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Armed and Dangerous
Spiritual Life

Armed and Dangerous, Part One

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Armed and Dangerous (part 2)

By Jeff Calhoun
Guest Writer - "So, what is this armor of God, really? Well, I don’t believe it’s as simple a concept as most Christians tend to think it is. It’s certainly a nice metaphor, but I think that many people limit it to simply that, a pretty mental picture. I believe that ultimately, it’s a lifestyle.

In writing to the Ephesians in this passage, Paul was being very intentional with the words he chose, and with what parts of the body he applied the various parts of armor to. Each piece of armor represents an important and powerful spiritual truth. Just as the enemy we fight is comprised of powers and spiritual forces not of this earth, so are the weapons and accessories we must use to combat it.

First, Paul admonishes us to gird our loins with TRUTH (v. 14), as though it were a belt. The loins, of course, are defined as the abdominal and pelvic regions, and are obviously quite a vital area. They not only contain most of our digestive and intestinal organs, but our entire reproductive systems. It’s as if Paul is instructing us to "eat" the Truth, and that doing so will protect our seed, our progeny, the fruit of our loins. Walking and believing in God’s Truth will therefore protect our children and subsequent generations.

Also, in Paul’s day, the belt of a suit of armor literally held much of the armor together. If the enemy were to cut the belt, the sword would clatter to the ground, and the breastplate would just flap in the breeze. In other words, our spiritual arsenal "hangs" on God’s Truth. Another thing to consider: If we consistently gird our loins with Truth, we won’t really be free to do things with our pelvic regions that we shouldn’t be doing.

Next, we are to wear the "BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS" (v. 14). The typical notion of righteousness is that it is purity or a high moral character. This is not the true definition of righteousness, but a product of walking in righteousness. Simply put, righteousness is believing and operating in that which is right. Webster’s Dictionary defines it as "acting in accord with divine or moral law". There is a big difference between what is "good" and what is "right". As Scripture says, there is a way that seems right in the eyes of men, but ultimately it leads to doom.

Why a breastplate? I think this one is obvious: to guard our hearts. Walking in righteousness is a decision made not simply with the mind, but with the heart, soul and spirit. Wearing the breastplate at all times will keep the enemy from infiltrating our hearts. A breastplate also protects the lungs. We are to breathe in and exhale the breath of God’s righteousness.

For our feet, we are to wear the "PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE" (v. 15). This one isn’t quite as easy to grasp right away, but I think it simply means the study and practice of Jesus’ gospel; in other words, living by His example. Here, quite literally, we are "walking" in one accord with Jesus if we commit to study and live out the example He sets for us in the gospels. "Gospel of peace" refers to the spreading of the gospel, the message of salvation through the blood of Jesus (easy to forget sometimes if all we do is concentrate on self-purification and improvement).

"THE SHIELD OF FAITH" (v. 16) is an easy one to understand, but no less important than the others for that reason. Without faith, would we even consider walking with God? Faith is a major, if not THE major catalyst for a relationship with the Lord, and the key to receiving salvation, healing and deliverance. It is faith that drives us to pray, and what convinces God that we mean what we say when we pray. Thus, faith is what covers us and blocks attack from the enemy.

However, faith is not indestructable, just as a man-made shield used in combat is not indestructable. It requires, first of all, proper engineering; the shield must be strong to begin with. Also, it must be repaired, maintained and strengthened regularly (through constant prayer, as well as fellowship and exhortation of the brethren), but, unlike an earthly shield, it cannot be replaced.

A shield is also a defensive weapon, not just something to hide behind. It must be strong and sturdy, but also light, mobile and always at hand. To quote Webster’s again, faith is "allegiance to duty or a person". Just as armies would decorate their shields with the colors of their nation or the coat of arms of their king, so are our shields symbols of our allegiance to our King, The Lord. They not only protect us from the blows of the enemy, but they let him know to whom we belong.

Next is the "HELMET OF SALVATION" (v. 17). Salvation, of course, is freedom and liberation from the bondage of sin, ignorance and illusion. More specifically, it is the result of the act of submission of one’s will to God, of total dependence on Him. Think of a drowning person in the ocean, reaching up, clawing at the sky to be saved. Salvation comes when someone reaches down and takes that grasping hand and frees the drowning person from the grip of the water. In our case, that someone is The Lord, our God. However, the drowning person must want to be saved.

Why a helmet? A helmet protects the head, thereby protecting the brain, the physical mind. As Scripture instructs us we are to "put on the mind of Christ". Putting on the helmet of salvation is therefore an act of submission; we are putting our mind aside and taking on the mind of Jesus. So, when worn properly and consistently, this helmet will protect our thought life and keep our mind focused on the task at hand.

Lastly is the "SWORD OF THE SPIRIT, WHICH IS THE WORD OF THE LORD" (v. 17). This isn’t the only time in Scripture that God’s Word has been likened to a sword (see Hebrews 4:12), and there’s good reason for that. Look closely at that word "Sword;" Hidden inside is "Word". The Lord’s Word, not just the written Word, but the expressed and/or manifested mind and will of God, is an extremely, unfathomably powerful force that can cause great pain, even to those who wield it (The Lord often penetrates us deeply with the very sword we brandish, His Word). Yet out of that cutting pain comes great healing, deliverance and freedom.

Notice that the Sword of the Spirit (so called because the Word is brought forth by the Spirit) is the only offensive weapon in the arsenal Paul talks about. The Lord’s Word is specifically designed to dispatch and carry out His holy Vengeance, His true Justice. If His Word can bring about the creation of the known universe, imagine what it can do to those who oppose Him. When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, He used the Word to defeat each of the enemy’s attacks. Without an offensive weapon in hand, a purely defensive arsenal does you very little good.

The Word is the beginning and end of all that has gone before in our armor: Truth, Righteousness, The Preparation of the Gospel of Peace, Faith and Salvation. Without the Word of The Lord, there is nothing.

We are in a battle, and our enemy is gaining strength, but there is nothing to fear. As Paul states in Romans 8:31, "If God is for us, who can be against us?" God has placed in our possession the most powerful defensive and offensive instruments of war known to man (or spirit). Take courage, press in, and buckle on your armor daily, for the victory is ours in Christ!

Armed and Dangerous, Part One

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Copyright Jeff Calhoun. Used by permission.

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