By William Ballard
As you may know, it has been little awhile sense I have published an article for my Apostolic Devotions Blog. I want you to know that I am deeply sorry for this. I don't want to make excuses, but client work has gotten the best of me as of late.
As you know, I am working on a "Blog-to-Book" series entitled, "For Apostolic Christian Writers Only" (of which, I want you to know that I am still working on behind the scenes), but lately I have been feeling God tugging at my heart strings to put that project aside, just for the time being, and start a new short Spiritual Warfare series entitled, Putting on "The Full Armor of God".
With that said, I am going to be sharing a series of articles covering each of the six articles of God's Spiritual Armor mentioned in Ephesians chapter 6. I have spent the last few weeks in serious prayer and study about this passage of scripture, and I believe that what you will read in this series will be of great spiritual value to you as well as a blessing of encouragement.
Who Are We Fighting and Where is The Battle Fought?
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." (Ephesians 6:12)
One thing that we must make clear from the outset is that your battle is not with flesh and blood, it is not with people. Although you may think you have enemies or that it is people that are coming against you, it is important that you understand this fundamental truth: Your battle is in the spiritual realm, not the physical.
You have to understand that you are not a physical being that goes through a spiritual experience every now and then. You are a spiritual being living a human (physical) experience. You see, your Creator is Spirit, and when Spirit breathed life into Adam's nostrils, it was in that moment that scripture tells us that Adam became a "living soul" (Gen. 2:7). In other words, the essence of our being originates from Spirit.
You come from or originate from the spiritual realm. Your spiritual essence only occupies this physical body while you live and move in this physical realm. When you die, your physical body will return to the earth, but your spirit, your true essence, will return to where it came from -- the spiritual realm, and back to it's Creator, it's life source.
With that said, if you are a born again, spirit-filled believer, your only enemy is the wicked one and those demonic forces that make up his army. And the battle field for this fight is in "High Places". The scripture tells us that Satan is the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2), but God is still ruler over ALL.
One thing that you will notice is that Paul declared that this is the "Armor of God". In other words, it is God's armor and not ours. I am sure you can recall back to the OT when young David tried to put on the armor of King Saul. As we all can remember from the story, young David was not able to fit into King Saul's armor, it was jut too big for him. You see, King Saul's armor was custom made to fit him, and him alone.
The difference between God's armor and King Saul's armor is that God's armor is ONE size fits ALL (that is it can fit ALL spirit-filled believers), King Saul's armor was ONE size fits ONE.
But now watch this: Where King Saul's armor was specific to him, God's armor is specific to Him as well. In other words, it is specific to the Spirit that is within you. The armor of God is a ONE size fits ALL. It is not limited by a certain measurement of size. Just as Paul told us to put on the "whole of armor of God", he also, in like manner, told us to put on Christ (Galatians 3:27, Romans 13:14).
In short, the armor of God fits perfectly, like a glove, to the Spirit that is within you. In the OT, King Saul's armor was physical, in the NT, God's armor is spiritual. In the physical there are limitations, but in the spiritual there are no limitations. With God, ALL things are possible!
The apostle Paul new that we were going to need to "wrestle against flesh and blood" but he was not declaring that this would be a physical wrestling match, but that it would be a continual ongoing, back-and-forth, with the forces of darkness in the spiritual realm.
Just as it is in the physical, Paul new that the type of warfare that he was implying would demand spiritual strength and to be completely suited in the "whole armor of God". Not only do I believe Paul was adamant that every piece of God's armor was essential for battle; no piece was to be left out, but that the order in which the armor is to be put on is equally important.
We are to stand with our loins girded up and protected by His truth; having on the breastplate of righteousness; with our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; and taking the shield of faith, with the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit (the ultimate authority).
Although ALL aspects of the armor are important, how we are to fight is what is most important, and you will find out what that it as we progress through this series.
Spiritual Warfare -- Series Overview
Belt of Truth
Why did the apostle Paul start this imagery of armor with a belt? Why did he relate the belt to truth? What is truth? What makes the belt significant? When you first think about armor, is a belt the first thing that comes to mind? Wouldn't it be more accepted to think of a weapon such as the sword of the spirit first, or perhaps even the shield of faith first?
These are some of the questions that we will be looking into as we go through this first article.
Breastplate of Righteousness
Paul was not the first to metaphorically describe the breastplate as a symbol of righteousness. In fact, Isaiah made mention to it back in 59:17 of his book. This was when he was describing a prophetic vision that he was having of our Messiah: "For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke."
This sounds like Isaiah had a vision of our Lord wearing His armor while moving into battle. Perhaps, Paul was fleshing out these OT prophetic passages when he was telling us to put on the "whole of armor of God".
What does it mean to "have on righteousness"? How does the breastplate help to keep our heart right? These are just some of the questions we will be looking in to in this article.
Feet Shod With The Preparation of The Gospel of Peace - Boots
It seems a bit contradictory, when talking about warfare, to turn around and start talking about peace. And being a former Marine, I believe that I have a very unique perspective to the importance of this particular component of the armor of God.
When going through my own combat training, I found out real quick how important it is to take good care of your feet. There is not much you can do if you are not able to walk or stand. In this article we will talk about what Paul meant when he said, "to have your feet shod with the 'preparation' of the gospel of peace."
The Shield of Faith
The majority would normally categorize the shield as a defense component of the armor, and even though that be so, it can also be used on the offensive. In fact, there is a lot that could be said about the shield of faith.
If we look at it just as a shield, it can be used to not only shield one person, but it can also be used to protect a handful of God's soldiers. Think about how police officers use their shields when dealing with dangerous rioters on the street. What they do is they get close together and create a type of wall where the entire police squad can move forward toward the crowd without being harmed by debris being thrown at them.
Paul told us in Ephesians 6:16 that we are to take up the shield of faith so that we are able to quench all the fiery darts of the enemy. You see, we can use the shield as an offensive piece of weaponry in order to advance toward our enemy, and at the same time, use as a defensive tool to block all the fiery darts (arrows) of the enemy. Our faith can be stronger than the enemies shots at us.
The Helmet of Salvation
The helmet is meant to protect our heads, our minds, our thoughts. And especially since our battle is being fought in "high places", it is important to understand that those "high places" are in the thought realm (the spiritual realm).
Did you know that you can rest assured in your salvation? Did you know that there are some out there who still question whether or not they are saved. If you are unsure, it is like walking out onto the battle field without your helmet. You see, without your helmet of salvation, you become open to every wind of doctrine.
The Sword of the Spirit - The Word of God
The Sword of the Spirit (The Word of God) is the primary offensive weapon which completes the Armor of God. If you were to do a study over cases of people who have killed people with knives what you would find is that in most of these types of cases the killers often end up cutting themselves in the process.
Well, the same can happen with us if we attempt to go into battle without the Helmet of Salvation or even the Belt of Truth. Without the Belt of Truth, just drawing the sword from it's holster could cause more harm to us rather than to our enemy. And without the Helmet of Salvation, if we were to go into a fight with just the Shield of Faith and the Sword of the Spirit, we leave our head wide open, which would not only be open to the enemy's fiery darts, but to our own lashing of the sword.
Now, that is just a brief overview of what we are going to be going over in this short series. But even with all that said, we must keep in mind what the apostle Paul said in Ephesians 6:18, "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints"
Although it is important that we put on the "whole armor of God", it is even more important that we stay prayed up. Why? Because prayer is actually how we fight in spiritual warfare. In the final article of this series we will get into a more deeper dimension of how important prayer is in our fight "...against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." (Ephesians 6:12)
I hope you are excited as I am about this series. I look forward to reading your thoughts in the comments below, and at the end of every article.
ATT: Prayer Warrior...
GIVE ME A FEW MINUTES OF YOUR TIME, AND WITH THE LORD'S HELP, I WILL SHOW YOU HOW TO BECOME AN OVERCOMER EVERY TIME YOU FIND YOURSELF GOING THROUGH A SPIRITUAL BATTLE
New to all this and don't know where to start? Let me help you!
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William Ballard is the author of "The True Writer's Life: Discovering The Author and Finisher of Our Faith," which is the book that essentially started it all for William. In conjunction with the coaching he provides for free through his blogs and articles all across the web, he also offers Personal Writing and Business Coaching where he teaches freelance writers and aspiring authors how to start, build and maintain full-time, high-earning writing careers.