Ephesians 6:13Therefore take up the whole armor of God so that you will be able to resist in the evil day and having done everything to stand firm.
We must take up every part of the armor: we must read the word, pray, apply truth, walk in righteousness, remember the hope of our salvation, and walk in peace. If we don’t do all the things then we won’t be able to stand firm in the Lord. Sure, will be able to stand, but you’ll be tossed around like you’re in a storm.
Andrea‘s version: because our enemy is a spiritual one, not a physical one, we must pick up the complete armor of God with intent to use it. Looking forward to the purpose of the armor, with which we are being empowered by God to stand against the schemes of the devil during the bad days, and we have done everything to produce a decisive finality on which to make ourselves stand.
What are practical ways we can “take up” our armor every day? What keeps you from doing this? More personally, what do you identify in your life as an area that you can improve on “taking up your armor”? What specifically is keeping you from doing that?
It is imperative that we pick up, with intent to use, the entirety of God’s armor. If we are picking up the Bible in order to check it off of our list as “done”, we’re not intending to use it properly. If we’re praying because it’s what we’re supposed to do, then we are not really intending to use it as the weapon it is. Our faith is not about us. Our relationship with God is not about serving our own needs. We must do some heart digging to know if we are working out our faith with fear and trembling or if we’re working out our faith with an equation. A+B=C; Prayer+Bible Time=Blessings and Righteous living. I lived this way for many years, I learned much, my heart was moved. But it was based upon feelings and emotions rather than truth. We can’t live our faith from one emotionally captivating moment to the next. Because during the times in between emotional moments we’ll be left wondering if God is there, if He loves us, or maybe we’ll over criticize ourselves and tailspin into the lie of perfection.
Can you identify with this equation of faith living? Are you there now? Do you have portions of your life where you might be living this way, if not entirely? Pray that the Lord would change your heart; that He would fill you with the fullness of His knowledge (see Colossians 1:9-12).
1 Corinthians 13 “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or clanging symbol. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith that can move a mountain, But do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” Often we look at this chapter as how we are to treat others, but how about we apply it to how we treat God? Is your relationship with God about You loving Him, or has the enemy come in and twisted His truth in awful ways? I’ve carried the lie of perfection, I’ve been entrenched by the lie of equation faith, I’ve lived from spiritual high to spiritual high with depression in between.
I love this idea that we must pick up the armor of God. When we reach down to take something up, to raise it up to the appropriate level we must exert effort, strength, time, resources. Pretend your moving…it may not be too much of a stretch for some of you to pretend. You have a ton of boxes laying around, waiting to be loaded into the truck. Each box holds something of yours. Something important, necessary, special. Without all the boxes your move wouldn’t be complete.
Now you come to the part of your move where you have to start loading your boxes onto the vehicle. With every box you bend to pick up there is an intent, effort and resources used, and a consequence. Your intent is to load the boxes onto the truck, thus one more box closer to be moved. You exert physical force. You’re using up time. And as women, generally speaking, a lot of emotion goes with moving. Lastly, the consequence: you now have that one box loaded. Being one box closer to your goal or your intent. As your moving day progresses you’ll hit trials: erupting emotions, physical injuries or pains, exhaustion, hunger and thirst. But when you keep the end in mind it tends to encourage you to push through all of these trials. My prayer is that this analogy will help you remember to put on the full armor of God. With intent to use it.
What is our end goal as a follower of Jesus? We can look forward to the hope of our salvation rather than focusing on the specifics. How does this work in your life? Is this something you’re struggling with? How can you make one small change today to change your focus?
In one of the earlier studies we briefly discussed that the purpose of our life is to worship God. I have a friend who commonly says, “Who can I love on today?“ This is her conviction and version of worshipping God with her life. So what if we too, woke up in the morning and instead of begrudgingly exited our beds, we asked, “How can I worship God today?“ Can you imagine the impact this would have on our days!?
I’d like you to pause a moment. Reflect on your past day or more, how could this question have changed one of your reactions, thoughts, the way you went about a situation? For me I probably would’ve had a softer reaction towards my daughter had this been floating in the back of my mind. I might’ve been more generous or loving toward someone. So I ask you, how can you worship God today?
Ephesians 6:13 “This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.”
1 Thessalonians 5: 5, 8 “You were all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or darkness… But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breast plate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.”
2 Timothy 4:15 “You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.”
I think this verse in Timothy is so fascinating in light of the context here in Ephesians. “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood…” Yet here, Paul is warning Timothy to guard himself against Alexander the metal worker, who caused much harm. The word used to describe the actions of Alexander here, is “lian.” It means to exceedingly, greatly or vigorously oppose Paul and Timothy’s ministry. He was standing, so sure and so strongly against the grace, hope, love, joy, forgiveness and the completeness that God offers.
Have you ever done that? Been so sure about something that your stubbornness and pride, your sin, blinded you? Have you ever been so sure in yourself that whatever anyone said you pay no attention to it?
We can look at the politics of today; any major social issue, and see this happening. I imagine a court room: two sides, both so sure they’re right, neither party willing to give an inch.
I’ve personally been in this sinful state. I was so opposed to church, Church, and all things God. I was having too much fun in my sin. When it comes to taking your stand in this temporal world, we would do good to remember just that: it’s temporary. It all burns anyway. As my mom told me growing up, “Know those few things you would be willing to die for on a hill. Then hold them in your hand so tight that you don’t let anyone take them away.“
I was reminded today as I was editing this that even when we have a personal conviction, we’re on board with God, we’re gung-ho, ready to accomplish it, we can still fail. I did. But it’s because I was doing it in my own strength, I was not putting on the armor in the way that God called. I was not using my spiritual weapons properly. I was trying to be righteous in my own power, and that just doesn’t work. We must remember to stand in the might of the Lord.
The stand we take in the spiritual realm is of utmost importance. Because if you’re standing on the wrong side, it could cost you eternal life. I stood against God. He was gracious enough to humble me here on Earth for His purpose and will to be done. It saddens my heart to think that people passed by the opportunities He gave them to bow their knee here in this temporary world. For we know that every knee will bow at the name of Jesus Christ (see Philippians 2:10 or Romans 14:11 or Isaiah 45:23). We must be careful what we stand your ground on.
Are you standing your ground on this Earth, or are you standing your ground on God’s truth? Are you trying to stand in your own strength, or are you relying on the Lord might to stand? Examine the ground in your life. Is it full of truth, love, joy, peace, contentment, compassion? Or are you standing in a forest of lies, deceit, anger, impure thoughts, greed?
Colossians 3 and Galatians 5 are very clear about the ground we should and should not be standing on. “Set your hearts on things above, set your mind on things above.” We have to burn the forest of weeds , we have to pluck them out one by one. I don’t know where you’re at in your walk. Truly only God knows. Maybe you need to burn it all the the ground to allow new life, Jesus’ life, to grow up from the ashes. New life is always born after a great forest fire. Maybe it’s gardening season for you, and you need to be actively plucking the sin that keeps growing in your fertile soil.
I experienced recently a season of first growth. Here’s what I mean by that. If you’ve ever planted a garden and waited for sprouts to shoot through the soil you might begin to wonder what’s a weed and what’s going to be good fruit. Salad is especially difficult to know until it’s maturing. This is when a seasoned gardener can come in and help you determine weed from plant. You may be here spiritually. Unsure what’s truly good fruit, and what’s sin disguising itself as light. It’s tough sometimes.
John 15 is when Jesus Himself uses gardening as an analogy. God is the gardener. Jesus is the vine. We are the branches that bear fruit, or don’t. Our fruit is our life. How much of our life is full of good fruit? Are you in chaos, are you overwhelmed, exhausted, surrounded by drama? How’s your soil? Maybe you need a little manure added in to give your soil a restart. Spiritually, where are you sowing to the flesh, and where are you sowing to the Spirit?
Galatians 6:8 “Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” I’m going to give you an example from my own life. I’ve been convicted of the way that I eat-my body is a temple created to house the Spirit of God, and if my temple is not properly cared for then how could I possibly expect to accomplish all that He has planned for me? Is it nourishing foods, or not? I have not been heeding that conviction lately. James 4:17 says that for those of you “know the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin…” By not living in such a way that God has called of me I have been poisoning my heart slowly, allowing sin to take root. There are consequences for our sin, sometimes we see these consequences immediately, maybe later down the road, maybe not until we reach eternity. Galatians 5:9, and 1 Corinthians 5:6 – “a little yeast leavens the whole lump.” A little bit of poop in the brownie makes the whole batch awful. And earthquake isn’t just felt at the epicenter but has effects worldwide. Don’t fool yourself into thinking…no…don’t let the enemies lies take root in your heart and mind, thinking that a little bit is ok, especially if God has said no.
1 Peter 5:9 “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of settings.”