Today’s reading: Ephesians 4-6.
A pilot without his chart, a scholar without his book, and a soldier without his sword, are alike ridiculous. But, above all these, it is absurd for one to think of being a Christian, without knowledge of the word of God and some skill to use this weapon. – William Gurnall, The Christian in Complete Armour
The heroes of the faith accomplished much. My own life seems so ordinary in comparison. I long for their victories, for their spiritual power, though not necessarily for their struggles. Could it be that I’m not prepared to succeed? Maybe I’m not even in the fight.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Ephesians 6:10-11
If you want to enter the fight and win some victories, as I do, you will need to get ready in order to be protected and to fight with power.
First, focus on the need for preparation. Because we have an enemy, the Devil, we need the full armor to stand against him. It is an unwise soldier that doesn’t realize his army is at war, but an even more foolish soldier who goes into battle without his weapons and protection. The Devil wars against us in order to confuse and mislead us, to lead us into disobedience and sin, to steal our joy, to make us doubt our faith, and to hinder our efforts to advance the kingdom of heaven. Begin each day by remembering that you have an enemy and that you are in a state of war.
Second, realize that the battle is spiritual, against spiritual powers, requiring spiritual protection and spiritual weaponry. This battle can’t be fought with our own strength. Money won’t protect us. Security systems aren’t the real need. No location is completely immune from Satan’s reach. That sounds frightening and beyond our control, but the power that is with believers is greater than the power that is in the world. So be confident because our armor comes from God and is the highest quality. Our armor makes us strong and gives us power.
Third, don’t neglect your protection but know your armor well and be prepared to use it. Is some part of your armor rusty? Clean and oil it. Do you need more training in one area or another? Study so that you will be skilled and ready. Does your armor seem smaller or weaker than you would like? It grows greater with use, so start using it.
- Truth is the belt that holds everything else together. God’s truth is necessary for you to hold together and stand against the Devil. You need to know God’s truth as revealed in his word. You also need to live truthfully, with integrity, or else you will fall.
- Righteousness is the breastplate guarding your heart. Your righteousness comes from Christ. By the power of the Holy Spirit within you put to death the desires of the flesh and leave the sinful lifestyle you knew in the past. When you sin, quickly confess and repent so that your righteousness can be restored.
- The gospel is the message of peace that you proclaim as you advance. Are you prepared to share it? Do you have a personal testimony to give? Telling the good news gives purpose to your life and allows you to bear fruit that brings joy into your life.
- Your faith is the shield against the attacks of the enemy. Are you threatened by circumstances? Be faithful. Do doubts trouble you? Lift up your shield of faith. Is Satan attacking you with lies about your salvation or your relationship with God? Put your trust in God.
- Confidence in your salvation is the strong helmet which guards your mind. Doubts and lies won’t penetrate your thoughts when they are protected by an informed understanding of the reality of your right standing with God. The struggles of this life, the light and momentary afflictions of the present, pale in comparison to the eternal weight of glory that awaits us in heaven.
- The word of God is your weapon, the sword you use to fight off the doubts and lies Satan hurls at you. It’s also the message you use to break down walls around the lost. Continue to grow in knowledge of God’s word so that your sword will be sharp. Hear it (listen), Examine it (read), Analyze it (study), Remember it (memorize), and Think on it (meditate). Then apply it so that you will have God’s word in your heart and hand (from Masterlife).
All our preparation will be pointless without prayer. Prayer is key to successful spiritual warfare. Paul says it gives us courage and directs our thoughts and words. I’m not ready to win a victory until I’ve learned to use my armor to fight, and I’m not ready to fight until I’ve prayed.
“Lord, please help me this day put on the Full Armor of God.
Help me put the Helmet of Salvation on my head that I might always remember I am saved, and who I belong to, that my mind is guarded in Christ Jesus, and that I may have the mind of Christ and that I may think the thoughts of Christ and reject all others.
Help me put the Breastplate of Righteousness on so that I may walk about in Righteousness and others may see your Righteousness in me, and that my heart is guarded in Christ Jesus, and that I may have the desires of Christ and reject all others.
Help me keep the Belt of Truth securely buckled on my waist, that I may always be secure in the knowledge of the Truth and always speak the Truth.
Help me fit my Feet with the Readiness that comes from the Gospel of Peace, that I may stand firm in the Gospel, and spread the Gospel of Peace wherever I go.
Help hold the Shield of Faith with which to extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one, strengthen my arm and help me hold it high, that I may use it to protect myself, my family, my household and those under my care, and help me use the Shield of Faith to press ahead and push forward for the kingdom of God.
And Lord, help me take up the Sword of The Spirit which is the Word of God, and use it every day, help me us it to protect myself and others from the evil one through the power and authority of Your Word, and to strike the hearts and minds of those who do not know You calling them towards repentance and salvation, help me use Your Word – the Sword of the Spirit – to cause those who know you but are backslidden to repentance, obedience and service, and to help awaken those who know you, but are asleep so they may obey and serve you, and please help me use your Word to bring, encouragement, strength and wisdom to the Remnant of God through your Word.
Help me serve you this and every day. Please use me Lord. These things I ask in the Name of Jesus Christ.
Amen” – Pastor Bruce Sikes, The Christian Fencers Association
Image by Ed Alkema on Flickr, CC by 2.0