How do you move forward after you fall? My pastor encouraged me to create a study plan and to stick to it. I started with a small goal. My first goal was a defensive move, I planned to study the Armor of God. One of two things happened as I read Ephesians 6:10-20, either I have never truly understand the Armor of God, or I had forgotten it. So studying it was like hearing it for the first time. Below you will see what I learned about the Armor of God.
Silver Suit By: Michael Coghlan"10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should" - Ephesians 6:10-20
So what is the Armor of God?
Belt of Truth-
Truth is every word that comes from God. So John 3:16 tells us that God loved the whole world (everybody). So truth is you are loved, you are loved, you are loved. God himself gives us the example of his love and willingness to free us from our sins through Hosea and Gomer. Hosea was told to marry Gomer who would leave Hosea to become a prostitute. She left a loving husband, and kids. Hosea loved Gomer and bought her back. What he paid wasn't cheap, it was expensive for those days. We were also bought with a price, Jesus' blood, his life. So remember you are loved. Not only are you loved but you are forgiven. Much like Hosea purchased Gomer back, Jesus purchased us back from our past.
So today is the first day of the rest of your life.
Truth is more then just God's love toward us, it also tells us how we should live our lives. This introduces us to the breastplate of righteousness.
Breastplate of Righteousness-
I was always told that when someone who believed in God leaves church it is harder for them to come back. This is the fault of guilt and shame, which the breastplate of righteousness help protect you from. Seriously, guilt would have me never show my face in church again. Guilt makes you feel unworthy to face God and others. The truth is the blood of Christ makes us worthy. Living your life to please God, by doing this your breastplate will protect you.
When you doubt it remember that God loves you and sent his son not to condemn you (who believes) but to save you. (John 3:17).
Feet fitted with readiness that comes from the gospel of peace-
No matter where you are, you are being watched. God gives us opportunities to present the gospel to people around us. It could be at the pharmacy while you wait, a coworker or even a friend. Sometimes presenting the gospel doesn't have as much to do with what you say, but how you act. I had a friend who was going through a trial. I knew my friend needed a job. So every opportunity I found I forwarded to her. The gospel to this friend was that even through this trial she was still loved. Another time I was working and I was being my usual happy self. When I was sent to lunch a customer saw me and asked me what was so different about me? For this customer the gospel was the joy the God gives me. I know that I am still being watched, and I know that if people know you go to church or claim to be a Christian you are being watched.
We should pray for ourselves and others as Paul said in the end of this passage. Pray that God will give you the words or actions needed to point others to Jesus, and be prepared at anytime because sometimes you are being watched without even knowing it.
Shield of Faith-
Jordan shooting Jenna with shield
The shield of faith is very important. It allows you to trust God through everything. What do I mean? Well in Daniel we learn of Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego. These 3 refused to bow down to a mortal king or man made idol, because the living God is a jealous God who wants to be our focus of worship. When brought before the king to be thrown into the furnace they were given another chance to bow, but they refused. See they knew God would take care of them. In fact they believed that God could protect them from the fire but if he didn't they believed he could bring them back to life. That is the shield of faith in action. They believed that God would use their situation to glorify Himself.
Abraham had faith in God to lead his own flesh and blood for sacrifice even though that would leave him with no one to carry on his bloodline (which God promised to make as large in number as the stars in the sky). That is the shield of faith. Even though what I want to happen might not, I know God will take care of me in the way he plans
Helmet of Salvation -
Blessed Assurance, have you heard that song before. The helmet of salvation comes when Satan starts beating you over the head with your sin, and how ugly it is to God. But remember Psalms 103? "God does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." (10-12) Nothing you can do can save you, it is what Jesus did for you on the cross that saves you.
Also remember Peter who denied Christ not once but three times. Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him. When Peter said yes he was challenged to help others grow. He was the rock the church was built on. That tells me that nothing I could do could make God not love me anymore. That I can be assured that the Jesus came to show me God's love and to take away my sins.
Sword of the Spirit-
How do I fight? I fight by knowing that God loves me and knowing scripture to use to prove God's love for me when Satan tells me otherwise. Scripture is used to fight the lies you start to believe about yourself and God. The thing here is that you must study. See this is the relationship part that God wants from us. It helps us prepare for battle. The scripture point me to the truth when Satan is feeding me lies. There are times when a certain scripture comes into my mind. Usually either later that day or maybe a few days later I need that scripture to fight Satan's lies.
Which piece of armor do you find is easiest to put on? Which piece of armor do you wish your put on more often?