“What book are you currently reading?” “How has the Lord spoken to you in Scripture lately?”
These are questions I’m sure many Christians have heard. They spark a sense of urgency and accountability in me because if you’re like me, I wasn’t always a consistent reader of my Bible. In fact, I didn’t read it much at all. It’s not because I didn’t have time; even in college as a full time student, exec member of 5 clubs, and person with 3 jobs, I had time. My problem was that I didn’t prioritize it at all. Also, how does one go about reading the Bible anyway? These were things I didn’t really know how to do back then. The funny part about it? I wondered why I wasn’t feeling connected to God.
You don’t expect to get a text message or social media notification if your cell phone is turned off, right? So how could I expect to hear from God with my Bible closed?
To make matters worse, I had a non-existent prayer life and pray is direct conversation with the Lord! You can imagine how overwhelmed and easily frustrated I felt in college. It was a fun but very stressful time and it was primarily because I didn’t ask for the Lord’s strength and I didn’t seek Him when I had problems. God wants to helps us because He loves us but when we don’t allow Him to step into our situation, how are we supposed to get relief? In addition to this, if we don’t read the guide, how do we know how to navigate this thing called life?
One of my youth ministry leaders, and friend, said something that absolutely astonished me, “You can have as much of God as you want.” This is so true! I want God, I need God, desperately and that really made me want to pursue Him more. As I mentioned in my previous post, I started reading Ephesians. Well I just finished it today and what did I read at the end: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6: 10-11, NKJV). I’ve heard this many times in my life but never quite looked into what this meant. I also didn’t know how to apply this to my life or what that looked like. Before, I thought it simply meant to arm yourself with His Word and while that is true, this message is so much deeper than that! Here is the rest of this section, The Whole Armor of God:
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against power, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 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, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6: 12-18, NKJV).
This is all very poetic but what does that mean and how can we apply this to our lives? I don’t know about you but I don’t think I’m going to find any real, complete armor lying around my house any time soon. Recently in my life, I have been abundantly more consistent in my Bible reading and asking the Lord to step into my situation. While working through these situations in my life and working on actually trusting Him to intervene, I now have a far bigger and better understanding of what arming myself with the armor of God means. Here are the pieces of our armor that we must be familiar with:
- belt of truth
- breastplate of righteousness
- shoes of the gospel of peace
- shield of faith
- helmet of salvation
- sword of the Spirit (also referring to scripture in the passage)
- battle cry that is us praying with all prayer & supplication in the Spirit
I’m sure we are all familiar with what the typical body looks like when completely developed. Yes, males and females are different however we do have some similarities: we all have stomachs/torsos, we have chests, we have feet, we have a head, we have arms, hands, and mouths. This makes it easier to imagine where we would put our armor and how it is supposed to lay on our bodies as we ready ourselves for spiritual warfare. If there is one thing that I know, it’s that the devil is alive and well and always ready to attack. I want to be ready and even if I get hit, I don’t want to be pierced or shaken. This is how our armor protects us and when you put it on properly, the enemy knows that he can’t and will never win. No matter how hard he tries!
When I think of putting on a belt, I think about how holds my outfit together securely. It makes sure that my outfit is unmoved and this is how we should view the belt of truth. We should be so sure in the truth that we learn and share that it is at the center of our being and holds us together securely. The breastplate of righteousness is placed near our hearts. Putting on righteousness reflects our character as Christ followers what our hearts are being transformed to look like. Because we are being guided by a Holy Shepherd, we know that our path is sure but that doesn’t mean that we won’t step on something sharp every now and then. For this very purpose, we put on shoes to protect our feet, right? So in life, when we stumble or step on something sharp that hurts us, having the Gospel there to protect us in our walk with God is so important! We’re then grounded and sure in the steps that we’ll talk to continue on. The shield of faith protects us from attacks that may come at us at various angels. The devil is going to do his best and try us from all angels in life whether it be finances, our health, our emotions, etc. In the same vain, we need to be ready to defend ourselves. Even when we don’t see the attack coming, we’ll have our faith there to protect our spirit! Our helmet of salvation is something I was unfamiliar with until recently. I never thought about how important it is to protect our heads. Our brain lives there and it is the epicenter of how our bodies run the way they do. If this is true, we need to have the solid knowledge of our salvation and what that means for our lives which is what this piece of our armor protects. The sword of the Spirit: swords are depicted at various points throughout the Bible from the Garden of Eden in Genesis when Adam and Eve are cast out to the book of Revelations in depictions of Heaven. They protect from oncoming attacks and also attack when on the offense. The Holy Spirit was sent to us in place of Jesus on earth once He rose to Heaven. The Spirit is, as is God and Jesus, for us in every way. He is there to defend and attack the enemy with. It is also important to note that in this verse, it says that the sword of the Spirit is the word of God! So this means to know Scripture. Every time you recite a verse or speak the name of Jesus, the devil is hurt and cast away because even demons know and fear the Lord. Amen!
Last but certainly not least, I want to talk about the last part of the section where it says to be praying always with prayer and supplication. Though not explicitly written, I consider prayer to be our holy battle cry. Battle cries were very much apart of war and it especially has a place in our spiritual warfare! When we pray, the earth is moved and Satan’s attempt on our hearts vanquished. Yell the name of the Lord in prayer and see how it makes you feel. When you shout from the depths of your lungs that Christ is Lord and utter even the quietest prayer, the enemy loses! In no version of the story of life does Satan win, can I get an amen?! How awesome is that? I consider prayer to be a powerful weapon and I pray that you feel the same way.
I had no idea the power of communicating with the Lord via prayer until recently. When I ask for peace, He gives it. When I ask to be released from our chains, He releases me. Without fail, every time. Prayer is so powerful and I am even more excited for the future now that I’ve started to really build a prayer life. Even just a quick prayer of thanks moves mountains and shows the Lord how much you want Him, even if it’s only a fraction of how much He wants us! Yes and amen. I hope this encourages you to truly think about what the armor of God looks like and maybe it even makes you want to start clothing yourself with it too. I know that as I continue in my journey, I am going to absolutely find clinging to the Lord a lot more desirable now that I know He has not only given me grace and mercy to be put into the army of the Lord but He even gives us protection that is enemy proof in the the long term sense of the war. Cause y’all, He’s already won the victory!