One of my favorite things in any action movie is the part where the hero(s) suit up and go into battle. There’s something exciting and cool about it. They are putting on their mechanical exoskeleton or their super powered armor that has weapons or shields built in. It has a cool look, makes them look like their team. Often, in movies, there’s an artificial six-pack. Oh yeah, I’d like to have one of those to wear under my everyday clothes just so by gut doesn’t show. But that’s a different topic altogether. They suit up and get into the battle and the excitement can begin. Lot’s of action scenes, cool special effects, and awesome moments where the heroes claim victory, often from the hands of defeat at the last minute. Good stuff.
If you’re a believer and have been around church, you know the passage Ephesians 6:10-18 where it talks about the armor of God. It seems like a really great passage telling you all these things to do to get yourself battle ready. For guys especially, it’s cool because we are all about being the warrior hero. But, if you’re like me, you sometimes think about it and your response is very, “meh.” Why? Well, you aren’t putting on tangible physical armor and preparing to go into a battle. The excitement of the action movie genre doesn’t translate into the spiritual armor passage from Ephesians. But, it should.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,Ephesians 6:10-18 NASB 1995
In our spiritual battle, we know it’s not against flesh and blood like it is in the movies. No, it’s against. rulers, powers, forces of wickedness. It doesn’t make it any less of a battle. It just makes it a different battle. Unfortunately, all too often, because it doesn’t present itself as an easy to digest, easy to point a finger at type of thing, it does unnoticed until the damage is done. The reality is, we have an enemy. We have an enemy that is cunning and wants to destroy us. He’s not going to put it out there for us to see it plainly. That would be foolish of him and too easy for us to avoid. Think about landmines. They aren’t laying on top of the ground for you to see, they are buried, hidden, waiting for you to step on it so it can go boom. The enemy’s schemes are no different.
That’s why this passage is so important. It’s a figurative example to help you understand the importance of being guarded, shielded, ready to withstand the attacks. I’ve got news for you, you’re under attack. If you are a believer in Christ, you’re under attack. Even if you’re not out there trying to live every moment of your life for Jesus, you’re under attack. If you’re not living your life for Jesus, you’re just an easier target. All the enemy has to do is keep kicking you when you’re down every so often, or distract you from the truth so that you stay away from Christ. If you’re a believer trying to live for Jesus, you’re an even bigger target. And I promise you, the attacks are happening. You may just not realize it. That’s another thing the armor is good for; recognizing the attacks.
Have you ever had those days, or weeks that it just seems like everything has gone wrong? Or have you had those times where no matter what is going on, it just seems like your attitude is just off? What about the guy that cuts you off on the highway after you’ve had a rough day? Or, my favorite, the fellow staff member that has something they think should be your priority without regard to everything else you have going on? Yeah, this is all warfare. The enemy is cunning and crafty. He’s really good at putting little, insignificant things in front of us to take shots at us. He’s good at using things from other people to get to us.
I won’t get into the sermon of the different references to the armor itself. I’ll just line out the things we need to cling to, the things we need to carry with us to make it through the battle. Truth, righteousness, preparation of the gospel, faith, salvation, and the Holy Spirit. When you see the list in this format, it seems like common sense to every believer, right? Of course we cling to truth and righteousness. Of course we want to be ready with the gospel, know it, storing it in our hearts and being ready to share it. Faith, Salvation, and the Holy Spirit… no brainers, right? So, why do we fail so often?
We fail because we don’t realize there’s a battle going on. We are the security guard, thinking we have it all under control. We’re sitting at our little guard station watching all the monitors (really watching cartoons on monitor 9 while glancing every so often at the other 8 monitors). We just don’t realize that one or more of those monitors signal has been interrupted and the image is static, stagnant, stale, out of date. We aren’t seeing what’s really happening and, oops, the building just got raided by the bad guys. If it was easy to see the war happening, the Ephesians passage wouldn’t be as critically important for us. We’d know there were arrows of attack flying and we could hide or at least dodge them better. But, we don’t see it.
I promise you the battle is real. War is upon us my friend. Put on that armor. Help those around you that are weak in areas of their armor. Don’t try to jab them there, but help them keep that area protected. Ask for help in areas that you’re not able to keep your armor strengthened. Be ready, stand firm, and protect yourself and others. This means war!