“The Christian life is not a playground, it’s a battleground” – Steven Furtick.
Time and time again throughout the Bible, and throughout history, there are examples of God’s people facing direct opposition. In John 16:33 Jesus tells us “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” We are guaranteed to face difficulties, and yet so often we are surprised when things get tough. While we do not need to fear these difficulties, we do need to be prepared for them. In Ephesians 6:10-17 Paul writes about putting on the Armour of God as preparation for these battles. The passage is below:
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
In this blog we are going to look at each of the elements of the armour and how they relate to how we approach the battles and challenges we face. We are going to look at the elements under three different types, the WHO, the HOW and the WHAT. Hopefully by using these different categories we can make the elements more memorable, understandable and relevant for our daily lives.
The first two elements we will look at are the breastplate of righteousness and the helmet of salvation. These are the elements that relate to WHO we are when we go into battle. Firstly we have a breastplate of righteousness to protect our heart. It’s important to note that this righteousness isn’t self-righteousness, but the righteousness we get through our relationship with God. When we have a heart based in and protected by righteousness our motives remain pure, our reasons for doing things aren’t selfish but are based in God’s will. Next we have the helmet of salvation, which protects our mind. Romans 12:2 says “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” When we let God renew our mind through salvation it helps our mind become clearer and more centred. We are able to make better decisions because we are clearer on God’s will.
The next two elements we will look at give us the HOW of our approach to challenges, they are the belt of truth and the shoes of peace. Truth is what holds things together, it is what gives us confidence to move forward as we know we are working from a safe place. We know that we have a solid basis for our actions. Having our feet wearing shoes of peace mean that we approach situation from a calm perspective. We don’t come in looking for trouble or looking to create issues. Having peaceful feet also means that we have a stable basis from which to approach situations. If our feet aren’t peaceful, they are agitated and restless, looking for a reason to run. When our feet are wrapped in peace they have a firm grip on the ground but can be ready to act if needed.
The final parts of the Armour of God are the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. These are our weapons, they are WHAT we use to fight the battles we have. Having a shield of faith means trusting God when we walk into the challenging situations. It means that when the attacks come we trust God that He is on our side and He will help us through. It means that when the accusations or negative comments are thrown at us we don’t allow them to stick because we can trust God that they are not true. The sword of the Spirit is God’s Word, the Bible. Through the Word of God we have the ability to fight back against those negative comments and accusations as we can read in the Bible what God’s perspective of us is. When distraction or misdirection come, it gives us clarity about which is the right way to go. When doubt and insecurity strike, it gives us the ability to strike back with assurance and confidence.
The Armour of God is not something that prevents attacks or challenges, but it is something that can help us stand against them. When we make the choice to pursue and live out our purpose we are bound to face opposition, whether it is in the form or naysayers and doubters, or when people directly attack us. In order to stay strong in the face of these attacks we need the Armour of God, it gives us our identity through the breastplate of righteousness and helmet of salvation, it gives us our methods through the belt of truth and the shoes of peace, and finally it gives us our tools through the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit. Through using these we can stand firm and press forward no matter what opposition we face.