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Today’s guest blogger is Jim Quigley. Jim has been a part of NewLife since August, after moving up from New Jersey, and is an engineer who also works with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Trinity College. As we focus on spiritual warfare with our memory verses for February, Jim will share the second part of what he wrote, “Preparing for battle.”
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:10-17)
How often do you see a football player in a game without his pads and helmet on? Or a marathon runner without sneakers on? If you were a betting man, would you put your money on the team that didn’t use baseball gloves or the one that was fully equipped? Sure, you could run a marathon without sneakers and you could play football without pads. But the risk of injury greatly increases and you could very well be sidelined for the rest of your career. A team has a better chance of being victorious and avoiding injury if they are using the proper gear. While this may sound obvious, far too often we see Christians marching out to battle stark naked as it were, with nothing to protect them. And far too often they get hurt badly. But God has provided us with armor to wear for the spiritual battles that we face. But again, we tend to dismiss its importance, neglect it all together, or think that we can just suit up when we need to. But the spiritual battles we face are constant and the enemy is not going to wait for us to get our armor on. We need to be ready every day to engage in spiritual warfare and that means we need to be geared up and game ready at all times.
Each piece of the armor is critical to our survival out in the battle field. First, we are given the Belt of Truth. Some translations render it as “having your loins girt with the truth” (Ephesians 6:14, KJV), where the phrase “to girt one’s loins” means to prepare oneself for action. Further, the word “girt” is the root for our word “girdle” which is an article of clothing worn around our waist used to cinch back some of our belly fat. Similarly, the Belt of Truth is meant to hold back our flesh, or our sinful nature, with the Truth that comes from Jesus.
Next we are given the Breastplate of Righteousness, which guards and protects our hearts. The heart is essential to our faith and our walk with Christ and as such, we must protect it from the attacks of the enemy. Proverbs 4:23 says “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” 1 Samuel 16:7 states “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Proverbs 3:5 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” And 2 Chronicles 16:9 states “For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” See how important the heart is? The enemy wants to attack and destroy our hearts for it is with our hearts that we trust and love the Lord. Protect it with the Breastplate of Righteousness.
We then have our feet “fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” We are to take faith in the Gospel and stand firm in the faith that we profess. We are to know and believe that God is with us always as it says in Joshua 1:9: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Stand firm in the Gospel and resist the attacks and advances of the enemy. Next, we are provided with the Shield of Faith to block the attacks from the enemy. We remember that it is our faith in Jesus and in the cross that we are saved. It is by faith that we can overcome and put to death our sin. And thus, it is by faith in Jesus that we can block and deflect the vicious lies and attacks of the enemy.
To protect our head, we are given the Helmet of Salvation. The mind is where the spiritual battle takes place and we are to guard it from the infectious lies of the enemy. Our thoughts are so important that Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 10:5 to “take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” He again reiterates the need to keep a holy mindset when he says in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Protect your head from the enemy with the Helmet of Salvation and keep your mind focused on Jesus.
Lastly, we are given our only weapon against the enemy; the Sword of the Spirit. The Word of God, when used properly, can strike down the enemy and stop him dead in his tracks. Learn it and keep it always on your heart and on your tongue. Don’t hesitate to use the Sword at the faintest sign of temptation or enemy attack. It is better and easier to strike down the temptation immediately than if we let it fester for a while and build a strong hold. Suit up every day in the armor that God gave you so that you may be fully prepared to face the enemy in battle.
The interesting thing about the armor of God is that there is no piece to protect out back. And I believe there is a reason for that. We are not meant to turn and run from the enemy. We are meant to charge into battle, knowing that “if God is for us, who can be against us” (Romans 8:31). We already have victory over death and over the enemy through Christ Jesus. So there is no need to retreat, no need to turn our backs and run away from battle. As it says in James 4:7, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” We do not flee from satan; he flees from us. Remember that. He flees from us. He has no authority or power over us. But what satan has done is lie to us and has instilled fear in us. Fear that we will fail. Fear that we are not good enough. Fear that we don’t have what it takes. Fear of leaving a life of comfort. Fear that he can hurt us. Fear that God will not be there for us. And the list goes on. But what is crucial to understand is that not one of these fears has any truth to them at all. None. Nothing. Nada. Nunca. Aucun. Nessuno. Othing Nay. Have I spoken your language yet? Be emboldened that the enemy has no power and no authority over you. That in Christ you have all power and authority over him. That when YOU resist him, HE flees. Take heart and listen to what Jesus says to his disciples in Matthew 28:18-20: “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” Since Jesus lives in each believer, it is His power and His authority that we call upon. It is by His power and His authority that we triumph over the enemy. So go and suit up with the armor of God. Go knowing that the enemy is trying to take you out at all cost. Go knowing that the enemy will lie to you and try to cripple you with fear. Go knowing that the enemy has no power over you. Go knowing that Jesus is with you always and will never leave your side. Go and make disciples of all the nations. Go and fight courageously for God.
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