Sunday, September 5, 2010
Ephesians 6:12-16 (Click here to read all of Ephesians 6)
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.
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.
Stand firm, then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Let me start off with an apology to anyone who may have been offended by the title of this post. Unfortunately, the idea of "using protection" is associated with things other than spiritual truths in our society. On the other hand, I am sure there are many readers who would have otherwise looked over this blog post had not the title been so curiosity-provoking...so to you, I say, welcome:)
So far, we have looked at the riches we have in Christ including power, life, love, purpose and light. Protection is the 6th gift I want to focus on in this study of Ephesians, with a specific focus on verses 10-20.
It's no coincidence that Paul, while chained to a Roman soldier as he is writing this letter to the Church in Ephesus, focuses on the analogy of the military since it is basically staring him in the face.
He pleads with the Church to make sure they are protected on a spiritual level, and reminds them that the things we fight with most in this world are not external, but internal....spiritual. There is a world beyond this world, and if we are not aware of the impact it can have on our lives we will surely be affected...even, defeated by it.
In order to take precaution, we as believers must take advantage of the armor God has given us to protect ourselves from the darkness in this world. He lists a series of pieces which we must "put on" in order to have protection from some very lethal things:
Protection from Lies. God has given us the Belt of Truth in order to have the ability to ward of the lies of the Evil One- and the lies of this world. You and I know that these days, we are bombarded with mixed messages and half truths feeding us lies about who we are or who we must become. Everyday we must be deliberate in putting on God's truth found through his Spirit and through His Word, in order to be safe from lies and to have the wisdom to distinguish even the lies that resemble truth.
Protection from Temptation. We are equipped with the Breastplate of Righteousness. I find it no coincidence that this piece of armor is the one that protects our hearts. The reality is, most of the time we fall into temptation and walk away from righteousness when our vulnerable hearts are exposed and longing for something more. Everyday we must make sure to put on the breastplate of righteousness and allow God's power to cover over our vulnerable hearts and protect us from the lusts of our flesh.
Protection from Apathy. I don't know about you, but a nice pair of shoes can do a lot on the scale of motivation! The person who's feet are constantly fitted with the Shoes of the gospel of peace will find themselves living a life that is overflowing with God's grace, love, and mercy. I believe that the things we love most and spend the most time with end up oozing out of our lives- whether we want them to or not. With God's word as our constant foundation- we will not have the ability nor the desire to mingle with apathy. We'll be like the apostles in Acts 4:20 who proclaimed: "We just can't help speaking about all the things we have seen and heard..."
Protection from Doubt. One of the things that imprisons believers more than anything else is the problem of fear and doubt. A spark of doubt can set a whole field of faith ablaze, destroying it in almost an instant. Thankfully, God has equipped us with the Shield of Faith to dodge the arrows of doubt that are constantly being thrown our way.
Protection from Worthlessness. This is my favorite of the armor of God because it is the piece that protects the head and the mind. For me, I find that my most dangerous battle ground is definitely in the fertile soil of my thoughts. The Helmet of Salvation protects our minds from the thoughts that can kill us. Thoughts that degrade and destroy. Thoughts that limit and bind. Thoughts that tell us we are not good enough, or we must work harder to earn God's love. Salvation is free. It is sure. And it is permanent. We must constantly put on our helmets to protect our minds from the thoughts that can quickly eat away at our souls.
Protection from Attacks. Lastly we are given the Sword of the Spirit...which is God's Word. You may have noticed, it is the ONLY weapon of "offense" we are given. All of the other pieces are for our defense, while the sword of God's word can be used to attack and to defeat whatever the Evil One brings our way. Some may need offense against Satan to protect their minds, some their hearts, some their emotions and some their flesh. But no matter what, God's word is filled with words that can quickly destroy any attack Satan has to offer...so he can go ahead and bring it, because for you who have the Sword of the Spirit...he's got nothing on you.
All of these pieces of armor combined give me hope and leave me at peace. There is nothing and no one that can harm me, attack me, or defeat me as long as I am covered in Christ and protected by His strength. Hold on to that promise each and every single day. Hold on to it as if your very life depends on it...because it very likely does. Hold on to it and remember to "put on" God's protection in order to survive.
The key to remember is that we ALREADY possess this armor. For some of us, it's worn and dented from the many uses it's received. But for others it sits and collects dust while our spirits are needlessly collecting the battle wounds and scars that have already been taken care of on the cross. Don't be foolish...put on your armor. Use protection.
Lessons Learned by Debra Fileta at 9:20 PM