The Full Armor of God
I've been thinking about the "armor of God" lately. I know people who insist that we should pray the armor-prayer (Eph. 6:10-20) every day. Now, to me that seems just a little, I don't know, superstitious. It's not that I don't think we ought to put on the armor of God, but I'm just wondering how we do that? In some cases it's obvious. If you want to take up the sword of the Spirit (which is the Word of God), for example, you've got to be in the Word often, imbibing its principles, understanding its precepts, encouraged by its wonderful portrait of the grace of God in Christ. If you do these things, you will be able to apply those principles and precepts to every situation in which you find yourself. Isn't that what wielding the sword of the Spirit is all about?
Well, whatever it's about, it's surely about more than simply the ritualistically repetition of Ephesians 6:17 ("Lord, I'm taking up the sword of the Spirit now, which is the Word of God.") Repeat those words if it helps, of course, but the key thing is to know the Word. To be thoroughly engaged with it day-by-day, allowing it to challenge you in every aspect of your life.
Now, just let me say that the people I know who repeat the armor-prayer each day are people who do that. I'm not suggesting that their faith is shallow or something. I'm only saying that putting on the full armor of God means much more than reading the armor passage. Putting on the breastplate of righteousness, for example. What's that all about? What does it mean to put on that particular piece of armor? How does righteousness defend me from the enemy? And whose righteousness? And how do I put it on?
I'm asking these questions this morning without having formulated anything but the shadow of an answer to some of them. But I do know one thing. At the beginning of the armor-passage, Paul says, "Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the full armor of God." Note: it's in His strength that we are strong. It's His armor we're putting on. If righteousness is to be our breastplate, protecting us from the attacks of the enemy, well then we must first remember that it is God's righteousness that protects us, not our own. In fact, every piece of the armor is His.
Maybe I'll get back to the armor passage at some point. All I know is, we need that armor, because we truly are in a battle. The enemy is firing those flaming arrows even now. How shall we extinguish them, if not by the shield of faith?