Food for the Soul: Christian, Are You Properly Armored?
Most of us agree that we live in an “evil day”. Unless you are OK with things like terrorism, out-of-control drug use, rampant sexual license, awful crimes committed daily and the like, not to mention worldwide unbelief in the God of creation, you must be one who sometimes despairs over the state of chaos around the globe. What are we to do if we call ourselves believers in the grace and mercy and power of the Lord Jesus Christ? One answer to this is found in Ephesians 6:13, where we read “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”
The oft-discussed but little used ‘armor’ spoken of here tells Christians they can successfully live their lives and be found standing at the end IF they abide by God’s teaching in this passage. One thing is abundantly clear when you read in context; He gives us NO armor for our backside- we’re expected to be playing offense more than defense. Let’s dig a little deeper and find some help to be on the winning side in the war for souls.
In actual physical warfare, every military person hopes to have the edge- maximum protection from harm plus maximum offensive advantage over his enemy. But we are told the warfare for a believer in Christ is not against flesh and blood; the enemy we face is called “spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
Over the years I had understood God’s armor for me was pictured by a Roman soldier ready for battle. His is a strong image if the battle is physical, but NOT if it is a spiritual one. I now believe that a better picture to grasp the immensity of God’s power for me and to me is the picture of Jesus with a lamb over His shoulders hanging on tightly to its legs. Some of you reading this are shocked because you, like me, have seen the Roman soldier image all of our lives as THE proper explanation. So why is this a better illustration?
We are told in verse 10 to “be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might.” In other words, winning this life-long fight is about reliance on God, the Warrior who saves. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. The physically puniest saint can resist the most powerful demon with God’s help. Our strength lies in the Lord of Hosts. God can overcome our enemies without our help, but we cannot so much as defend ourselves without His strong arm. Read Psalms 59:16, 17 for a clear Old Testament clarification of where our strength comes from. Then read Psalms 60:11, 12 for reinforcement of this fact.
William Gurnall wrote 350 years ago “He that was willing to expend His Son’s blood to gain you, will not deny His power to keep you. And how must God needs love that creature whom He carried so long in the womb of His eternal purpose?”
When we receive Christ as Lord and Savior He gets a firm grip on our lives, and keeps it. God takes us out of spiritual Egypt and starts us on our march toward heaven. And it is a dangerous environment through which we must pass, full of challenges. How can we survive the war? I Peter 1:5 gives the answer: “We are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.” Gurnall adds this thought: “The power of God is that shoulder on which Christ carries His sheep home. These everlasting arms of His strength are those eagle’s wings, upon which the saints are both tenderly and securely conveyed to glory.”
The battle belongs to the Lord. Though multitudes of evil ones stand against us, remember this- one Almighty is more than many mighties.
Jim pastors Abundant Life Church at 4380 Highway 66. Come learn more about winning in life with Jesus. 10:00 am Sundays.