I once had a dream about a whole bunch of foam bullet balls all huddled inside a sheep pen. I heard the Lord say that some Christians need to “armor up.”
It was a strange image to see these little bullets, penned like sheep, but my sons have a set of these air guns, and it made sense in context. The Lord was warning me that I was heading into a season that was going to be trying, and I needed to be ready with the armor of God. God doesn’t want us to only survive difficult circumstances. He wants us to thrive. We aren’t only to huddle down and deflect attack. Bullets represent ammunition to be able to mount an an active defense.
11Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. 12 For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.
The devil is our enemy. Knowing this helps us know how to be prepared. Paul wrote this letter at a time when the world was dominated by Roman rule, and people understood the armor of the soldier. For this reason, it was an effective illustration of how God wants to prepare us for battle.
14 Stand, therefore,
This word, “stand,” is to make to stand in the midst, before judges, firmly, in a place of balance, immovable, unharmed, of steadfast mind, without hesitation. Wow! That’s a LOT of ways to stand!
Our enemy wants to play judge and jury. Zechariah 3 gives a powerful account of how Satan goes into the presence of the Lord and accuses us. Romans 8:1 tells us that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. We are forgiven, but if we are not well versed in what God says about us, we can be very beat up by the lies of the Devil. His lies are a last ditch effort to prevent us from living out the promises that are already ours in Jesus.
with truth like a belt around your waist,
The belt of a soldier held up his tunic, which was his undergarment! This was foundational to everything else a soldier has to wear. No matter what part of the armor of Christ we are talking about, truth is the foundation. We have to know right from wrong. We have to understand, without diluting truth, HOW we are saved. We have to understand the truth of who we are in Christ. Without truth, we don’t have legs to stand on.
righteousness like armor on your chest,
The breastplate, or chainmail, was meant to deflect weapons that were thrust at a soldier and protected most of the vital organs which are in the torso. When we are rescued from the consequences of our sins by Jesus, the Bible says He removes our filthy garments and gives us His robes of righteousness. Our lives are eternally secured and protected by His righteousness, but we are still human. The Devil will throw every lie he can at us in an attempt to lure us into sin. Sin harms us, it harms other, and it harms our testimony as Christians. When we know right from wrong, and God gives us wisdom to discern the enemy’s sneaky tactics, we can resist temptation.
and your feet sandaled with readiness
for the gospel of peace.
We have to have this peace in order to share this peace. The gospel, the good news, assures us that when we believe Jesus for our salvation, we become friends of God and He becomes our peace. He provides us with the assurance of our salvation, which is the source of our joy, as well as every other Fruit of the Spirit. Remember that. The enemy will play dirty. He will try to separate you from everyone and everything that is good. He will try to make you doubt your salvation. He will try in ways that you may not even think are possible; however, remember this: If there is no shame, then there is no game.
16 In every situation take the shield of faith,
and with it you will be able to extinguish
all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
When the Devil mounts his attach, and those arrows fly at you, raise your shield. He wants to destroy your faith. Proverbs 30:5 tells us that God himself is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Faith is believing what God says so that it has power in your life to change you and your actions.
And guess what?!?! These are not just strategies for the individual! This is a war cry for the whole body of Christ. What experience do you have that someone else has not had? Who can you encourage or teach? What lie can you see through that some new Christian hasn’t had time to develop a foundation to spot? Are you a watchman? Blow your whistle!
Soldiers lifted their shields and locked them together to form gridwalls and eliminated the gaps. Two-thirds of a shield could cover one whole soldier and one-third of another. We are stronger together.
17 Take the helmet of salvation,
“Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2
Speak truth to one another. (Ephesians 4:15, Zech 8:16)
Have you heard the parable of the two dogs? The question is that if two dogs are fighting, which one will win? The answer is, the one you feed. We compare this to our sin nature versus spiritual prowess. Which nature will win? The one you feed. Be careful what you allow yourself (and your children) to see, hear, and speak. Dwell on what is good, pure, right, lovely, praise worthy… (Philippians 4:8) Let God renew your mind. That is, rewire your brain through this thing called plasticity, so that you can relearn/overwrite/and change your thinking and your nature to be Christ-like.
and the sword of the Spirit,
which is God’s word.
Last but not least…
Besides telling me to armor up, the Lord has also warned me,
“Be like a Berean,” and “Get ready to weed,” to prepare me for battle.
What does that mean?
Now these (the Bereans) were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.”Acts 17:11
Being like the Bereans means taking every teaching, laying it side by side with God’s Word, and examining it to see if it matches.
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5
Paul taught Timothy that we are to rightly handle, or explain, the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15) It is a two edged sword (Hebrews 4:12) which exposes the lies of the devil and even reveals the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts. Without scripture, we cannot know the mind of Christ or understand the will of God. Compare everything to the Bible, and if it comes up lacking throw it out with the weeds. Measure teaching, measure ideas—your own and those which are thrown at you, and even measure your attitudes and intentions.
We are, in every way, defended and upheld by the truth of God’s word. It is our armor and it is our weapon.
Our best Offense:
18 “Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints. 19 Pray also for me, that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel. 20 For this I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I might be bold enough in Him to speak as I should.”
Jesus told his disciples, when he went to the garden to pray before being arrested, to pray so that they would not give in to temptation. He told them to pray so they could stand firm. Pray for you. Pray for the church body. Pray for the persecuted. Always pray.
I keep hearing the word syncopation. It means to displace the beats or accents (in music or a rhythm) so that strong beats become weak and vice versa. We need our lives, from our thoughts to our feelings to our actions to become syncopated with you. That we will become the lesser accent and so that you become the overriding beat in this rhythm of life. Your words, your will, and your way.
Give us a hunger for your Word with your wisdom to understand it. Make those weeds stand out so that we can spot the Devil’s schemes and identify the lies. Keep us alert. Make our armor polished and ready so that we can stand. Provide us with the means to intercede for others. Give us love and unity in the body of Christ so that we can stand together. Pull down strongholds in our midst and make us watchmen for you.
Give us your words to boldly proclaim your truth. Give the persecuted strength to endure faithfully.
Let praise rise up from us like a banner that proclaims your glory.
In Jesus Name, Amen