It is true that we are called to be warriors every single day; however, that doesn’t mean we walk around with the spirit of offense, ready to defend against anyone who might try to attack us, hurt us, or make fun of us. Our fight is not against people; it’s not even against people who don’t know Jesus. Brothers and sisters, our fight is “against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly world” (Ephesians 6:12). It is against the insecurities that make us feel like we need to defend ourselves. It is against our pride that tells us we have to be right. It is against the doubts we may have about who God says He is. It is against the true enemy whose only job is to keep us from spreading the love of Christ. Instead of walking around with the spirit of offense to defend which does absolutely no good for you or the Kingdom of Heaven, trade it for the armor of God: the belt of truth, the protection of right living, the Good News of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of God’s salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:14-17).
The armor of God can redirect an entire argument or even keep one from happening. Realizing that our fight is not about ourselves is absolutely liberating. Instead of directing all that energy to prove our point to someone who doesn’t have the same eyes as we do, we can use our minds to come up with understanding, compassionate, and loving words. Some arguments are sensible, but others stem from the root of pain because “hurt people hurt people hurt people” as my pastor always says. This world is dark and cold, so try as much as you can to let Jesus shine through- people very much need it.
So yes, the armor of God is much needed in disagreements or even when someone says something that hurts your feelings, but it is also so much more than that. It brings us closer to our heavenly Father, and gives us a better understanding of His love for us. Paul talks about each of the pieces of armor and what it protects, and I found it so interesting how those two things parallel:
- “Accept God’s salvation as your helmet” (Ephesians 6:17). The helmet protects the head as God’s salvation protects the mind. The mind is where sin begins. It also holds self-deprecating and judgemental thoughts. Whenever I mess up, I instantly feel the need to hide from God. I feel shame, guilt, and the inability to worship God the way I want to. However, I’ve come to learn that that’s exactly how Satan wants us to feel. He knows he’s going down, so his goal is to take as many people as he can down with him. Knowing that Jesus left his Heavenly Kingdom to walk this earth, die for my sins, and rise from the dead just so He could spend eternity with me protects me from any feelings of inadequacy to worship Him and to share the Good News. The whole point is that we weren’t good enough, but Jesus loved us so much anyways that He made us good enough, worthy enough, and Holy enough to spend 10,000+ years with Him (because He WANTED to). So put on your helmet; do not let Satan make you feel like you aren’t qualified. Jesus loves you, and He always will no matter what.
- “The protection of right living on your chest” (Ephesians 6:14). The heart. I found it interesting God chose right living to protect our hearts. Our hearts, along with our brains, are the keepers of our lives. Our mind has already been covered by God’s grace- the reason we have life- so why would right living keep our hearts beating? The mind controls the heart, and without God’s grace we cannot choose to live rightly or understand the necessity to live rightly. Think about when you were younger, and your parents didn’t allow you to go to that party late Friday night. At the time you might not have understood, but then you realized later their disapproval for you to go to that party came from a place of love. It is the same with our Father. We don’t see all the consequences of our actions, but He does. We might not understand why God says no sometimes, but if we understand His perfect love and grace for us, we can also understand that He has better plans in mind. Eventually, the Good News gets even better in our minds with our understanding, and we actually desire to rightly live for Him. Wear the protection of right living on your chest. Right living is not a restriction but a liberation. Let the Spirit guide your steps.
- “Use the shield of faith with which you can stop all burning arrows of the Evil One...take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:16, 17). Satan fills our mind with doubts and “what if’s” tricking us into believing God doesn’t have this, and leads us to a place where we take matters into our own hands. But that’s not what the word of God says. It says that God knows every single hair on our head, and that He has plans for us, GOOD ONES. Believing that our God is faithful protects us from the dangers of not trusting God. As we defend with the shield of Faith, we can also fight back with the sword of the Spirit as Jesus did when He fasted for 40 days in the desert in Matthew 4. Satan tried to convince Jesus to go against God and prove that he was, in fact, the Messiah. However, in every attempt Satan made to make Jesus stumble, Jesus came back with scripture. Jesus trusted that God was who He said He was. Pray to God with authority everyday knowing He hears you, trust Him, and listen closely to what He says to you through His word so that you can be ready for whatever Satan throws your way. The easiest way to trip on Satan’s blocks is to compromise the word of God. Do not compromise, but believe 100% that what God says is true.
- “So stand strong, with the belt of truth tied around your waist” (Ephesians 6:14). How fascinating! At first, I did not understand what truth had to do with a belt, but I researched the purpose of a belt in battle and discovered that truth has everything to do with a belt. For Roman soldiers way back in the day, the belt was crucial to wear during battle because it held the sword. If a Roman soldier forgot to put on his belt, he would be left in the middle of a war zone with no weapons. We just talked about our sword, the word of God. In order to always have our sword ready to go, we have to put on our belt every single day, meaning, we HAVE to read. I struggle with this. It isn’t always exciting to pull out the word of God, and sometimes we are just plain too busy. But you would be surprised by how just reading one little verse can benefit your entire day. The verse might be for you, or it might be for someone else who is in need of encouragement. Either way, there has never been a day that I have not needed God’s undeniable truth. Read everyday, even if it’s just a verse, and apply it the best way you know how.
- “On your feet wear the Good News of peace to help you stand strong” (Ephesians 6:15). Our feet do the walking as the Spirit guides our steps. Sometimes He guides us to a place that we don’t want to go; other times it feels like He isn’t guiding us at all. Especially being a senior, I get so worried about the future, what I will do, and how successful I will be. In the course of our lives, we have to remember how Jesus showed His love for us, and knowing that, believe there is no way He would lead us down a path with a dead end. The path may be dark and scary. It might be filled with mystery; the unknown scares us most. But we can have peace in knowing that He is walking with us every single step of the way. As we shield the enemies lies, we can stand strong on the cornerstone, our King Jesus, who loves us more than we could ever love ourselves.
The truth behind our fight is that it has already been won. It’s just that the enemy wants us to believe we have a chance to lose. However, the Word says that NOTHING can separate us from Jesus’ love. Take off the spirit of offense, pride, shame, guilt- those things are not from God- instead, “put on God’s full armor. Then on the day of evil you will be able to stand strong. And when you have finished the fight, you will still be standing” (Ephesians 6:13). I love you guys, and I pray for every single person who reads this that whatever Satan has made you believe about yourself or others is revealed as a lie. I pray that you would instead be filled with the truth of the Gospel, and that you would use your passionate youth for the Kingdom of Heaven- that you would always wear the armor of God.