July 1, 2010
Armor 'n Enemies
by Shawn McEvoy, Crosswalk.com Managing Editor
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. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.
Six pieces of armor. Five primarily defensive, one primarily offensive. And yet...
Have you ever used the chest-bumper of righteoueness on someone? How about the head-butter of salvation? The bludgeoner of faith? The shin-kicker of readiness or the gut-puncher of holiness?
Even the sword of the spirit has its proper purpose - to fight our enemies. Which are?
Other Christians? Unbelievers? Mean people?
While we humans can all be so hard on each other, no. One verse earlier, Paul tells us what we're fighting:
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 (v. 12).
Quite convicting, really. Not only do I clearly go into many days without getting completely dressed, even when I do I'm mis-using my equipment, fighting in the dark, swinging blindly, or wounding with friendly fire.
I don't know about you, but for me, the elemental Bible verses I first learned as a youth (like today's verse) are the ones I need to continually reconsider, because they're the ones I tend to just believe without acting upon.
When times come - like these days we're in now - where there is fierce political thought and lines being drawn and opinions spouted as truth, including the opinion that there is no truth - it's just so easy to get drawn in before we remember to put on our armor or be trained in using it. When that happens, we tend to view our enemies as each other, and forget or deny that the war is still spiritual. And therefore more serious, more wearying, not less.
Intersecting Faith & Life: Get dressed this morning, and tomorrow morning. Once equipped, try emphasizing the defensive uses of most of the armor. Stand up for someone. Protect the reputation of another. Shelter someone in loving truth. Run quickly to someone in need. I pray you'll begin to survive your days much less scathed.