“Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.” Ephesians 6:13(NLT)
Growing up my favorite season of the year was always the summer. Not because we got out of school for several months, although that was a definite plus. For me, this meant I had at least a month of gallivanting around in shorts and a t-shirt bathing in the hot sun on my granddaddy’s tobacco farm in Mullins, South Carolina, while enjoying a bottle of ice cold pop. Oh, how the smell of fireworks filled the air, as we ran barefoot up and down the dirt road of that one traffic light town without a care in the world.
Now that I’m more mature I realize I can’t handle those sweltering summers like I used to and have resigned to enjoy the beautiful autumns of Lancaster County. Autumns here in Lancaster are an experience within themselves. They herald in the change of the foliage, the smell of hot cider is in the air and everyone is feverishly baking and making stews and chilies. Yes, autumn is a wonderful season but it comes with its pitfalls.
After living here in Lancaster for three years, I’ve learned that no matter how much you listen to the weather report it will always change on you. It could start off cold and windy in the morning, then turn into a torrential rain within three hours and by 2 pm it will be 70 degrees all in one fine fall day. How can anyone plan to dress for weather that is so inconsistent?
In fact I often laugh at the teenagers on my way to work because they are really confused by the weather. I see some wearing long-sleeved shirts with shorts and sandals, while I see others in jeans, snow boots, a t-shirt and scarves. This is not how you dress yourself for the autumn season. Instead this is how you open yourself up to sickness.
Now just because we can’t predict how the weather will respond doesn’t mean we can’t be ready for what the season will unleash on us. In fact the apostle Paul tells us about getting dressed for a season that’s year round.
The season I’m talking about is Spiritual Warfare and we’re always engaged in this ongoing battle. The Bible says,
“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” I Peter 5:8 (NLT)
The devil is like a blistering wind beating down on us, our family, our co-workers and even the person sitting next you in the pew at church.
“For we (you) are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 (NLT)
But thanks be to God that it did not end there. He already won the victory on the cross. All we have to do is put on His armor and be prepared for battle. Before we came to Christ we tried to make it through this season with our own beat up, tattered armor and kept failing. The King has now called us to wear his armor, that He has fashioned for us, that has gone through the battle for us and prevailed over the enemy for us…..that we might stand firm to the glory of God.
The apostle Paul was writing to the church in Ephesus from prison about this very thing. He wanted to remind them that they were not alone in this season of spiritual warfare and that there was a way to overcome.
Paul uses the imagery of a warrior to describe getting suited up for battle, which was not foreign to his Jewish listeners, because this exact war motif was used by the prophet Isaiah all throughout the book especially in chapter 59. And the Gentile believers were no stranger to seeing soldiers themselves, but Paul took this to another level. He impressed upon them to take on God’s armor! This was the best armor one could go into battle with and expect to win.
So, the Apostle Paul instructs us on what to wear and in what order to put it on. Before we can put on the armor, we must prepare ourselves first with the under garment and gird it up tight with the:
Belt of Truth (v.14) which represents more than the truth of God’s word, but the truth of our integrity as we face the enemy.
The Breast Plate of Righteousness (v.14) is there to guard your heart and keep you holy.
You are to prepare your feet with the Peace of the Gospel (v.15) and be ready to go forth and spread the word.
Hold up the Shield of Faith (v.16) so that it will protect you against the flaming arrows of lies, impurity, doubt and fear that are planned by the enemy.
Put on the Helmet of Salvation (v.17), so that it may defend your mind and rescue you from the bondage of the past.
Always make sure the Sword of Spirit (v.17) is in hand, for it is the mighty Word of God.
“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” Ephesians 6:18 (NLT)
Earlier this year I wasn’t alert enough and I took off my armor and the enemy came in for a very big attack. This attack left me spiritually wounded and lying broken in an emotional triage unit for months because I wasn’t dressed for the season…. I wasn’t alert and watching for the enemy. But as Paul has told us, there is hope. All we have to do is put on God’s full armor and stand firm…. because its already been tested. Put on the whole armor of God. Next time you leave home, stop and think, “Am I dressed for the season? Am I ready for battle?”.