminals, so does God invite us to “hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil”. So, what is faith? The Bible says, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen(Hebrews 11:1) As soon as you are able, I would encourage you to read all of Hebrews 11 and be challenged and comforted by all the examples of men and women of faith. When we claim the promises of God, we must believe(before we see) that God will deliver on His promises. James put it this way: ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. (James 1:6-7). And Jesus said… verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you… [will be able to move] mountain[s]… and nothing shall be impossible unto you (Matthew 17:20).

Put on salvation as your helmet (vs.17)

God will fill us with pure and great thoughts as we daily meditate on His wonderful plan of redemption and how He saves even a wretch like me. The more we study, the more we will desire to walk on a higher path of goodness and love. And the more we will choose to be more like Jesus.

Jesus said, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled" (Matt. 5:6). We need to dwell more on the character of Jesus, for it is by beholding that we become changed(2 Corinthians 3:18) and we need to seek more deeply to understand the plan of salvation: 

Romans 3:22-27; 4:5,24; 5:1-2,5-6,8-11;

Romans 3:22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. 23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus. 27 Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith.

Romans 4:5 But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners. ... 24 for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.

Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. ... 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. 6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. ... 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. 9 And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. 10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

Take the Sword of the Spirit – the Word of God (vs.17) – which cuts through the obstructions and entanglements of our sinful lives, resulting in freedom! The Bible says that,All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (2 Timothy 3:16). When problems arise, or questions perplex, earnestly ask God for wisdom(James 1:5-8) and understanding. Then, open the Bible and seek for your answers. One of my favorite sword texts is Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

Pray in the Spirit... Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers (vs.18)

Not only is prayer for ourselves vital, but we must also pray for others. The Bible says to “…pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” (James 5:16).

My friends, The Lord honors us by allowing us to be His soldiers, fighting in His army, so let’s honor Him by putting on the WHOLE armor of God. He provides the armor, but we must put it on, for "your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour"(1Peter5:8). We must choose to follow Jesus, no matter where He leads. We must choose to follow Him, no matter how painful it is to surrender our own selfish desires. For Jesus says, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, [let him] take up his cross, [let him] follow me.(Matthew 16:24).

Desiring to live by every word that comes from the mouth of Jehovah (Deut8:3; Matt4:4)

-Sid Nash: 01/06/2024. Latest version: http://sidnash.org/docs/GodsArmor.html

(Previously presented: 7-2-10, 5/26/12 @WC? WSP; 1/10/15 GNC; 1/21/21 Col-OTG)