So what does the armor of God look like for me?
The belt of truth. The belt of truth – with a little “t”. What is my truth? God loves me and has a plan for me. He works all things together for my good. He will never leave me or forsake me. He will be with me always. Truth with a big “T.” Who is my Truth? Jesus. Period. The End.
The body armor of God’s righteousness. Matt said it great this week in Class when he said that this is what protects my core. For me, God’s righteousness is the Character of Christ. When I put on the breastplate, I am literally putting aside myself and putting on His character; His love, His compassion, His obedience, His priority. The list goes on and on.
For shoes, put on peace. When I read this I think of the child’s song that says, ‘oh be carefully little feet where you go’... but with a twist. My shoes can walk me away from a fight. My shoes can also walk me into a conflict as an instrument of peace. But peace takes willful choice. Peace takes action. Peace begins with the quieting of my soul.
Shield of faith. Belief in what I know and who I know is truth, regardless of what I see or feel. It is only with the power that comes from God that I can be protected from the flamed attacks of Satan.
Helmet of salvation. I must submit my mind to the will and direction of God. My salvation is not a feeling. My salvation is a decision that I made to accept the presence of Christ in my life. When times are difficult and scary, when I feel vulnerable, beat up and afraid, I must cling to the knowledge that Christ is with me. I have to know that I am saved even when I don’t feel it.
Sword of the Spirit. (Which is the word of God/The Bible) A sword is useless in the hands of someone who does not know how to wield it. A true swordsman studies their weapon. They know it completely. They keep the edge sharp and practice with it daily. In the same way we need to keep our skills with our sword (the Bible) honed and ready for battle. If we want to use His Word to block attacks and cut through hate and skepticism, then we need to know what is in it. We can’t apply His Truth to our lives and correctly tell others about His Truth if we don’t know what His Truth is. Time spent in His Word daily prepares us for the battles of everyday life.
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on all occasions. What good is my armor if I am not in constant contact with my leader? And oh yeah, prayer is not a one sided conversation. It’s not my little email that I send to God and then wait to see if He has a ‘reply’. It’s my honoring who He is. It’s me seeking His voice. It’s me doing the ‘shut up and listen’…and not just between breaths. And it covers the victories too. It is praise filled. It’s in the moment. Instead of saying “I will pray about that”, it is taking a moment, a deep breath, and a step of faith and saying “lets just take a sec and pray about that right now.” WARNING : Even the most seasoned Christians are sometimes surprised with this transition. Having someone just stop in the mall and put their hand on you and pray, or stop in the hall, or heaven forbid stop in the middle of a Bible lesson or service – to pray – this can and will catch people off guard. But I think God loves it!
Stay alert and persistent in all your prayers. Alert – I need to keep my head in the game. I need to remember what “the game” actually is. Am I paying attention to the direction of my leader? Am I listening to what He actually has to say and not just checking in to make sure that He is on my page? Do I approach life with eternal perspective? Persistent – constant, unending, unwavering, without ceasing.
So this is a new day. And today I think I shall start a new tradition. Today I will start with praying on my armor.
*** A great big shout out to Larry Fortado and the great people in "No Walls". I love doing life with you every Sunday Morning. Our lesson this past week really got my mind working and my heart searching. And giant thank you's to Matt Wilson for his wisdom as I chewed through this truth.