There are some mornings where I wake up and feel completely unprepared for the day. I’m tired, I’m a little grumpy, and I can’t imagine being patient with people. I have to take time to put on the full armor of God like Steve talked about on Sunday. Unfortunately, it is not something that I just wake up with ready to go. It takes time in God’s Word. I’m afraid that is where we lose some people. If it is too much work, they don’t want to put the time in. But, when you think about it, everything in life that truly means something will take work.
The armor of God is a belt, a breastplate, shoes, shield, and a helmet. We also get a sword, but we are not fighting against flesh and blood (Eph. 6:12). The first thing we are called to put on is Truth. This is the foundation of our armor. You may hear the question, “Whose truth are you talking about?” As a Christian, your only answer should be, “God’s Truth.” God’s Truth does not change with the tide, political stances, or nationalities. The world, as a whole, must answer to God, and we must all follow His Truth written in His Word. The truth is that we all fall short of the mark, and we all have to rely on God to save us. Not one of us is enough in any way without Christ. No one is better or more important than anyone else.
The next thing we put on is what the New Living Translation refers to as “the body armor of God’s righteousness.” Not our righteousness. Remember, we are nothing without Christ. He has provided a path for us to get to God. We can’t make it on our own. The body armor or breastplate protects our hearts. All too often we forget to protect this vital organ. We forget that what we put into our brains seeps into our hearts. If we put good, Christ-focused things in, love and blessings for others pour out of our hearts. If we put negative, self-focused things in, bitterness comes out or we have nothing at all to give to others. How are you filling your heart?
Our feet need to be fitted to move, to be ready to go. We are commanded to go out and preach the Good News. It is the Gospel of peace. Not conflict, not combat, not war on the world. We are not fighting people, we are fighting against Satan’s lies. Preaching the Good News means we share the hope we have through Christ, like Peter says in 1 Peter 3:15 “...be prepared to give the reason for the hope that you have.” It means we are sharing love, mercy, grace, and peace in a world that is lost and lonely. How can we get prepared, how do we know actual hope if we are not spending time reading God’s Word?
The next piece is a shield. Our shield of faith. Think of what happens when you have faith God will provide or God will take care of a situation. When doubts are whispered in your ear, doesn’t that faith make it so much easier to ignore them? We don’t have to fear, we don’t need to be anxious, and we don’t need to doubt. In Matthew 17:20, Jesus said, “‘Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.’”
The helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit are the last pieces we need to use. Being assured of our salvation through Jesus and using the Word of God to “be prepared” as Peter told us. But these aren’t the last things we are told to do. Paul goes on to remind us to always be in prayer. Constant communication with God is the only way for us to armor up, to stand, and to encourage and protect those around us. We have to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus always. He is our example, our hope, and our comfort in these times. When one of us stumbles or our shields dip because we are losing hope, we have to come alongside them and give them some of our strength or stand in front of them and take the blows meant for them. That is what brothers and sisters do. Who needs our help right now? Who needs an encouraging word? Go “armor up” and help!