In the last installment of "Meditative Musings," I encouraged us to know our power in Christ. God hasn't left us vulnerable and without the tools it takes to aim for the abundant life He says He came to give us (see John 10:10). He even went as far as inspiring Apostle Paul with an illustration for how we must prepare to fight and protect ourselves from the onslaught of the enemy in Ephesians 6.
Satan's aim is to steal, kill and destroy (physically, emotionally, always and ultimately spiritually) and it's a job he takes seriously and literally. Daily, he uses different people and different circumstances to accomplish that. We must daily remind ourselves of who we are and what we have in our arsenals. On our own we are pretty defenseless. But when we are serving Christ, the approach of trouble and the task of dealing with it shouldn't be as daunting. Over the next few weeks, we'll be breaking down that illustration. Paul calls our defense system the "Armor of God" and, with it, if we know what it is and how to use it, we've already gotten part of the way there.
Here's what it says:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For 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. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to and your ground and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm with the, with the belt of truth buckled around you 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. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
- Ephesians 6:10-18 NIV
1. Belt of Truth
Truth. It seems that, now, with New Ageism leaking into all aspects of our society, this is such an abstract concept. With no true definition, no clear borders, it seems people believe that Truth is some kind of nebulous jello, morphing from one thing to the next, depending on the person who references it at the time. But to believe that there is no real truth is to shake the foundations of faith.
What truth must we remind ourselves of when facing our supernatural opponent (the enemy) or the natural ones that he operates through?
In our exploration of honesty and our use of it as a mode of protection, we have to be honest with ourselves and honest with God. Where am I in my walk with the Lord? We can't play God. We can't call on Him when we need Him, then drop Him when problems are fixed and issues are gone. He isn't to be mocked. We've all had flaky, fair-weather friends like that and time has told us all too well that we don't need them. They aren't real. Listen, I don't know about you, but I need a friend who will show up with vaseline on the face, hair cornrowed back, with a lock in the sock and go to WAR for me (Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about! But of course, I'm thinking from the strictly spiritual sense, of course)! You don't get a friend like that if you've been nothing but a bandwagon-rider.
2. Breastplate of Righteousness
As with the Belt of Truth, the Breastplate of Righteousness but be worn at all times.
I remember in college, my relationship with God was on a steady climb and I wanted to continue on that path. There was a small group of girls I would hang out with every now and again, but never off campus. They had invited me out a couple times but I was so scared of being in an environment that was displeasing to God and hanging out with "non-Christians." I was so worried about falling and saying/doing something to mess up my witness and looking like a hypocrite (they knew about my faith). I felt bad, though, for constantly saying "Nah, maybe another time" and so finally I relented. At the end of the night, I left the home of the girl who hosted, and didn't feel like I had compromised (or "put My Jesus down" as they say) for the night. I was surprised and relieved. I was myself, I had fun, and I didn't take off the Breastplate.
Sometimes we're even scared of that word, righteousness. We feel like it's too heavy and applies too much pressure. But we have to remember that what offers protection is not our righteousness. Isaiah 64:6 says that "our righteousness are like filthy rags" - nothing clean, beautiful or admirable. Our defense is the Righteousness of Christ that we must adopt into our lives on a day-by-day, hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute basis. We are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus because Jesus became sin for us, bearing it on the cross (2 Corinthians 6:5).
If we remember that when we pray over our jobs, our co-workers'
discouraging words, our toxic "friends" or family members, or any other
situations that life poses, we're golden!
You have the authority to come against the enemy and all his
schemes. YOU. You aren't too young, too messed up, too
inept to do so. Know the Truth (not a truth, not my truth, not your truth,
but THE Truth) - who God is and who you are in and through Him. Know that it
sets you free from bondage of all sorts.
Keep that Breastplate of Righteousness in place, and know that the
belief that your inadequacies are too great for God's Righteousness to cover is
Assemble your armor. Slip it on and know that it fits you well.
Shari Grant is a Registered Nurse in South Florida, where she was raised in a (very!) Jamaican home. Some of the loves of her life are words (both reading and writing them) and missions work. She enjoys spending time with friends and family while living for a good laugh - one that makes her belly ache and her eyes water. Her bottom line goal in life is to make the Lord smile and maybe even serve Him up a chuckle from time to time, too.
*Photos of women are from the Armor Edition, the fashion collection of JK Experience.