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Armed and Dangerous
Spiritual Life

Armed and Dangerous, Part Two

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Armed and Dangerous

By Jeff Calhoun
Guest Writer - "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 stand."

---- 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 well equipped.

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 Scripture.

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

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Copyright Jeff Calhoun. Used by permission.

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