One day, after a storm cleared, I glanced out our front window when suddenly the top of our window gave way. It began to rain big, black ants inside! Granted, they were falling from the top of our window opening rather than in the whole house.How disconcerting. Carpenter ants chewed up the wood! A small leak in roof valley compounded the problem to the area which aided the ants' work. Needless to say, we had to replace the window and rebuild the framing. The timing came in a series of odd events prior to an evangelistic karate demonstration our ministry was about to put on. Not only that, we also had several odd events directly afterward. We learned early on that spiritual warfare was a normal part of ministry. Some of pastoral ministry time was plagued by odd attacks, but others were faces of people.. Many of those faces were from inside the church! I encounter these odd things now as I write and blog. I have a group of prayer warriors who pray for me, my family, and ministry, by the way. One wonderful elderly pastor once told us that Satan won't bother with us if we aren't advancing the kingdom of God. If you are, suit up for battle!
The Apostle Paul was in prison when the book of Ephesians was written. His time to die loomed and he knew it. He suffered beatings and imprisonment. If anyone understood spiritual warfare, it was him. The context of this passage begins in chapter 5. He lays out the manner in which we should relate to others in our families and in the workplace. He used the term "walk" meaning how we should live. In chapter 6:10-24, he tells the Christians who are in Ephesus to suit up for battle. The battle is actually with spiritual forces in this dark age. What I find interesting is that Paul says to "stand" twice along with "withstand" in the first paragraph. He also describes the battle as wrestling with invisible spirits opposed to God. Wrestling in armor wouldn't be comfortable! However, the armor is essential to our spiritual survival.
When my husband and I visited Cologne, Germany, we toured the cathedral there. I was surprised that it dated back to the Roman occupation of Europe. We walked through the museum in the cathedral way down in the basement. It was lined with a brick foundation wall from ancient times. In one of the displays we saw what Roman armor looked like. Unlike the medieval armor we usually think of, it did not totally encase the body. This was the armor Paul had in mind. As he talks about the armor, he mentions each piece with label he gives them.
Belt of Truth- this piece covers the abdomen in real armor. In the spiritual realm, it is a soft spot for us. Truth is an area Satan always attacks. If he can get us to question what is true, he has won an easy battle.
Breastplate of Righteousness- this piece covers vital organs including the heart. Right living begins with our emotions and how we live from day to day. Our integrity is constantly attacked. One of the most visible places a Christian caves in is in the heart.
Shoes of the Gospel of Peace- Roman soldiers wore sandals that laced up onto the calf of the leg. Some had metal shin guards. This piece is for us to GO share the gospel of Jesus Christ. So, while we are sharing Christ with others, we MUST have the rest of the armor. Without it, we won't last long.
Shield of Faith- this piece was held in front and could be moved to protect different areas wherever needed. If you notice, it is used to deflect the fiery attacks (darts) that come our way. Our faith is what protects our minds and hearts, along with other vital areas. Believe me, Satan loves to go for the throat of believers. He wants to silence us.
Helmet of Salvation- this piece protects the head. Salvation begins with a decision to accept Jesus. Satan loves to get us to question our salvation. If he can do this, we are dead in the water.
Sword of the Spirit- this is the only offensive weapon mentioned. Paul also refers to it as the Word of God. Our weapon is the very book we read to understand our faith, God's love for us, how we are to love, and that we should share this with others. Jesus straightened Satan out when He was in the wilderness wandering for the 40 days leading up to His earthly ministry (Matthew 4:1-11). Satan twists Bible passages around. Be sure to know what God's Word actually says. Do you have your sword? Without it, you will be pummeled furiously.
If you've ever had a day when even little problems are hacking away at you, you may be in the midst of a battle. Consider whether you have your armor. Did you consider each piece, or did you leave something behind? What are your weak spots? Satan will attack those fiercely attempting to make you give up. Feeling battle weary? now that the battle is already won, but the enemy doesn't want to give up. The name of our Lord is our strong tower. When we are tired in the midst of the battle, we can run to Him and be safe! (Proverbs 18:10). Our great God and King will protect us. Strong Tower by Kutless Suit Up!
May God bless you!
Roman Armour picture www.medievalcollectibles.com