The Armor of God
" Finally, be strong in The Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
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." Ephesians 5:10-17
I almost missed it. Oh how close I came. If I had had Internet in my home this morning...I would.have.missed.it! I literally just got done telling you to NOT skim and skip over those exact verses and I kind of thought about doing it myself. Oh the enemy is sly but he is not smart. You see, if I had had the Internet I would have gone onto the bible gateway app and copied and pasted those verses so I didn't have to type them from my iPad screen. And if I had done that I would have missed it because I wouldn't have read it. I've read it before. I can quote it. But God was asking me to read it again. He had a fresh revelation that needed a heart willing to have fresh perspective.
See...I have admitted before and I will say it again...I am not above you. I am preparing myself in the trenches of battle...with you. I'm fumbling to remember or take the time to pick up my armor some days. I leave it laying untouched on my nightstand. I promise to do it later...and I run out the door. Un-armed. Exposed.
Let's try to picture now what the enemy just saw.
"She's wide open today boys. Our plan to have her fall back asleep after she knew she was supposed to wake up and read her bible...it worked like a charm. The enemy smiles at his accomplishment. She is missing a chunk of her sword today. I bet HE was going to prepare her for this battle coming. Lets not waste our time boys. Our attack must come quick. We want to catch her off guard. We want to start her day day off stumbling...in hopes that she will soon fall. You, satan points to the ugliest and most skilled of his warriors. You have been working like a charm since the garden. Shame...it is you that will start her day. I want shame to be what she feels first, before compassion or love. I want the guilt of her 'choice' to sleep today to be a constant weight that clouds her vision. We need to knock that shield of faith out of her hand while she is unaware. I want these arrows to pierce her deep. his voice begins to quiver. I have seen what she is capable of. We do not want her to pull that Sword on us. We are no match for that. Those Words of Truth cover every lie we have. Pursue her, Shame. Remind her of what she did today. Make sure you take Disappointment with you. I have to go look for Depression. He always follows you. GO! And do not relent!"
That was really hard for me to write. I picture that conversation happening because of a few extra minutes of sleep that I sometimes choose over my morning devotion time. When you allow your heart to see it as a spiritual battle that is unseen by your eyes...but surely felt...it is easier to fight. Put yourself in that scenario above when you go to roll over in bed. Wake up and meet with God because He longs to give you exactly what you need for THAT day. He will help you be an overcomer rather than an open target.
Now let's look at what I could've missed. Something small that I have missed EVERY time I have read this passage before. "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." I finally saw the comma before the last two words of that verse. I had never read it with that puncuation. I read it as a continuance to the verses that followed. But when you read it with that intended pause...you see what it really says. After you have put on the full armor of God. After you have done everything, remember 'to stand'.
God needs us standing up and ready. He needs our feet firmly placed and braced for attack so that it doesn't knock us over when it suddenly hits. He needs us to know that when we feel weak; when our faith is lacking...He has already given us the tools to know which piece of armor is missing.
And how about your back? Which one of those pieces of armor covers your back? NONE! (Thank you for that blaring reminder Holly Wagner!) You are not armed for retreat. When you marriage is hard...you were not meant to walk away. When God's people throw out false accusations against you...you are not equipped to run. It is the front of you that is protected by God. It is the front that braces against the winds of the storm. It is the front that walks into the difficult path because they see God in it. You were created to face opposition with confidence in Jesus.
"For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. All men will hate you because of Me. But not a hair of your head will perish. By standing firm you will gain life." Luke 21:15-19
Those words are from the lips of Jesus Himself. The heading in my Bible reads, 'Signs of the End of the Age'. Don't freak out. Stop freaking out. NOthing catches God off guard. Nothing surprises Him. Stand firm and gain life my friend. Even your hair is important enough for God to protect!