The armor of God. Do you know, I’ve now typed this phrase several times, and one little, two-letter word just struck a chord – of. Not from (though it is given), not in (as if we need to do the work), not even through (again, implying only through our works can we “wear” this privilege), but of God. Our bodies, our hearts, our minds, our souls, our armor – invented, planned, prepared, crafted, enjoyed, in the image of God. WE are the armor of God. Gotta chew on this for awhile.
Well, let’s take a look at this final piece of armor, and then we’ll review (one of those teacher words that I can’t get away from!) Once again, let’s crack open good ol‘ Ephesians 6. Let’s meander down to verse 17, shall we?
Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
The sword – ah-ha! What visual pictures does this word conjure up in your mind – those with boys know the meaning of this word well, knowing a sword can be any type of inanimate object that gets jabbed into the air, maybe visions of Pirates of the Caribbean dance in your head? Perhaps a picture of the Olympics and fencing enter in, Princess Bride anyone, or maybe Zorro? I’m always amazed at the confidence and agility of swordsmen (or ladies). Knowing that at any moment, the same action that could impale your opponents may come right back and impale you. How so with the word of God? Could it be perhaps that the same truth we are empowered with can be used against us when twisted and manipulated from the evil one? Reckless words pierce like a sword (Proverbs 12:18)
The word of God is described as alive, Hebrews 4 :12 states that the word of God is living and active. Sharper than a double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. As I see it, the word cuts and divides, just like a sword. It divides truth from lies, perfection from humanity, fact from opinion. In this changing world, it’s something we can bank on. It’s the infallible, inerrant word of God (to quote my pastor 🙂
What I also find interesting is that each piece of this armor alone cannot work without the other parts. The helmet does not work without the hands placing it on the head, the belt of truth does nothing if there is no waist to wrap it around, the body will fall without a shield to protect it from flaming arrows of deceit, and the sword will not distinguish truth without the hands being able to pick it up and the mind to use it correctly.
In her book, Believing God, Beth Moore states, “the way I see it, God gave us two hands. If we want to live abundantly and victoriously, we must pick up both the Shield and the Sword. To pick up the sword without the shield is to shrivel and dry up in the land of legalism. To pick up the Shield without the Sword is to try walking by faith on quicksand.” Is it fair to suggest then that God wants us to use them in tandem? I can you you that until 3 years ago, I lived by faith, but not by the word. I really did stand on quicksand, in fact, sinking all the way to my neck at times.
So if we know this, why do we not pick them up, stand in them, walk in them, in fact, realize they are of God? May I humbly suggest our stinkin flesh. We want what we want, often times that means what is easy, comfortable, convenient, and feel-good. We don’t wanna crack open that dusty book. When we do, it’s for a quick-fix. We place expectations on “it”, daring “it” to show us all that others proclaim it to be. It’s simply another cardboard cover with pages, words, sentences, paragraphs, and those weird numbers all over the place, how in the world can it be “alive”? Yep, I’ve had those same thoughts, they appear very true. But let me ask you this, where did we get this information, what’s our source? Can we answer this? Do we want to answer this?
I can tell you this, I don’t know much, but this I can say. There is no possible explanation for the changes that have come in my life from anything that I alone have done. I’ve tried it my way, I’ve willed it, I persisted in it, I’ve searched for it, I’ve been left exhausted by it. This word of God has created such a craving in my life that I wake up thinking about it, I talk with Him often about it, I emplore others in conversations about it, and I even tackle projects that I never thought possible about it (ahem…blogging). All this in pursuit of more of Him. He is just insatiable to me, I can’t get enough. It’s the strangest, hardest, most not-understandable, most thrilling adventure in my life thus far, who woulda thought.
Alright, let’s wrap up. In my feeble attempt to help create a visual to aid in memory, let’s review from head to toe:
- Helmet of salvation
- Breastplate of righteousness
- Belt of truth
- Hands holding the – shield of faith, and sword of theSpirit
- Feet made with readiness
Pretty awesome picture isn’t it. As I picture this person, I also see an expression of quiet confidence, calm and relaxed facial features, and a slight smile from knowing what has come with their equipment. Hold onto this picture with all your might, we need it to not only survive, but to thrive. To live life, not without stuggles, but with joy. And even more importantly, to pass on the good news that this is available for all people, yes all.
In conclusion, just wanna give you a peak at the following verse (18). It says, “And pray in the Spirit on all occassions will all kinds of prayers and requests.” I’m gettin an inclination that perhaps we could delve into this concept next, one of my favorites… prayer. God bless!