The Armor of God: Part 1

Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.

“Be strong” – endunamoo – Increase in strength, to receive strength, to be strengthened, to increase in union with the Lord
“in the Lord” – kurios – The Lord, exercising absolute ownership rights
“and in the strength” – kratos – dominion, power; a mighty deed (from a root word meaning “to perfect, complete” … in this verse context is the might of HIS strength
“of His might”– ischus – strength, power, might, force, ability…power (over external things) afforded by strength

After looking at the original Greek, I have come up with my own version of this verse: “This strength is the ability for us to increase our union with the Lord, who has complete rights to our lives anyway, through His perfect and complete power over external things.” This brings new life to Philippians 4:13 for me: “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

Since we are going to be looking so much as strength today, it’s important to look at our weaknesses too. Take a look at 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. I think Paul is saying that he rather enjoys his weaknesses because then Christ has all the more opportunity to shine, and isn’t that the goal in life? To let the Lord’s light shine before all men. Matthew 5:14-16 is a great illustration straight from Jesus’ lips about how brightly our lights should shine. Look at the end of verse 16 – so “that they may see…and glorify your Father in Heaven.”

It circles back to that infamous question, “Why are we here?” Answer: to worship God. How then, are you worshipping God? Is your whole life a reflection of Christ? Where are you struggling in your journey of faith? Look to the Lord for your strength!

Weary? Isaiah 40:29-31; Psalm 73:26
Fear? Isaiah 41:10, 13; Deuteronomy 31:6
Rejected? Isaiah 41:9; 2 Timothy 4:16-17
Dry/Empty? Isaiah 41:17-18
Knocked Down? Psalm 18:33
Psalm 18:2, 32, 28:7-8, 29:11, 46:1, 59:9; Proverbs 31:25

I wonder if what Paul was getting at is that in devotion to Christ we offer our lives as a living sacrifice to His will. In that sacrifice we are bound to see we have weaknesses, but God is so much bigger than our weaknesses. And when we’re honest with God, with ourselves and those around us, our weaknesses begin to fad as Christ steps in and covers them. He doesn’t always take them away as if they never existed, but He covers them in a way that He is seen in our lives rather than us. The Lord is seen, not our inadequacies.

It’s much easier for us when we are seeking God during this process of refinement, is it not? Not that it will be easy-because life in a sin stained world is not easy. However, look at what Jesus Himself says in Matthew 11:28-29: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Is anyone else just absolutely basking in that promise?

As we go through our lives we would do good to remember this: God is pruning the branches that bear fruit so that they may bear even more fruit; no branch can bear fruit by itself, it must remain in the vine. The vine being Jesus. As He remains in us, let us also remain in Him (John 15). Let us do this so that we may be the Father’s glory by bearing much fruit. I love what one of my pastor’s said this last Sunday about glory: it is to live your life in such a way that those around you have a good opinion of God.

But what fruit is it that we bear? The fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5 and Colossians 3. Love. And through love we see joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control and compassion. As we devout ourselves to God’s, love and all these things ooze from our pores. We are a pleasing aroma to God. If you know about my love for essential oils, then you know I’m all about pleasing aromas.

This may beg the question then, how do we remain in Christ, how do we continue shining His light, how do we worship God with all of our life, particularly when life is hard?

1. You must stay in the Word of God, or use The Sword of the Spirit. Daily! “Oh, but everyday is so hard. I’m just too busy. I don’t have the time.” This may not come out very gracious, but really!? You don’t have time for the creator of the universe? You don’t have 5 minutes you can devout to Him? But I agree, it can be a challenge to figure out when and where to fit in the time with God. Here’s my personal belief, which is supported Biblically by Jesus: first thing in the morning. (And make it something interesting ya’ll). Let me drive my point home a bit further here: how often is Satan trying to steal and kill and destroy you? Every single day. And sometimes he’s not even taking a break while you’re sleeping. So, yes, read and study your Bible daily.

2. You must exercise faith. Exercise implies that you’re strengthening something. How do you strengthen your faith then? Stay in the Word of God as you walk, run, stumble and fall through this race of life. Faith is the assurance of things not seen and confidence in what we hope for. As we go through life with confidence in our hope in the Lord, and assured through the Word of God, our faith turns into a Shield with which we can duck behind, or hold high as we extinguish the fiery darts of the evil one. I’ve even recently pictured my Shield of Faith growing larger with each trial.

3. When we equip ourselves with the Sword of the Spirit, and the Shield of Faith, our Breastplate of Righteousness begins to form around our life. Righteousness will protect our heart and vital organs and our back. The righteousness that God is working out in you and allowing to flourish will give you strength to make the right decisions when facing temptation, it will protect you from relying solely on your own strength, or, may the Lord forbid, your emotions or feelings. Instead you are able to rely on God’s truth. When circumstances begin to loom over you like a dark cloud, or your life seems to be spinning out of control, or a situation rises up suddenly, you get to rest in your righteousness. Knowing that you have already have a line of defense in place.

4. Speaking of God’s truth…we are to wrap the Belt of Truth around ourselves, as if allowing it to hold us together. We are then able to walk in His truth which we can find in the Word of God. If you follow Priscilla Shirer with Going Beyond Ministries there are several events she has spoken about regarding the Armor of God. In her speech she talks about how the Belt of Truth helps take the weight of your own righteousness.

5. When we strive to equip ourselves with all these attributes and disciplines we are then moved, and fully prepared by God to spread the Gospel of Peace. It becomes natural to spread that peace where ever our feet take us.

6. And isn’t that our great mission? To tell others about the Helmet of Salvation. With which, none of these other pieces would fit. So you see, it’s a full circle. Salvation leads to the Word which leads to faith, and righteousness, leading to knowing and walking in the truth, and where we walk we carry with us the Gospel of Peace. Salvation leads to the Word, and to faith and righteousness and truth…it’s all connected. They aren’t really separate pieces at all.

7. And then there’s Prayer.

The power and strength and might that Paul is mentioning here in Ephesians 6:10 is most certainly an active strength. When you think about a battle, it’s not a place you imagine to be relaxing, or comfortable, a nice place to rest and rejuvenate. NO! Why then do we think that we can rest in our devotion to God? Leaving fellowship, or taking a day off? I’m guilty of this. In fact just just a few weeks ago, when I was sick (flu sick), I thought, ‘I don’t need God, I’m sick. I’ll be fine. I’m not going to work; I can barely have an attitude anyway with how sick I am. I got this.’ Let me tell you how well that didn’t work for me. I was an awful human being to be around. Isn’t it so reassuring though, to know that the power of Christ can cover a multitude of scenarios? Cancer, death, moving, relationship struggles, mental or emotional distress…the list could on. If Christ’s power works in the midst of a battle, then boy howdy, He can do anything!

I did a quick search in the Bible to see what else the power of God is described as, likened to, or emulated as. [This is where you can grab your Bible and look with me]. Ephesians 1:19-20 The Resurrection Power. Psalm 68:32:35 It can be/should be proclaimed; resides in Heaven; over us-not tyrannically, but rather compassionately, with a downward care for us; the power of His sanctuary is awesome; he freely shares it with us. *Mark 12:24 The power of God is for the living. Job 27:11 We teach others about God’s indescribable power. 1 Corinthians 1:24 Christ is the power of God. *Acts 8:10 Satan often disguises himself as the power of God.
*Context is important for these verses; go back far enough to get a feel for the Scripture and message.

The power of God: justifies, saves, reconciles, judges, loves infinitely, creates life, gives life, demands holiness, forgives.

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If we go back to Ephesians 6:10, we see that the power of God lives within us, working personally and communally, as the Church. And it’s God’s power working in us and through us that puts us in a place to choose to put on the Armor of God to fight against our enemy. Don’t miss this: it is a choice; it is your choice. God is not going to force you into relationship with Him, that would go against all He is. But He has given you all the tools to fight successfully, you just have to pick them up, clothe yourself with them, and stand firm in your choices.

We agree then, that the power of God is in us, right? Then let’s talk about the kind of environment you have you created for the Lord to dwell in. What is the state of His house? You’re the keeper of the house, what have you been doing to it? If you watch the show “Stranger Things,” is it like the Upside Down? Do you have locked doors that disallow Holy Spirit to truly roam freely in your life? Do you have piles of clutter you or Holy Spirit are tripping over, or is your life so full right now ya’ll are walking in pathways in your house? Are you holding on to anything that you know the Lord disapproves of? Are you an active participant in keeping the house clean? Are you like I was as a teenager, allowing things to gather and sit and build and pile for ages, and then finally doing a big, deep clean, only to let it all fill up again? Are you putting up a front of cleanliness or righteousness, knowing that inside it’s really a different story? What kind of place have you built for God to dwell in?

Can God truly move freely within you in order to accomplish His plan? What are the obstacles you have out you might be tripping up on, or might be holding up God’s plan?


Prayer is a Powerful Weapon

Andi Anderson

Have you ever had one of those weeks where nothing could get you down? It feels like you are walking hand in hand with God. He’s got you. You’re His girl, and He isn’t going to let anything knock you down.

And then there’s the week where everything seems to be going wrong. You forget your morning devotion time or skip it completely on purpose (!?). You’re at your Husband’s throat for no reason. AND you’re on your period.

While the last 16 weeks or so has been closer to the first described, this last week has been all of the second scenario and more.

Perspective Check: I don’t have cancer, I’m not addicted to drugs, and I’m not pregnant (Yay God!). This is a little thing some of my closest friends and I do when we’ve had a really rough week. And considering most of them are of menopausal age, it really is a YAY GOD that they aren’t pregnant. 

I was reminded this morning that prayer is one the most important weapons we have in our spiritual arsenal. I wish I would have done more to listen to that reminder. Hindsight and all that… The week has left me so emotionally raw. I can’t seem to focus, I’m on the verge of tears, I feel like I’m going to just lose it at any moment, my husband is getting the beating from it all, and all I need to do is stop and pray.

We could probably quote scripture to each other all day long about prayer: where to pray, how to pray, when to pray, what to pray, praying in Spirit and truth, praying continuously… Really, the list could go on. I could fill this blog post with all those scripture references, but where’s the fun in giving you all the answers? Open up your Bible and study prayer for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.

I’m writing to you on my lunch break now. I want to convey to you how prayer has affected my day. When I began my day I was easily angered, picking fights with my husband, running to the bathroom every 15-30 minutes to have a mini cry session (talk about being unproductive at work!), unable to focus, and everything was setting me off. I sat in my car for lunch and started typing this post, and it was awful! The anger inside me was pouring out onto the screen in front of me and I couldn’t stop it. I finally threw my phone down on the seat next to me in utter frustration. “This is awful!” I yelled at God. And then it came. The release I needed. Sobbing, pouring my heart out to God. “I’m sorry I’m so angry. I’m sorry I can’t do it all. I’m sorry I’m letting people down. I’m sorry I was so mean to my husband…” The list went on. All the things I’ve been holding on to for days now came gushing out in tears, sorrow, pain and snot. I took a breath, and then I was done. I simply didn’t have any more tears to cry, no more snot to wipe. The sorrow and pain were gone. And all that remains is a peace that I can’t explain.

I needed to unload all my burdens to God, because that’s what He wants from me. I love being able to talk to Him about whatever: constipation or diarrhea, marital problems, parenting problems, friend problems, work problems, I get to thank Him every morning for the beauty I see during my commute, I get to praise Him for His handiwork I see in my life, I get to worship Him with my words for no reason in particular except that He is God.

Prayer is a mighty tool. A weapon that can not be forgotten during your battle. Our battle is 24/7 my friends, which is why we are instructed to pray continuously. Our enemy does not rest, but even greater than that, OUR GOD DOES NOT REST! He does not sleep. He cares about all the details of your life, big, small and everything in between.

I once had a patient tell me she only talked to God about the big stuff, because He was so busy you know with all the wars, and cancer, and other big stuff people have going on. How sad her faith must be. How misinformed she was. I pray to this day that she would know God’s true character. And I pray the same for you.

Share your life with God, share your heart with Him.