My quiet time in prayer and Bible study this morning led me to the book of Ephesians. Since feeling a bit discouraged today due to an increase in my dizziness symptoms, I found a lot of encouragement in reading through this book. (Funny how I asked the Lord to encourage me this morning since He commands me in Joshua 1:9 not to be discouraged or afraid, and He did just that)!
There are many nuggets of wisdom in this book but what I enjoyed the most was reading through the armor of God. What caught my attention today, though I've read through Ephesians hundreds of times, was God's formula for standing firm against the devil's schemes. Since I felt that the enemy was trying to discourage me this morning, I thought I would take a more in depth look at the armor we put on to stand firm against him.
"Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil". (Ephesians 6:11 NASB)
The Bible warns us to be alert, that we have an adversary, the devil, who prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8), and that our struggles are not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, powers, world forces of darkness and the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places (Eph 6:12). You will note that this verse from Ephesians immediately follows the verse above on how to stand firm against the devil. He is our enemy and will stop at nothing to try and steal, kill and destroy us (John 10:10). Although, thanks to the sovereignty of God, the devil can not touch us without first getting God's permission (ever read the book of Job)? God is good!
The Armor of God (Eph 6:13-17)
- Gird your loins with truth
What is truth?
Jesus is truth: "I am the way, the truth and the life" (John 16:6)
Jesus is the word of God: "In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God.... and the word became flesh" (John 1:1, 14)
All truth is wrapped up in Jesus. Therefore, to gird your loins with truth, you must know the word of God. Spend time every day reading the Bible and getting to know your Lord and savior. According to Kay Arthur's study on Ephesians, a Roman soldier could have several belts; however, the belt that he tucked his short tunic into served as part of his armor, not only holding the breastplate in place, but also holding the scabbard for his short two-edged sword. The truth holds everything together. Without the truth, we have no basis to stand on.
- Put on the breast plate of righteousness
"He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cornthians 5:21)
"..and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness and truth" (Eph 4:24)
"I put on righteousness, and it clothed me" (Job 29:14)
A breastplate protects a soldier's vital organs from mortal wounds, especially the heart. Through our faith in Jesus Christ and His death, burial & resurrection on our behalf, we are covered with His righteousness. This is the righteousness we put on in battle, it is not our own. Since it is His righteousness we put on, we can stand confidently in battle against the enemy knowing that the righteousness of Jesus covers our hearts and that we are forgiven.
- Shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace
What is the gospel? It is "the message of truth.... our salvation" (Eph 1:13) It is the good news that Jesus Christ came to earth in the flesh, lived a sinless life yet died on the cross as God's perfect sacrifice for our sins. By why? So we can have peace with God.
"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ..." (Ro 5:1)
Stand firm in battle in the knowledge that you are at peace with God, and share the good news with others!
- Take up the shield of faith
"Take up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one" (Eph 6:16)
The flaming arrows of the evil one are his lies and accusations (more lies). Our shield is our first line of defense. We have to shield the truth with faith in Christ's shed blood for us; without faith everything else is meaningless. You extinguish the lies of the enemy with the truth, believing God's word. You can spend all the time you want in the Bible (truth) but you have to believe it (faith). What is the truth? That we are standing righteous before God and at at peace with Him through our Lord Jesus Christ.
- Take the helmet of salvation
The helmet protects our heads and minds (our thoughts!) Be careful what you let into your mind, paying close attention to constantly feed your mind with the truth, the word of God.
"... we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine..." (Eph 4:14)
Don't believe everything you hear but test the spirits (1 John 4:1)! Believe only the word of God.
Now, you may be wondering why it's called the helmet of salvation?
"But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on.... as a helmet, the hope of salvation" (1 Thess 5:8)
Salvation belongs to every believer, that is the truth. This is something the enemy can never take away from us. Stand firm in battle believing that truth.
- Take the sword of the spirit
The sword of the Spirit is the word of God (Eph 6:17). The sword is an offensive weapon. It's what Jesus used against the devil in the wilderness and it's what we use in battle too. When the enemy comes against you with his lies, defeat him with God's word, the truth.
I hope this post on the armor of God encouraged you as it did me. It's been a while since I studied these passages and digging deeper into them once again was time well spent this morning. So, stand firm my brothers and sisters in Christ, in the full armor of God!
Feel free to share any thoughts or comments, I love to hear from you.