- Religion and Philosophy»
- Christianity, the Bible & Jesus
Fight the Good Fight
Fight the Good Fight
Before going to the actual armor of God, we must first explore the essence of the spiritual war we fight. We must discover what putting on the armor is all about. Paul best speaks of it in the thirteenth chapter of Romans; he says, "you know what time it is how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is gone, the day is near, let us lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light” (verse 11-12). He makes an urgent appeal to all the believers to change their hearts, to wake up from the darkness of sin that is imprisoning them.
We have to change from the inside, and let our lives shine, and be that light, "Let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness not in quarreling and jealousy" (verse 13). Paul is pleading for them to love one another, not to argue, and just throw their lives away in senseless drinking and partying. We are representatives of Christ, so the example we put forth, is what the rest of the nations shall see. We must not be evil, to change the heart of the evil. "Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires" (verse 14). That is the whole sum of the Armor of God; the characteristics of Christ are the characteristics that we must put on. We are not supposed to give in to our sinful desire. We are born into sin, so we must crucify our flesh not to enter into our natural state. When a man is born into an abusive home, he has the choice to be abusive or to follow Christ. We always have the choice. We must "make no provision for the flesh," but "instead put on the Lord Jesus Christ."
One of Christ's characteristics is kindness, we also should be kind. An example is that of two children who grew up in the Catholic Church, both children served in the altar and both helped in the preparing of communion. Oddly enough, both ended up spilling the Eucharist onto the floor. One priest screamed and became very angry and abusive in his punishment of the child. That child became dictator of Yugoslavia, Marshal Tito. The other priest spoke kindly and had patience and compassion on the child. That child later became Cardinal Fulton T. Sheen. We must put on the Lord Jesus Christ; this means taking on his attributes.
In Paul's second letter to the Corinthians, Paul speaks of the war, and the weapons used in this fight. Pay close attention of how Paul starts the tenth chapter: "I myself, Paul, appeal to you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away" (verse 1)! So, the example he gives you is Christ, he follows his words. He uses words such as "meekness" and "gentleness", and "I am humble", all characteristics of Christ. Paul goes on to explain that when he is present, he needs to be humble to show they are trying to be as Christ is, not as men. "l ask that when I am present I need not show boldness by daring to oppose those who think we are acting according to human standards. Indeed, we live as human beings, but do not wage war according to human standards" (verse 2-3). He begins by explaining that this war is spiritual, we fight against the forces of darkness.
Paul knows the Earth, "this worldly realm", is Satan's domain, but the battle is in our minds. Satan's weapons are ruthless and immoral, and are difficult to foresee. Alone we cannot stand, but Paul goes on to tell us that what we have is very powerful. "For the weapons of our warfare are not merely human, but they have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ" (verse 4-5). God only gives His children the best, He never lets us go into the battle unprepared or unarmed. As Paul said "every proud obstacle", pride is one of Satan's very powerful weapons. God has given us the knowledge to destroy anything Satan has to throw at us. One of a soldier’s best weapons is obedience; our obedience to Christ is essential. The word tells us we must get rid of disobedience. "We are ready to punish every disobedience, when our obedience is complete" (verse 6).
Knowing about the war, and your opponent is very important. But, a good defense against the enemy is critical, as well as absolutely essential. One may ask, "what does God give us?" or "what protection can He offer?" Those questions are good and are unable to be answered if you don't have a good understanding of the Word of God. When we believe in Christ we are supposed to be like the man who "dug deeply and laid his foundation on the rock" (Luke 6:48). We need to trust in Him with our hearts. He gives us protection through the Spirit His spiritual armor.
It makes complete sense, since the war we fight is spiritual, that God gives use spiritual weaponry. Paul explains to us about it in Ephesians 6 when he talks about the full armor of God, "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil" (verse 10). Paul again speaks of this, "you then, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus... sharing in sufferings like a good soldier in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 2:1,3). So the most important part of being a spiritual warrior is obedience. We must keep our minds on the good things of God. "No one serving in the army gets entangled in everyday affairs; the soldiers aim is to please the enlisting officer" (2 Timothy 2:4). Whatever we do, must be to the glory of God, not for ourselves. We are obedient to Christ so that we will be safe from the "wiles of the devil". He goes on in verse 12 to state who our battle is against: "for our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places". Paul definitely defines whom the war is against, and who our opponents are. It is clear here that our enemies are of the spiritual nature not "blood and flesh". And, he also says that they are heavenly beings, once being angels, Satan and his minions are definitely who he is speaking about The world is going through this "present darkness". That's why Christ says we have to be a "light of the world" (Matthew 5:14) - beacons. We are not supposed to blend in with the wicked; we are supposed to out and shine with the glory of God, with humility. We must stand firm in our faith, "therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything to stand firm" (verse 13). We must be right with God when the judgment comes, so when the archangel calls and the Son of man comes riding on the clouds (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17), we will be able to stand firm and await our reward.
Ephesians 6 goes on to explain what the armor of God consists of, and how it helps us stand against the wiles of the devil. Since Paul was living in the time when Rome was in control of the provinces, he probably was looking at Roman soldiers everyday. The first piece of armor Paul writes about is when be tells us to "stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist" (verse 14a). It was no accident that he spoke of this piece first. The belt of the soldier is what held all the rest of the armor together. Truth is what holds us together, and keeps our lives in line. The truth is the Word of God, and the most important thing in our lives. Just as a Roman soldier put on his belt everyday, so must we "gird up the loins of your [our] mind[s], be sober, and hope to the end for grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:13). We must have truth to attain righteousness and the rest of our God given gifts. The second piece of armor that is spoken of Paul tells us to "put on the breastplate of righteousness" (verse 14b). The breastplate was the most glamorous piece of armor that a soldier owned. When the sunlight hit it, it was blinding to the eye. Just as it protected them against enemy blows, so does the breastplate of righteousness protect us. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says that we are "righteousness of God in Christ Jesus", and Romans 5:17 talks of the gift of righteousness bestowed on the believer. As a Roman soldier walked, his armor became more glorious. So as we take steps toward Christ, His righteousness becomes more evident in us. The closer we get to Christ the more dangerous we become to the enemy. (Additional verse: 1 Thessalonians 5:8)
The third piece of weaponry mentioned in Ephesians are the shoes of peace. "As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace" (verse 15). Our shoes are what keep our footing secure on the ground. A: Roman soldier's shoes' protected his legs, and his feet. They had one to three inch spikes on them so when they fought they would not lose balance. The peace that the Lord gives not only protects us, but also keeps the enemy under foot. The peace that God gives us is perfect, and brings joy. Romans 10:15 says "how beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things". When you are firmly planted on the Word of Truth, God will use you to trample down the enemy. "Let the peace of God rule in your hearts" (Colossians 3:15), God will give us only the best when we use it to its full potential. Just as a Roman soldier stopped for nothing when he marched, so must we keep marching when Satan opposes us. (Additional verses Philippians 4:7, John 14:27, Romans 16:20). The fourth piece of defensive weaponry, Paul says, "with all these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one" (verse 16). A Roman soldiers shield was attached to his belt, so must our faith be attached to truth. Romans 10:17 says, "so faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God". We cannot let our faith become weak, so we must have faith in the word and use it everyday. A shield of a soldier was the size of a door and covered him completely. So does God give us enough faith to cover us: "God has dealt each one of us a measure of faith" (Romans 12:3). We must not forsake our faith, or we will be vulnerable to attack. The shield used in the army took a lot of maintenance everyday. You had to oil it, so it would not crack. We must also let the Holy Spirit anoint us so we will not crack under pressure. The shield was also soaked in water because the enemy would use arrows that would burst into flames upon impact. So does Satan use many different fiery darts against us. These include: rage, anger, anxiety, unbelief and worry. These darts can do mega damage, so we must use our faith to protect ourselves. The interesting thing about the Roman soldier's shield was that each one had a hinge on it When the enemy would come at them from many sides they could connect their shields together. They would form a large wall, and in unison keep marching. Similarly, when the church uses their faith in unison we can oppose numerous attacks from the enemy. Our faith can be a mighty wall, when the believers come together and use their faith effectively.
The fifth piece of armor Paul speaks of is the helmet of salvation. The Roman soldiers helmet was heavy, and very beautiful. Nothing could pierce it, so the soldiers wore it at all times. Our helmet of salvation is much like that of the soldiers. It is beautiful, and protects our minds from the attack of the enemy. Satan will attack our minds and tell us that deliverance is not possible. That is why we must have knowledge of Christ's sacrifice on the cross that gave us our salvation. We must keep our wits about us, and not let the enemy seduce us with lies. The helmet of salvation protects us as does the rest.
The final, and most powerful weapon of all is the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. In Paul's letter to the Hebrews, he says "for the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than a two edged sword." Much as the sword of the Roman guard, the two edges of a sword could cause much damage. The end of the one side was turned upward, which would tear apart the enemy from the inside. He goes on to say that it not only is powerful, it does much more. "Piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." This is definitely a powerful scripture. How powerful is the Word of God, that it can discern the thoughts and intents of the heart Only God could measure us, and know us in such ways. That is why we must put the word of God in our hearts and in our minds. We have to strengthen ourselves to be ready for battle at anytime, and guy place. We must trust our side arm and believe it is the word of God. And from our youth we should be taught the knowledge of God.
In 2 Timothy 3:15,16 Paul says "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make the wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (Verse 15). We have to begin teaching our children from birth about the word. Paul said to Timothy because you knew the scripture since your youth, this has given you salvation. So must we teach and continue to learn scripture that God has given us as a side arm. In verse 16, Paul tells us where scripture comes from, and what it is used for. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness". So what is the profit that Paul is speaking about? He goes on to better explain it in verse 17 "That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works". When God gives us powerful weapons such as these, he doesn't give us only part of what we need. He fulfills all our "need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).
The spiritual war that is fought, is as large as the heavens, and is fought across the universe. Everyone is involved; it is up to the individual if they become a victor, or a casualty. "Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. Be careful then bow you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:14b-16). A good soldier always keeps one eye open, so that the enemy cannot sneak into his camp. Through prayer we can stand against the onslaught of the evil one, and stand firm against the crashing waves. The word is "living and active" if we use it in our lives, and get closer to Christ We must remember it is through grace that we are able to speak the glorious words of Christ. He will help us as it says in Hebrews 4:16 "Let us therefore approach the throne of grace weigh boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace in help in the time of need". "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God."