Am I wearing the Armour?
Many recognize that ".... our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Eph 6:12 NIV and thus it is vital that we equip ourselves with the armour that we are provided. This means we need to know each of the pieces intimately and how to wear and use them. As any soldier knows, this knowing is achieved through practice drills, again and again until it is automatic and second nature - no concious thinking required! But what does "Put on the full armour of God" really mean? Is this simply asking God to be with us? What are each of the specific items of armour for, and how do we put them on? Do we simply recite the list and claim it?
Belt of Truth
The first step is in Eph 6:14 and again in 1 Peter 1:13 we are told to gird up the loins (of our minds) with truth. In the NIV the word buckle is used - the idea is that we need to bind or tie our minds to the truth. So how is this done practically? One of the means we do this is 'discussed here'. So the very first requirement is that we know the truth - this is Jesus (John 14:6). I'm sure most folk have heard the story of how bank staff learn to tell the real money from the counterfeit notes. It is not by examining many different counterfeit notes - rather it is by being so familiar with the real notes that the counterfeit ones become obvious. The same principle applies here, we need to become so familiar with the truth as revealed in the Bible and via the leading of the Holy Spirit within us - who, we are promised, will lead us into all truth. Thus the imperative need to read and study the Bible and use it in our daily lives. This "use" refers to our thinking, using the Word to guide our choices, not what we see and hear in the culture around us.
Breastplate of Righteousness
Study of the Word shows us that we have no claim in and of ourselves to righteousness, it comes as a free gift from God. Thus not having earned it through any effort on our part, we cannot loose it! (wilful sinning apart). By submitting our will to that of our Heavenly Father through the Holy Spirit, He will cover our heart with His protection.
Gospel of Peace
Feet fitted and prepared:- Our feet need to carry the gospel of peace everywhere we go. Thus our mission is to be carriers of His peace into every situation we face. This means we need to be peace makers, not one of those that cause strife. It also means that we need to have His peace about all we are facing in ourselves, as we cannot share with others what we do not have ourselves.
Shield of Faith
Our shield against the attacks we face (most of these are in our mind) is faith, trust and confidence in the goodness of God. Faith being the tangible substance of the things we hope for, the very evidence of things we do not yet see in the natural. (Heb 11:1) Therefore we need to know what our God is really like, confidence in His trustworthiness and goodness becomes a shield against the attacks we will experience.
Helmet of Salvation
Our salvation from the rightful punishment for our sins is to be worn like a helmet. It needs to protect our head. The most debilitating attacks we typically suffer are those that occur in our thinking. We get a diagnosis from our doctor and we immediately let our minds run away with all the things we have heard about this sickness. We paint the worst possible scenario and despair sets in. We are inclined to believe what our senses tell us, we also file away all the stories we have ever heard about ..... then, when something in life comes along and triggers these memories, we immediately think that these memory based outcomes are going to be our reality.
Our salvation is so much more than an entrance ticket to Heaven, able to be cashed in when we die. We are in fact members of another family that belong to a Kingdom not of this world. When we look at the life of Jesus we see that every time He turns up on the scene the usual outcomes we are familiar with are not what takes place. He sees a blind man (several actually) and His interaction in their lives means they are no longer blind. Notice, He uses a different method each time, just so we don't think there is a particular formula involved in obtaining a healing. It is simply the supernatural power of the incorruptible Holy Spirit intersecting with our specific time and place and His will is done. Period. It doesn't matter if it relates to health, finances, weather, death, disability, work, provision of food, even wine for a wedding banquet. Every aspect of our daily lives is shown as being subservient and in obedience to His will.
Sword of the Spirit
Finally we are told to use the sword of the Spirit - the only offensive weapon in the armour. This sword is the living word of God. He tells us: so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isa 55:11 NIV Once again, we need to know the word as it equips us and prepares us and gives us the correct words to say when we face life situations.
Get to know our Heavenly Father
We just need to fill up on the word and then He will give us the correct response in each and every situation, led by the Spirit: "do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit." Mark 13:11.
And having done all this: "We Stand",
in an attitude of humble submission to our Lord, Saviour and Master, praying continually that we may Walk in the Spirit and thus avoid being injured and walking in the flesh.