Sometimes even after walking with the Lord for as long as I have He will still stop me in my tracks and say, "Really?" That is when I lean my ear into the Holy Spirit, because I know He is about to correct me. I am trusting that He does this for us all.
I have a heart for the truth so when this happens I always get excited. I love when he reveals the truth behind a scripture I thought I knew!
For a long time when I've heard sermons on the Full Armor of God from amazing and very credible teachers. The armor is a treasured gift from God. I walked around for years quoting that scripture and saying, "I put on the full armor of God..."
Then one day I felt an uneasiness in my spirit so I leaned an ear to the Holy Spirit. He was basically asking me, 'Are You? Really?'
And to that I said teach me Lord. I went back to the word and read and prayed.
Many times just saying something CAN make it true. We are to '...call things that are not as though they were...' we are saved by the confession of our faith. But sometimes the scriptures are instructing us to DO more than just SAY. [see Romans 4:17 and Mark 11]
What was revealed to me on that day was that no amount of saying we put on the full armor of God makes it so. Then just how do we put on the armor?
Here is the scripture...
14 So stand firm and hold your ground, having tightened the wide band of truth (personal integrity, moral courage) around your waist and having put on the breastplate of righteousness (an upright heart), 15 and having strapped on your feet the gospel of peace in preparation [to face the enemy with firm-footed stability and the readiness produced by the good news]. 16 Above all, lift up the [protective] shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
Let us start at the very first, and I believe the most important piece, the Belt of Truth. "So stand firm and hold your ground, having tightened the wide band of truth (personal integrity, moral courage) around your waist" [see Galatians 5:25]
If we simply SAY that we put on the Belt of Truth but do not WALK in truth, personal integrity, moral courage, then we have not truly put on the belt of truth. Simply saying it will not make it so. To put it on we MUST walk in personal integrity and moral courage.
Next is the Breastplate of Righteousness. "put on the breastplate of righteousness (an upright heart)". We can go through the motions of saying we put on the breastplate, but if we do not have an upright heart, a heart given over to Jesus in order to take on His righteousness, then we have not put on the Breastplate of Righteousness. [see Romans 4:22-25]
Next is the Shoes of the Gospel of Peace. "having strapped on your feet the gospel of peace in preparation [to face the enemy with firm-footed stability and the readiness produced by the good news]." We cannot say we put on the Shoes of the Gospel of Peace if we do not walk in peace with others, if we do not instigate peace ourselves. [see Galatians 5:26]
Our society today is not at peace. We cannot say we are at peace or have the peace of God if we instigate disruption and discord with anyone else. And the Shoes of the Gospel of Peace are what help us "face the enemy with firm-footed stability".
If you are not feeling stable in your life, if you feel like you are being tossed about in the waves, look around and see if you are walking in peace. We aren't called to agree with others for the sake of peace, but stirring an argument will never win a heart or a mind. But often just listening and loving in the quiet will. [see James 1:19]
How many times have you stood in your living room holding up the bible and said, I lift up the shield of faith, then turn away and fear lack or disease or the liberal neighbor down the street who seems out of control?
When we are told to "lift up the [protective] shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one". we are told to walk in faith as a lifestyle.
Faith and fear are diametrically opposed to one another. They cannot co-exist. If you think you are walking in faith, take a good long look at the words that are coming from your mouth. From out of the heart the mouth speaks. [see Romans 8:15]
You want to put on the shield of faith? Walk in faith. Guard your mouth. Speak the Word of Truth. We will be held accountable for the words we speak. You can't say you have received the open windows of heaven, pressed down, shaken together and running over then get on the phone with your best friend or spouse and say, I'm so broke! Which is it? [see Matthew 12:36 and Romans 10:17]
Next is the Helmet of Salvation. Some stop at a partial truth when teaching about salvation as a ticket to heaven or becoming 'saved' so that you don't go to hell.
The word salvation in the Greek is sozo which does mean saved, but it goes on to say, saved from sickness, poverty, and a host of misfortunes this life throws our way. Do you need saving from something, then "take the helmet of salvation" by calling unto God for that salvation. He finished that work once and for all on the cross. It is there for the taking should you ask and believe. [see Romans 5:9, Romans 6:14 and Psalms 91]
Then lastly the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Who of us didn't like weilding an imaginary sword around fighting an unseen enemy? That imaginary sword won't work, but the Word of God will. Read it, devour it, meditate on it (which means to mutter), get it in you. That is how you put on the Sword of the Spirit. [see Joshua 1:8, Psalms 1:2]
When the enemy comes at you the Word will come to your mind confirming the Truth and then...
13 Therefore, put on the complete armor of God, so that you will be able to [successfully] resist and stand your ground in the evil day [of danger], and having done everything [that the crisis demands], to stand firm [in your place, fully prepared, immovable, victorious]. [bold emphasis mine]
We walk in..
Truth (personal integrity and moral courage)
Righteousness (Jesus righteousness which give us an upright heart)
Peace (the good news of peace, being a peacemaker)
Faith (believing the very promises of God without wavering or doubting)
Salvation (Receiving His deliverance from any situation)
Word of God (reading and meditating on His Word)
18 With all prayer and petition pray [with specific requests] at all times [on every occasion and in every season] in the Spirit, and with this in view, stay alert with all perseverance and petition [interceding in prayer] for all God’s people.
Seek out through prayer to DO these things and WALK in them and you will find solid armor is covering your life. [see James 1:22]
I want to encourage you to leave me any comments below. They are so encouraging and motivating to me.
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Let me ruffle some more feathers here (I seem to be so good at it). I take issue with the little ‘ask Jesus into your heart’ prayers we tack on to the end of our religious box sessions. That does not lead to being born again. At best, it may allow those saying it to realize that there is a need in their life to allow Jesus to help them change and by saying that prayer sincerely they are acknowledging that something in their life needs to change and they give that to Jesus, which is amazing. But...