Know Your Armor

The Lord God is my strength [my source of courage, my invincible army]; He has made my feet [steady and sure] like hinds’ feet and makes me walk [forward with spiritual confidence] on my high places [of challenge and responsibility].  Habakkuk 3:19 (Amp)   

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Well, we’ve talked about knowing who we are in Christ, really knowing who God is and His faithfulness, and as we fight this good fight of faith, we need to know how well equipped we are through the armor that God has provided us with.  So, let’s take a look at Ephesians 6:10-17:

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

 First of all, our armor is supplied by God Almighty.  Remember when they tried to put Saul’s armor on David before he went out to fight Goliath but it was too big for him?  Well, God’s armor is a perfect fit for us.

Before we get into the details of the armor, I want to point out one other thing.  In verse 16 it talks about the shield of faith which extinguishes the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Now, go back to verse 11, the Amplified says “… so that you may be able to successfully stand up against all the schemes and the strategies and the deceits of the devil.”  The King James says “the wiles” of the enemy.  Some of you may remember the old cartoon “The Road Runner”, and if you do then you’ll also remember the coyote whose name was Wile E Coyote.  Did you see that?  This was a coyote who was always scheming – using some pretty drastic measures I might add – to catch the Road Runner (and always unsuccessful).  If you’re a “visual” person, this sort of gives you a picture of the wiles of a predator; in the Road Runner’s case the coyote; in our case the devil.  However, the difference here is the schemes the enemy uses.  I believe the biggest strategy the enemy uses is deceit in which he comes against our mind and our thoughts and tries to get us to doubt the Word of God and to become fearful.  If he can get us to do that then we begin to waiver and as fear starts rising up, our faith starts falling down.  If we can recognize at the onset of these thoughts that these are schemes of the devil and use the armor that we’ve been provided with to stand firmly in our place and not be moved, we’ll be victorious!

Now, let’s look at this armor.  This is what protects us during battle and each piece is essential.  First of all, verse 14 says “having your loins girt about with truth”.  The loins are the hip area.  Some translations interpret this as the waist area.  Roman soldiers had a very wide belt that was tied in several places around their waist.  This held equipment like daggers or different swords, ropes, darts, and could also hold personal items like money or rations.  The belt was tied in several places so that no matter how he moved it always stayed in place so he was able to get to these items without difficulty and kept his armor together.  This was also the first part of the armor the soldier put on.  If we compare this to God’s armor, this would be a belt of truth.  We have to know and be grounded in the fact that God’s Word is truth, as opposed to the lies of the enemy.  We have to apply God’s Word to our lives every day.  Just as this belt was the “foundation” of his armor, so must the Word of God be our foundation.

Next we have the breastplate of righteousness.  The breastplate was attached and anchored to the belt.  It covered both the front and back from the neck down to the middle (or just above the belt) and protected the heart and lungs.  The breastplate of righteousness guards our heart – the seat of our emotions, self-worth and trust.  In knowing we have right-standing (righteousness) with God through Christ Jesus, we know we’re standing shoulder-to-shoulder with God in battle.  There is confidence in our right-standing with God as we keep our thoughts and actions as we should before God.

Then our feet are to be “shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.”  The Roman soldier’s footwear had spikes in the soles which provided him with a strong stance, balance and posture no matter what the terrain was like.  As we stand on God’s Word and the peace it provides (Philippians 4:7 in the Amplified states it as “that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ), we are able to have our feet firmly planted on the Word of God and not be moved by the devil’s schemes and lies.  It keeps us steady and immovable.

Next we have the shield of faith.  The soldier’s shield was large and pretty much covered everything from the chin to the knees.  This is what was used to protect against the arrows and spears of the enemy.  The notes from the Amplified Bible states that it was covered with several layers of leather that when soaked in water it would put out the fiery missiles thrown at them by the enemy.  Our shield of faith – believing God’s Word and His promises, and taking Him at His word – is what extinguishes the lies of the enemy.

Then verse 17 says to take the helmet of salvation.  It is said the Romans had the best helmet in their day.  It had a chinstrap, visor and covered the back and sides of the neck.  Obviously it provided protection of the head from various angles of attack.  We know that the enemy attacks us in our minds – that’s his greatest battlefield.  We need to remember that salvation means more than being born again and being delivered from hell, but also we have been delivered from the enemy and all of his schemes.  We have to guard our minds and what thoughts we entertain.  In the same verse we used before in Philippians 4:7, it says “that peace which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  The peace that we have through Christ Jesus that assures us of our salvation through Him is what covers and guards our mind.  We know that we have been delivered!

Lastly, we have the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.  The sword of the Roman soldier was fierce.  It is said that it was a two-edged sword with the end turned upward.  It cut in two directions and once it penetrated the enemy just a few inches it inflicted a mortal wound.  We know that our sword is the Word of God and the Word is “quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword,” (Hebrews 4:12).  With every swing of that sword God’s Word we should be speaking God’s Word!  These are God’s words coming out of our mouths.  God, in all His glory, is backing us as His words come out of our mouth, and this is something the devil has no defense against!!  Hallelujah!!

I believe we should stand ready and be prepared at all times, and the only way we can do that is by spending time daily with the Lord, in His Word and in prayer.  If we’re fighting the good fight of faith, we can’t let our guard down.  If you’ll look back at all of these parts of the armor, they all go back to the Word.  His Word is truth – it’s our foundation.  Our breastplate of righteousness – we are in right-standing with God through Christ Jesus – the Word made flesh.  Our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace – we stand on the Word and the peace that it brings (a soul assured).  The shield of faith – in God’s Word and His promises.  The helmet of salvation – again we guard our minds with the Word of God.  The sword of the Spirit – God’s Word that the enemy has no defense against.

As you fight the good fight of faith, know that you have been equipped with the greatest armor that has been supplied by God Himself!!

In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [draw your strength from Him and be empowered through your union with Him] and in the power of His [boundless] might.   Ephesians 6:10 (AMP)

The Faithfulness of God

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Last week we talked about who we are in God and being anchored in Him and His love for us.  However, not only do we need to know who we are in Christ, we also need to know who God is.  I know you’re probably thinking “I already know who God is,” but just stay with me here.  We know that He is our heavenly Father, He is the creator of all things, He is mighty and awesome – and the list goes on.  However, the one thing I want to focus on is HE IS FAITHFUL!  Again, you’re probably thinking to yourself “Yeah, I know that, too.”  I’m sure if you ask most Christians if they know that God is a faithful God, the majority of the time you’d get a resounding yes.  However, the reason I want to talk about this is because when we get in the thick of the battle and things are getting really tough and you find yourself weary in this good fight of faith and ready to throw in the towel, that’s when you’d better know your God is faithful!  When things aren’t going like you envisioned and you start questioning the Lord and wondering why your circumstances haven’t changed, that’s when you need to be fully persuaded that God is faithful, that He keeps His Word and He’s right there with you.  Those times we feel like giving up and giving in is when we need to make this one declaration – “I know You’re faithful and Your Word is true, and no matter what things look like, I’m trusting you.”

Sometimes when things start getting uncomfortable and we want to take things back into our own hands and do things our own way, then we’re saying “I’m not so sure I trust You with this anymore.  I know You have a plan, but I like my plan better.”  It’s kind of like when the Israelites wished they were back in Egypt.  When we start to waiver in our faith, often times we also waiver in our belief that God is faithful.  James 1:6-7 says “But let him 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.”  I know this is speaking primarily about asking for wisdom, but I believe we can apply it here, as well.  I know this verse is kind of hard, but that’s why it’s so important to stand strong in our faith and the faithfulness of God. 

The Bible is full of the faithfulness of God!  Since I’ve started this study, I’ve become more and more amazed at the Old Testament “heroes of faith.”  They didn’t have a Bible they could go to and read about the faithfulness of God.  Back in Abraham’s day the laws hadn’t even been established.  There was nothing between God and Abraham except faith.  I was listening to Genesis on my phone today as I was cleaning and there were several things that just kind of jumped out at me, and I want to share a couple of them with you.  Now these aren’t listed in Hebrews 11, but they show the goodness and faithfulness of God.  One was in Genesis 21 when Abraham sent Hagar and Ismael away.  After Hagar had wandered around in the wilderness and the water that she had with her ran out – now here is a mother and child out in the wilderness, alone, with no water – Hagar put her son under a shrub and went a ways off (King James says “as it were a bowshot” – not sure what that is but I would imagine she could still hear the child), so she wouldn’t have to see him die, and she began to cry.  Verse 17 says “And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is.”  The angel told Hagar to go get her son and God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water – and God provided!  The other was when Abraham sent his servant to find a wife for Isaac.  When the servant reached Nahor he stopped by a well outside the city at about the time the women would go to draw water.  He prayed and asked the Lord that the woman who he asked for a drink of water from would also offer to get water for his camels (Genesis 24:12-14).  I love verse 15.  “And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out . . . with her pitcher upon her shoulder.”  Did you see that?  Before he had finished speaking!!!!  I know these aren’t stories we often hear about, but oh how they show the faithfulness of God.  I would really encourage you to go back and read both of these accounts in Genesis.

If we go back to Hebrews 11, you’ll see the phrase “by faith” and “through faith” many, many times – Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sara, etc.  By faith seas opened up, walls fell, the mouths of lions were stopped, fires were quenched, and promises were obtained (and much more).  However, not only in these verses do we see the faith of all those listed, but we see the faithfulness of God!!  And that’s just the Old Testament!!!  Let me tell you, if you’re needing some encouragement go back and read these accounts in the Old Testament, because let me assure you that the same God that opened the seas, shut the mouths of lions, and caused walls to fall hasn’t changed not one bit.  He is faithful!!!

There are several scriptures that also speak to the faithfulness of God.  I’ve listed some below, but again I would encourage to get in the Word and find some other ones.

Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations.  Deuteronomy 7:9

Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.  Psalm 36:5

God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.   1 Corinthians 1:9

Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.   Hebrews 11:11

I know this may seem like a repeat of some things we’ve already looked at, but we have to be firmly established in who we are and that our God IS faithful – fully persuaded, beyond a shadow of a doubt, even when you don’t understand what’s going on, that God is faithful and His Word is true.  And again, I would really encourage you go back and read some of these Old Testament passages.  You will be blessed!