Have you ever been in the military? Do you have a family member who has been in the military? Have you or your family member ever had to battle an enemy while being in the military? Have you or your family member ever fought in a war? Have you ever won a battle, but lost the war? Of course these questions and scenarios do not apply to most people, but I am sure there is someone here who can relate to military life. However, I want to go a little deeper and talk about the battles we ALL face every day. It does not mater if you are in the military or not because this is something we all deal with, but maybe we did not recognize it as such.
Do you realize that you are in a battle every day? There is an internal battle within ourselves and there is an external battle with the forces around us. Whether you believe it or not, there is spiritual warfare that you are involved in. However, unlike the battles and wars the military face, the war of true Christians has already been won. We may lose a battle here and there, but the war is already won. It is our job to stay in place and occupy the position in which God has placed us.
Let’s talk more about the internal battles. Have you ever tried to lose weight? In doing so, have you struggled with eating healthy or exercising on a regular basis. You know you need to lose weight for health reasons, but you are not motivated to put in the work. Have you ever tried to change a habit? Perhaps you were diagnosed with diabetes and told that you need to reduce your sugar and carb intake. Have you struggled to follow your doctor’s orders? The doctor told you that you could die if you don’t change your ways, so you want to do it, but you struggle with saying no to sweets or breads. Have you ever wanted to leave your current employment and seek something better or different? Is there a voice inside that tells you that you cannot do it because you are too old, or too valuable to your current employer. However, you are stressed in your current role or you are not comfortable in your current place of employment, so you know you need to make a change.
There are so many scenarios I can share, but the bottom line is that there are internal battles we face on a daily basis that can keep us in bondage to ourselves. We are battling our own flesh and some of us are losing miserably. However, I am going to tell you how to break free! There is a man named Jesus who was human just like us. He battled with himself and won. If you don’t believe me, read Matthew 26:36-44. Jesus was in a battle, and He prayed three (3) times for God to deliver Him, yet he recognized that He had a job to do and what he was dealing with was not about Him. He won because he did not allow His flesh to dictate his future. He lives today because he did not give in to His flesh. He allowed God to complete a work in Him that resulted in everlasting life with no more pain and suffering. He won the battle AND the war. As a result, we only have to focus on our battles because the war is already won. Jesus overcame death so that we can do the same. When a true Christian dies both physically and spiritually, there is life after that death.
Our Christian Walk is the thing that will enable us to win the internal battle. Jesus is the only human who had a perfect Walk. We will never be able to have a perfect walk, but we have a duty to try every day to come as close as we can. The devil has a walk, and he is relentless in completing the goals he has set for himself. He is busy all the time and we should be busy with the walk that God has set before us. God has ordered our steps and all we have to do is follow Him.
Now let’s talk about these external battles that we have less control over. I am here to tell you that you have more control than you think! You do not have to let the enemy, the devil, rule your life. Satan is God’s devil. God created him and he has limited power. He recognizes the power that true Christians have, so he only comes after us when we are at our weakest or lowest point. His goal is to move us out of the position that God has placed us in. However, when we put on the whole armor of God, you can STAND and remain standing where God has placed you. You can find the whole armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-18. I want to take a moment to stop and tell my Pastor, Elder William Eakins, II THANK YOU for how you broke this down to a clear understanding so that I can share this powerful information with others.
In case you don’t know what soldiers wore during bible times, I will try to explain it here while showing you the correlation to God’s armor. The first piece of armor mentioned in the bible is a belt of truth. The Roman soldier wore a belt that held everything together. When things are falling apart in your life, you should stop and ask yourself are you wearing your belt of truth. Now, what is truth? Truth is the objective standard by which reality is defined. Truth is not subjective, meaning it is not subject to people’s opinions. It is not relative to the situation that you are in. Truth is objective and based on the standards set by God alone. If what you think is true does not align with the truth of God, then is is not true. There is only one truth and that is whatever God says is true. When you operate in the truth from God, you don’t have to worry about things falling apart because your belt of truth is holding things together while you stand your ground. Remember, the goal of the external battle is to stand in place and hold your position.
The next piece of armor mentioned is a breastplate of righteousness. Roman soldiers wore a breastplate to protect their vital organs (heart, lung, liver, etc.). As you know, when you sustain injury to a vital organ, you can die. This breastplate was attached to their belt and the belt kept the breastplate in place. It held it together. In the same way, your righteousness should be anchored to the truth. If your truth is relative, your righteousness will be relative and considered filthy rags. I don’t know about you, but I want my righteousness to be considered clean. Why is being clean important? I am glad you asked! Uncleanness hinders function. Think of a car’s engine that requires an oil change after so many miles. That is because dirty oil hinders the function of the engine and can even cause the engine to break and throw a rod. Uncleanness also invites demonic attacks. Think of a hoarder. They have so much clutter that pests and bugs start to invade their living space. We need to clean it up! Let me clarify what righteousness is. Righteousness is your response to that objective truth. When the truth of God is holding your life together, your response will be protecting your position and standing your ground. Your righteousness will protect you from things that are meant to kill you. Your righteousness deals with you being right with God and when your walk is upright, God will justify you and declare that you are righteous. It starts with repentance, which is a change that happens in your mind, your heart, and your direction. We have to repent before God justifies us.
The next piece of armor mentioned is having our “feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” The Roman soldier wore Caligae, which were sandal-boots. The soles had spikes that allowed them to grip the ground when fighting. It kept their feet from slipping. The straps went up their calf and shin and stopped just below the knee. Think of shin guards and cleats that today’s soccer players wear. From a spiritual standpoint, preparation is the foundation, the base upon which we stand. Gospel simply means good news, and we can stand strong when we can have peace with God. Peace with God means having peace of mind and peace that surpasses all understanding. That kind of peace allows you to have joy on the inside because you know that you win in the end. The joy of the Lord give you strength, and now you have come full circle, having strength to stand your ground. What are you standing on?
The most important piece of armor mentioned is the shield of faith. Some people think the shield is the round armor that you see Captain America using. However, that is a type of buckler. The bible talks about God being our shield and our buckler. The shield used by the Roma soldier was called a scutum and it was shaped more like a rectangular door and it was used in a formation that made the soldiers look like a giant tortoise when they stood together. It was made of materials that were soaked in water before the battle so that when the enemy shot fiery darts, the shield quenched them and put the fire out. In a spiritual sense, the devil does not just want to pierce us with darts. He wants to burn us alive. He wants us to feel the pain and agony of the fire. He means serious business. However, when we are armed with the shield of faith, we can withstand his attacks and not be burned. Now, what is faith? The best meaning of faith I have learned is faith is the recognition and acceptance of reality as it truly is. When we have faith, we recognize and accept that objective truth I mentioned. Do you see how all of this fits together? That is why we need the WHOLE armor of God. It all works together.
The next piece of armor mentioned is the helmet of salvation. Everyone knows a helmet is meant to protect your brain. Roman soldiers wore helmets that covered their ears and their neck somewhat. Today’s helmets barely fit on your head with straps to hold it on, and your whole neck is exposed. A bicycle helmet is even worse than the military helmet. A motorcycle helmet is better for bike riding, in my opinion. Yes, I am joking, somewhat… I digress. Let’s look at salvation. The helmet of salvation protects our thoughts, which can be influenced by our heart. There are many verses in the bible that call our heart wicked because it is ruled by our emotions. When our emotions are not in check, we can think bad thoughts, wicked thoughts that are not pleasing to God. The helmet of salvation protects our thought process and helps us guard our mind. Many people talk about salvation in terms of saving souls. The helmet is the hope of salvation. With hope, we have an expectation. The hope of salvation is that our whole self is saved; body, soul, and spirit. There are three (3) phases to salvation. I mentioned Justification. That is the first phase of salvation where our SPIRIT is revived and connected with God after we repent. The next phase of salvation is Sanctification which is a process of reformation where our SOUL becomes more Christlike. We are set apart in this process as we learn how to walk like Christ. The last phase of salvation is Glorification where death is the ultimate end to the corruption of the BODY. The bible mentions in 1 Corinthians 15:51-54 that we will be raised from the dead and changed to have an incorruptible body, a glorified body that never dies.
The last piece of armor mentioned is the sword of the Spirit. When we hear the word sword, we tend to think of the warrior sword that is used to cut the head off the enemy. However, the sword the Roman soldiers used was more like a dagger that allowed them to stab their enemy in hand-to-hand combat. It is a precision instrument that enabled the soldier to inflict precise wounds to stop their enemy. The Christian sword is the Word of God and it brings life, has power, is sharper than any double-edged sword, and is so precise that it can divide a spirit from the soul, and a joint from the bone marrow. When you read it and allow it to penetrate your heart, mind, and spirit, you can find discernment to know the intentions of people, whether they mean you harm or good – Hebrews 4:12 (KJV).
There are multiple pieces of armor and you need them ALL to be protected. If any piece is missing, you risk losing the battle. You need to put on the WHOLE armor of God if you want to win the battles that you face everyday.
I hope this message was helpful. Until we meet again, I pray many blessings over your life!