Armed and Dangerous
By Jeff Calhoun
- "For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood,
but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers
of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the
heavenly places. Wherefore take up the whole armor of God, that ye
may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to
---- Ephesians 6:12-13
It’s no secret that we’re at war.
All throughout Scripture, the life of a believer is likened to a
battle, or referred to in militaristic metaphor. Historically, God’s
chosen people have frequently had to train for and enter battle, both
physical and spiritual. When we submit our wills and take up
the mantle of salvation through Jesus Christ, we become enlisted in
God’s Armed Forces. Now, more than ever, it is obvious that
Satan is unleashing his arsenal, and that we, as soldiers of Yahweh
the King, must get ready to counter. The good news is we’re
In Ephesians 6, a passage familiar to all believers, the Apostle
Paul speaks of the spiritual war we are called to engage in, and admonishes
us to "take up the whole armor of God." This means recognizing that
we are being called to battle, and accepting the weight of that call.
I think that many believers often interpret this passage as a comfort,
which it certainly can be. However, we tend to view the armor Paul
speaks of as though it were designed merely for covering up that which
is vulnerable, so that we could stand with arms wide open, telling
our enemies, "You can’t hit me, because I’ve got armor
on!" That may be a legitimate way to interpret this passage, but it
strikes me as a fairly passive approach to a very active piece of
It seems obvious that God (through Paul) is not calling us to put
on the armor simply to be better protected while we hide from the
enemy. Rather, I’ve come to view this passage as more of a rousing
"pep-up-the-troops" speech -- a summons to battle (think Braveheart).
I think that this was more likely Paul’s original intent. Why
else would people need to put on armor, but to enter battle? As with
all good battle speeches, Paul addresses the rightness of the cause,
the need of soldiers to trust in and depend on their King, and the
fact that the enemy may be a formidable opponent, but is not an unbeatable
one. In other words, this is not simply an exhortation of the brethren,
as many of Paul’s other writings were. It serves a deeper purpose.
Unlike most battle speeches in recorded history, this one encourages
us to recognize the need for constant vigilance at all times,
and that this particular battle rages constantly, or as Paul puts
it, in "all seasons in the Spirit" (v. 18). As he reminds us, our
enemy is not human, but spiritual in nature. Therefore, it doesn’t
act human. It doesn’t sleep or rest or need food for energy
like we do. It is ready and able to do battle 24 hours a day, seven
days a week. It is not a perfect army, but a persistent one.
As our Christian experience teaches us, there can be "seasons in
the Spirit" wherein we feel a great peace, in which the Lord blesses
us with rest, healing, sustenance, energy, fellowship, strength, and
peace, among other things. It is like a temporary "cease-fire" in
the spirit realm.
I have recently been going through such a season, which has been
not only a time of refreshing, but also a time of being mentored,
equipped and raised up for the battle to come. The Lord intends these
quiet periods to be times of growth, strengthening, training and healing
for His children.
An example can be found in Joshua chapter 5, as the Israelites were
camped near Jericho, one of the strongholds that blocked their entrance
to the Promised Land. Just when they felt most confident that the
Lord would command them to rush in and conquer Jericho, God commanded
Joshua to have the people circumcised. Joshua and his people were
therefore forced to wait and recover as they healed from their circumcision.
This is what our Father intends when He blesses us with a calm "season
in the Spirit." He circumcises our inner man, perfecting us from within,
getting us as prepared as possible for the coming war. It may be painful,
but it is our duty to submit to this "internal surgery," as well as
all of the Holy Spirit’s work in our hearts and souls, and rest
in the Lord’s peace until He tells us to stand and fight. This
can be particularly tricky. During these seasons of peace, we can
often feel spiritually "indestructible." We can feel closer to God
than we may have ever felt before, because of the deep internal work
He is doing in our lives.
This has certainly been true for me of late, so I find this passage
particularly applicable and convicting. I realize that I have not
girded myself with the armor of God in all seasons of the Spirit,
that I have not been as diligent in prayer and supplication during
these times of peace as I should have been. When we shirk our duty
in God’s army to pray and seek Him daily, what invariably happens
is that we drop our guard and get suddenly and unexpectedly blind-sided
by a spiritual ambush. It is our duty to be vigilant, and to wear
our armor constantly, as Paul instructs us.
Armed and Dangerous, Part Two
Devotions on Spiritual Life
More from Spiritual Life
Copyright Jeff Calhoun. Used by permission.
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