For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. Romans 5:10 ESV
These days there is much talk about spiritual warfare (and rightly so), with the emphasis on our battle against the devil. But what is often overlooked in this matter is the origin of that war and that is the warfare between us and God. From the moment Adam and Eve took the fruit that God had forbidden, all of us became traitors, chose independence from God and declared war on our creator. By unanimous consent we decided that our way was better than God’s and we chose rebellion and separation from our Heavenly Father in order to follow our desires. Of course, the devil does tempt us in order to enlist us in his battle against God, but what he did not count on was the Almighty God’s strategy and how Jesus came to counterattack and defeat him through the cross. Until the cross we really had very limited options on the spiritual battlefield. We were slaves to sin and by nature marched along to the commands of the enemy of our souls. But at Calvary, the devil’s uncontested claim over us was broken. As Jesus cried out in pain and weakness, “It is finished!” we were at once presented with a choice. We no longer have to be the enemy and betrayer of a Holy God. Now we can be His children, because the amazing, astonishing and powerful good news is that while we were still at war with God; Jesus died for us! What an amazing battle plan. What a hope we have. Now we can joyfully choose to surrender to Him and then by the power of His Holy Spirit we can win the warfare against anything the enemy throws down against us today! With God as the Captain of our unit, that’s a spiritual war worth fighting because our eternal victory is assured by the blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. Ephesians 6:10-11
Some of us have memories of our Sunday-school teacher illustrating this verse by showing the class a brightly colored plastic sword and shield. The scene may bring a nostalgic smile to our face, but to the people of the Apostle Paul’s day, armor was no laughing matter. Every part of a Roman soldier’s armor was as essential to staying alive as a bullet proof vest is to any soldier on a 21st century battlefield.
Paul lists 6 pieces of armor: the belt of truth, the footwear of being prepared by the gospel, the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation, the shield of faith, the sword of the spirit and last a communications device called prayer. But in the middle of a conflict it is easy to just grab on to on one or two pieces and run into battle half dressed. We think that we will be okay because we have spent plenty of time reading the Bible so even if our faith is a bit weak or we haven’t taken time to pray we hope we’ll get by.
Unfortunately our spiritual enemy doesn’t think the way that we do. He is not planning to attack our areas of strength but at our weakest point. He doesn’t fight by the rules and stays focused on our spiritual destruction. But we don’t need to panic because we aren’t dependent on our own resources. Today we can rejoice because we know two things for certain: God is the manufacturer of the best armor on earth and He has promised to never abandon us in battle!
I really enjoyed this rendition by David Wesley of the song that best tells us how this great spiritual battle will be won. May God bless you as you stand on your own field of conflict next to the mightiest of all warriors – the Son of God!
Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth. Ephesians 6:13-14a ESV
After we brought our first baby crib home, I quickly glanced at the diagram on the instruction booklet, then set it aside and began to match up the pieces for assembly. “How hard could it be to put a crib together?” I thought to myself. But after almost an hour of trying to get it together I returned to the instructions manual.
When we read about preparing for spiritual warfare it is easy to fall into that same process. But God’s field equipment has nothing extra and we will need every piece. We might feel we can skip a few things and grab our sword and shield God tells us to start with the belt of truth.
The Christian life is not only about the blessings; it is also a spiritual battle. Jesus said that He was the Way, the Truth and the Life and if we are to fight side by side with Him then we must start with the truth.
Being victorious means we must begin by buckling on the truth. Truth matters so much to God that He lists it first because it holds the rest of our equipment together. So before we head out the door today let’s pray for God to help us fasten on the belt of His truth!