Put on the Armor of God
Today we solemnly remember the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on America. For most of us 9/11 is a day we’ll never forget. The sun rose in tranquility and set with our country suffering great loss, confusion, and despair. It was, perhaps for the first time in my life, the day I truly realized the world is a very scary place!
Nineteen years later the world is still a pretty scary place. Viruses, riots, fires, hurricanes, and widespread uncertainty. In many places, churches are still shut down or only partially meeting, robbing believers of greatly needed fellowship during these challenging times. It’s easy to wonder what on earth is going on and how any of this makes sense.
Thankfully, God’s Word always has an answer!
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)
The world is not a crazy place by accident. There is a very real spiritual war raging on at this very moment. The enemy is fighting for power and doing everything he can to inflict losses on his opponent: God and His saints. It would be unwise of us to dismiss the madness of the present world as just random happenstance or blame it on politicians.
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 firm. (Ephesians 6:13)
Scripture exhorts the church to ‘suit up’ and not sit by passively in this heavenly war. Paul instructs the church to put on the whole armor of God (not some of it) and stand firm (don’t sit or sleep, be active) in the faith. He actually repeats this directive in verses 11 and 13. There’s no option presented, no dodging the draft. We’re enlisted!
He goes on to outline this armor and how we are to wear it:
Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. (Ephesians 6:14-18a)
A faithful pastor could exposit this passage for months, but I’ll give you what immediately comes to my mind as I read this: Did you notice that all this armor is provided by God? These are not defenses and weaponry we craft ourselves, instead we only put them on by being diligent in our faith, prayer, and study of God’s Word. As we fill-up on the Lord, our armor is added, strengthened and properly fitted. Every moment in Scripture or in prayer, every instance where we put trust and faith over fear, God strengthens our armor and sharpens our spiritual sword.
Let’s be strong and courageous soldiers, tightening up our armor by dedicating our hearts to faith, prayer, belief in the saving gospel of Christ, and getting to know God more through the study of His Word. This war is nothing to fear - we are on the winning team!
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. (Revelation 21:4)