Updated: Feb 23, 2022
Be it physical, mental, emotional or spiritual… no matter what kind of fight I have engaged in or will engage in, there is always one thing I remember… It’s the spirit that fights, not the body.
I am the driver, not the machine (the spirit, not the body). My existence is not limited to that body and therefore not all of my battles involve my flesh and bone; yet all of them involve my spirit.
When I do take on physical, verbal or other more tangible conflict; my body is only a tool, a secondary element to the real fighter inside. I work the controls, the machine responds accordingly. So if I don’t know or acknowledge the tools that I’ve been given to fight with the will of the soul, I can only win battles that make little to no difference at the end of my time on Earth. I can fight my fellow human for a piece of property, a handful of dollars or the gain of worldly influence; but when it comes to the fight for my eternal future, without proper armor and skills, I have about as much hope as butterfly in a hurricane.
There is good news in this.
As hard as it may be to adapt ourselves against the world and toward God’s path, he’s given us the tools and Christ has given us proof of concept. So you and I don’t have to reinvent the wheel. We just have to straighten our own and keep it spinning.
How to put on the armor of God
"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: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints" Ephesians 6:10-18 KJV
So if God gave us these words, then what tools did he give us to back them up? In the last article I’ve already covered part of it, the breakage and permanent refusal of sin. But now I’ll get more specific and highlight the words by Paul that are in the passage above.
“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth”
Personally I take this in three ways:
Follow the truth of the Gospel, as in, keep the commandments and decrees God gives us. Those truths stand against the lies of the devil.
Have faith in the Trinity. Have trust in God’s ability to do what’s right. Know that the words God and his son have given us are truth.
Live by being truthful and trustworthy. This doesn’t mean we have to tell human’s the details of our mistakes. It means we have to be honest with God, ourselves and others about the fact that we’re not perfect. Then we begin to align ourselves with who God is calling us to be. It means repentance and keeping your word to God.
“having on the breastplate of righteousness”
The more we fight to be righteous, the stronger the armor of God becomes. And yet not one of us are completely righteous. But one reason Jesus gave his life was so we might strive to be. Through his 30-some years in the flesh, he fought the deceptions of evil and laid out a plan for how to avoid it. Through the death of his body, he gave us an instant way to access his sacrifice by accepting him into our hearts.
So in spite of our imperfections, we can accept Christ and though this action we put on the part of the armor that protects our most vital organ, our heart. Because when Jesus lives there, he will fight to protect his home. The more we fix things in our lives and avoid sin, the more connected we are to God. But the righteousness here comes from Jesus Christ as we remain broken. Christ, in his flesh, never sinned and therefore was more righteous than we could ever be in our human lifetime.
“your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace”
Knowing the gospel (reading and knowing the bible well) is like putting on multi-terrain shoes. So if God needs us to “step” into new or rough physical or spiritual terrain, we’re ready by having the word inside us. This prepares us for new environments by giving us discernment between what is right and what is not. It’s something we all need, to help protect us on unfamiliar ground.
See/buy image in the Divine gallery of the writer's photography portfolio. With the exception of some basic adjustments, like a bit of contrast, this image was not digitally altered. You're seeing it the way I shot it. Click to read the story behind it.
“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”
Having faith that God, His son and His spirit are with us; it helps stave off one of the devil’s favorite tools... doubt. That doubt isn’t just about a lack of trust in God, it’s also about lacking confidence in yourself and your relationship with the Trinity.
Trust me on this, the Devil is an expert at breaking up families through lack of communication and doubt in family connections (among other things). We have to know and remember that we are children of God and followers of Christ, always. So don’t doubt your right to forgiveness, your place with your universal family or the fact that you are loved beyond human measure.
“and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
In Revelations, in John’s vision, he saw an angel (Jesus) with a sword extending from his mouth (Revelations 1:16). As with your average dream, I believe John’s vision was mostly figurative. That abstract sword is the same one we all have, the word of God. So as we speak, sign or think the words of the Bible, especially those that illustrate Christ’s victory through resurrection, we’re exercising a very sharp and feared tool in the arsenal. Evil hates being reminded of the power it cannot overcome, to the point of pain. The gospel is a reminder that Christ did just that, overcame. The Bible and its words are a reminder of who is in charge, God. Often times, in spiritual battles, just speaking the words of God can change the situation in our favor. In Jeremiah 23:29 KJV, God reminds us that His word is like fire and a hammer that breaks the rocks down. Now back to the passage we were dealing with from Ephesians:
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints" (in other words; use your spirit to pray constantly, and be aware of God's people while praying for them)
The more time we spend in prayer, the less time we spend in worldly distractions or evil deceptions. This doesn’t just mean specific prayers about protection. It means prayers of love, requests for education and wisdom, and gratitude. We can’t just talk to God about what we want, we have to return the respect of what he gives by letting him know we’re appreciative. And we also have to be open to the information God gives us in return. Don't just talk, listen, and do it with extreme caution (see Can we Really Talk to God? and Overwhelmed by God for more info).
It’s not an overnight thing
No long term, solid plan to improve our lives comes quick. But as I’ve said many times before, the rewards for getting closer to who we’re meant to be, they far outweigh the sacrifices it takes to get there. And being protected from the devil’s work is no exception. God gave us this ability. It’s built right in to our existence. It doesn’t make our lives perfect; nothing about Christianity does that. But it gives us a chance to move forward in our responsibility to the improvement of the self and the lives of others.
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