Sunday, March 20, 2011

Has a Designer, One-of-a-Kind, Hand-Tailored...

When I was growing up, I was a runt. I was so skinny that my mom had to sew most of my clothes. I was so skinny that we had to find specialty shops with size 0s through most of my high school years. I was so skinny that my daddy used to tell people if I would stick out my tongue I’d look like a zipper! When I was a teen, they didn’t make clothes for people like me, and I wanted so badly to be able to buy my clothes off the rack. To have a name or label on my clothes, well, that just didn’t happen.

This week was meditating on God’s Word. I asked my friends to write down Ephesians 6:10-18 on a 3 by 5 card. They were to meditate on these verses this week and see if they could answer the following questions:

1. What part of the body is not covered by the armor of God?

2. Why is the armor of God put on in this order?

3. What are the defensive pieces of the armor?

4. What are the offensive pieces of armor?

In order to meditate on God’s Word, we must still have perspective. You need to read the whole chapter of Ephesians 6. Who was Paul writing to? Does this apply to you?

How would you read this Scripture using your imagination? For me, I drew a person (stick person), and I drew the armor onto the body. That’s when some of my questions began. How did you use your imagination? In my class, I used a large belt that a friend of mine used when she was having back problems, a corset, a wide brim hat, and some shoes – things my girlfriends could relate to and associate with pieces of armor. Granted armor is worn on the outside of the clothing for everyone to see, and some of my garments were not, but it still provided a visual!

So, let’s dig into Ephesians 6:10 – 18. The first thing I realize is this armor is for doing battle like a gladiator not a knight. A knight is covered from head to toe. A gladiator is not.

The very first piece of armor is the BELT OF TRUTH. The word “truth” rang a bell in my head, so I looked up the verse. In John 14:6, Jesus said He was the Way, the Truth and the Life. For Christians, the first thing we need to put on is Christ. He is the foundation on which everything else is built. The belt gives support to your core. Bodybuilders use weight belts when they are lifting heavy weights to support their body while they do a difficult task. Jesus says He will never leave us or forsake us no matter how hard or difficult the task – He gives support.

The second is the BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. What in the world is righteousness? Another word for you to ponder and look up. For me, righteousness is the character of a Christian. Character is what we do when no one else is around. 1 Peter 1:13-16 says, we are to be holy just as Christ is holy. Do not take my word for it. LOOK IT UP! Why a breastplate? Holiness and being Christ-like protects our vital organs that sustain life – our heart, our lungs, etc. If we are living a holy life, doing what is right in the eyes of God, there is protection.

The third piece is the FEET OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE. Matthew 28:16-20 says we are to go. We are to go and tell others, so they may be saved. Your feet are what take you. They are how you “go.”

The fourth piece of armor is the SHIELD OF FAITH, and it is used on one of your arms. You have faith because Jesus is your support. You have faith because He is with you and is your strength, fortress, rock, deliverer, stronghold, refuge, and the list goes on – see Psalm 18. God gives you the amount of faith you need in order to extinguish the arrows of Satan…not just deflect, but EXTINGUISHES.

Then we are to put on the HELMET OF SALVATION. I have to tell you. I had a hard time with this one. I asked other people their thoughts and opinions. I read commentaries. I read other translations of the Bible. Why would a Christian need to put on Salvation? Then I remembered Luke 9:23, “Then he said to them all: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Romans 6:6, “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.” We must daily die to our selfish desires and wants and pick up the cross and follow Him. We must choose to live like a Christian every day. Have you ever met someone who claimed to be a Christian but lived like the Devil? That’s my point. We have to choose to lay down our own agenda to follow Him.

One other thing about the HELMET – what does it protect? Your brain. Your thought-life. Your mind is a battlefield (

And the only offensive type piece of armor is THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT which is the Word of God. Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing the soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” The Word of God does not change. It is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. The Truth within it does not morph in order to fit society or our desires.

The last piece of armor is the offensive piece. God doesn’t want us taking on principalities, spiritual forces of evil or anything in His name if we are not adequately prepared and suited up, and yet we often leave the house NAKED walking right into the lion’s den completely unprepared and ill-equipped by our own choosing. And we wonder how we fall time and time again? DUH! (Trust me. I am guilty of it too.)

So, what isn’t protected? YOUR BACKSIDE! There is nothing there to protect those who turn tail and run. God equips us with the top-of-the-line, best-made, hand-tailored armor to each of us. It is by His strength that we fight, and ladies, if you haven’t read the end of the book, He is the VICTOR! WOOHOO! GLORY HALLELUJAH!

Now, we aren’t done yet. In this passage of Scripture, what is repeated? What words do you see over and over? If it is repeated, it is important. How about – FULL ARMOR OF GOD? Meaning, it isn’t enough to put on one piece and go out into the world. If you go out and only take the breastplate, then you are living in your own strength, and your righteousness will fail. If you wear your salvation, but are unprotected from the head down, you are living unprotected.

We also see the word STAND. Stand firm. We can have the confidence in standing firm because we are suited up. We are ready to fight in God’s strength not our own.

Then the last verse is directing us to pray in the Spirit. This isn’t the prayer that we say by rote. Pray as the Spirit guides you. Pray as the Spirit teaches you.

Next week's faithwork: 1 Peter 4:8-11 Use all the things you've learned and apply it to your life. Let's see what that looks like.

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