Yesterday we talked about the importance of “Keep[ing] and guard[ing] your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life” (Prov 4:23) because the world is becoming substantially darker by the day. It is only through the armor our Lord has given us that we are able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.” (2 Cor 10:3-6)
What are the weapons the Lord provides us? “Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” (Eph 6:14-18).
We rely on God’s strength and use His armor, but we must take the initiative to put on the armor and stand firm in the battle because we love Jesus. It’s not a matter of “letting go and letting God,” where you are passive and God does it all. Nor is it a matter of gritting your teeth and doing it yourself, with occasional assistance from God. Rather, it is a blending of His power and our striving. As Paul puts it, “To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.” (Col 1:29)
The armor is a graphic way of saying what Paul says in another letter, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” (Rom. 13:14) In other words, Christ Himself is our armor. He is the belt of truth (John 14:6). He is our breastplate of righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21). He is the gospel of peace that we stand on (Eph. 2:13-14, 17). He is the shield of our faith (Heb. 12:2). He is our helmet of salvation (Titus 3:4-6). He is our sword, the Word of God (John 1:1). He is our full armor, capable of protecting us from every onslaught of the devil.
This world is a broken and sinful world. Peter said, “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul” (1 Pet 2:11) When we look to our fleshly desires, we aren’t preparing ourselves for battle; instead we are warring with our own souls. “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Gal. 5:24)
The enemy seeks to have us look first to our perceived needs and desires, taking our focus off of our Lord. It’s a deceptive trap. We must instead “submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) When we submit our lives and our will to God’s will, we can put on the armor He provides and stand against the dark forces in His power and might, and the devil will flee. Make certain you’re fully dressed for battle each day!