|EPHESIANS 6:12-18 - THE ARMOR OF GOD||
THE ARMOR OF GOD and THE SPIRITUAL DEFENSE MANEUVERS
Because of this on-going
conflict the believer needs to continually be on his guard in order to
properly handle the attacks that come from the world, the flesh and the devil.
For more details I will relate the armor of God to the SPIRITUAL DEFENSE MANEUVERS that delineate the attitudes and actions required for success as earthly ambassadors for Christ and royal priests of God.
Eph. 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual things of infectious evil in the heavenly spheres.”
2Cor. 10:3, “For though we walk in the flesh (a physical body), we do not war according to the flesh.”
3. Therefore, the weapons employed are not physical, but spiritual, and of God.
2Cor. 10:4, “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but powerful in God for the destruction of fortresses.”
Eph. 6:10, “Finally, be powerful in the Lord even by the authority of His strength.”
Eph. 6:13, “Therefore take up the full armor of God that you may have power to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”
4. However, the believer
remains here on earth in a physical body that is cursed with the presence of
the sin nature that by character expresses rebellious independence from God.
Accordingly, the SCENE of most battles will revolve around the physical body,
and the 5 senses that the sin nature uses to tempt and control the believer.
Rom. 7:14-23; Gal. 5:17-21
See Topic: The sin nature
5. But even with this PHYSICAL context as the battle field, the war is really AND ALWAYS waged IN THE SOUL; in the mind of the believer. It always revolves around what YOU THINK.
2Cor. 10:5, “destroying human logic and every proud thing that lifts itself up against the knowledge of God, and taking every thought captive into the obedience to Christ.”
Romans 8:5-6, “For those who are (walk) according to the sin nature (the flesh) think the things of the sin nature (the flesh), but those who are (walk) according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the thinking of the sin nature (the flesh) results in spiritual neutralization (death), but the thinking of the Spirit results in life and peace.”
6. And what you THINK is determined by what you LEARN. That’s why it is absolutely necessary to relate to God on His terms, knowing and using HIS viewpoint; His truth. And learning and using truth revolves around THE FILLING OF THE SPIRIT. Galatians 5:16, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not bring to completion the desire of the flesh.”
Thus, when we are given the first increment of the armor of God, it is of course, THE BELT OF TRUTH.
But before Paul gets to the armor, he has already clarified the primary issue in spiritual survival at Ephesians 5:18. In this instruction, Paul uses a communication device called antithetical parallelism.
He uses a physical phenomenon that indicates abandonment of one’s mental senses over to be influenced and controlled by a negative and harmful effect to compare with a spiritual condition that indicates influence by a positive and beneficial effect.
A. THE NEGATIVE INFLUENCE: “And do not be drunk (influenced) with wine, in which is abandonment (loss of control).” Wine in excess that is taken into the body will affect the PHYSICAL function of the brain so that there will be loss of control. The person will not be able to do what he WANTS TO DO.
This represents the negative influence of the sin nature as already seen at Galatians 5:17, “with the result that you do not do the things that you want.”
And at Romans 7:19, “for the good that I want (to do) I don’t do, but the evil that I don’t want (to do), THAT I practice.”
And wine is the best
example that Paul can find to illustrate what happens when a negative
influence controls the mind.
And when Paul finishes listing the six items of the armor, he indicates that support through prayer is expressed by the same factor of the filling of the Spirit. He writes, “with all prayer and petition pray at all times, IN THE SPIRIT.”
And Jude also stresses this factor at Jude 20-21, “but you beloved, building yourselves up by your most holy faith; praying IN THE HOLY SPIRIT; keep yourselves in the love of God.”
All these expressions, “in the Spirit;” “walk by the Spirit;” “those who are according to the Spirit;” “be filled with the Spirit;” and “he who is spiritual” (1 Cor. 1:15) refer to the same thing.
7. The pieces of the
armor are symbolic to represent the six spiritual issues of preparation,
character, service, defense, security, and offense – all of which depend on
the 7th factor which is support.
A. The BELT or girdle
provides ease and comfort in movement as well as an anchor for the rest of the
armor. In actuality, everything else depends on this ANCHOR. The Anchor for
the Christian is the word of God – studied, learned and USED. There is no
knowledge of God or of His provisions; the principles and promises of
spiritual truth without the information found in the Bible.
(For details on these maneuvers, see: SPIRITUAL DEFENSE MANEUVERS
The gospel message that the unbeliever hears represents God as the absolute authority in the universe and as the one who has provided the one and only solution to man’s spiritual needs. When the unbeliever accepts the gospel, he is accepting God as represented therein; that is, he has a HUMILITY recognition and acceptance of God’s authority, viewpoint and policy. Accordingly, even before the new believer has learned God’s word, when the he faces temptation and various other pressures in life, the application of humility is the initial maneuver that will encourage him to choose God over the various alternative choices for dealing with the situations.
SPIRITUAL DEFENSE MANEUVER #2 – LOVE FOR GOD
In addition to humility,
the new believer has expressed a BASIC LOVE toward God. That is, he has
expressed a basic placement of VALUE on WHO God is and WHAT He has done (the
concept of first love at Rev. 2:4). All this comes simply from the knowledge
and acceptance of the gospel of salvation.
Both the attitude of HUMILITY and of LOVE toward God are then perpetuated into the new believer’s life so that BY those attitudes he is motivated to STUDY God’s word and then DO what is impressed upon his soul as the right and proper thing to do.
SPIRITUAL DEFENSE MANEUVER #3 – MORALITY
Before the new believer is able to pursue a significant study of God’s word, he will be reminded of a set of moral standards built into his soul that makes him aware of what is right and proper behavior within human society in general. His conscience tells him that these standards are right and proper, and it is his HUMILITY and LOVE toward God which will motivate him to follow those standards before they can be confirmed by his study of God’s written word.
We thus see that there are THREE factors involved with the believer’s initial success in his Christian life; humility, basic love toward God and the morality design within his soul. These maneuvers need to be engaged for the believer to advance in growth so that his character will begin to be changed by the presence of God’s word in the soul.
SPIRITUAL DEFENSE MANEUVER #4 – OCCUPATION WITH THE WORD
Humility, love and moral
influence help the believer resist the negative influence of the sin nature.
Not only that, but as the
word of God CHANGES the soul of the believer, he begins to take on the
character of RIGHTEOUSNESS. This character of righteousness is simply an
intensification of humility, love and moral goodness, and is actually the
radiance of Christ’s character in the life of the believer.
Accordingly, the development
of the CHARACTER of righteousness becomes a key factor for dealing with the
attack from the spiritually antagonistic environment that we reside in here on
earth. And Paul uses the breastplate from the Roman armor to illustrate
protection of the believer’s testimony as a child of God.
9. CHARACTER: The Breastplate of Righteousness
A. The breastplate
symbolizes a righteous character as a protective device to offset the
standards and viewpoint of evil – from the world, the sin nature and the
E. Sinless consistency is
the reality of avoiding the expressions of sin for long periods of time.
SPIRITUAL DEFENSE MANEUVER #5 – THE FILLING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
This refers to the
function of God the Spirit in guiding and influencing the believer through
bringing to remembrance the standards of truth that have been taught to him.
The Filling of the Spirit revolves around the issue of fellowship with God.
The believer experiences the STATUS of fellowship with God when there is no
sin in the life.
As the believer applies
the word of God in order to resist temptation and make the proper decisions
when faced with various pressures and troubles, he demonstrates an attractive
Christian life to those around him. This produces a consistent witness in the
believer and allows him to make an impact on others through his life and his
message. And with the proper knowledge of God’s plan of salvation, then the
believer can give an accurate salvation message and offset the attack of Satan
who uses human viewpoint and religion in his attempt to discredit the plan of
A. The feet symbolize
life and service
As the believer
maintains a consistent testimony of righteousness and a consistent
proclamation of truth, he will come under the attack of those who hate the
light. John 15:18-21
When the believer faces
persecution from his proclamation of the true gospel, he will also come under
the attack of doubt and fear. Under such pressure, he will need to claim the
many and varied promises of God, that are designed to repel the darts of
Satan’s attack. FAITH REST is the spiritual defense maneuver that will keep
the believer focused on the character and plan of God.
SPIRITUAL DEFENSE MANEUVER #6 – FAITH REST
Faith rest is the attitude and practice of being totally relaxed and confident in the character and plan of God based on knowledge and trust in His promises. God has provided us with thousands of specific promises to deal with every situation in life. As we learn them, through engaging the SPIRITUAL DEFENSE MANEUVER of occupation with the word, they become part of our conscience; our standards, and we can be sure that the Holy Spirit will bring them to mind in times of need.
The practice of FAITH
REST pulls together all the previous spiritual defense maneuvers and allows
the believer to combat the insecurity, worry, fear and doubt which is
encountered quite often on a daily basis. FAITH REST functions then as a
SHIELD that repels these darts that attack the comfort and security of the
11. DEFENSE: The Shield
One of the key factors
of trusting in God’s character and plan is salvation security.
The believer can always be assured that God will never leave him or forsake him. The motivation to KEEP ON GOING no matter how hard it gets is a MIND issue. The best way to illustrate the value of the mind and the need to keep it protected is to use the HELMET factor of the Roman armor.
12. SECURITY: The Helmet of Salvation
A. This protects the
head which symbolizes the self-consciousness of the soul or the ego. This is
Where reasoning and free will are located.
Although the Christian soldier can be aggressively “on the attack” without all defensive factors in place, it should be obvious that as in physical combat, when the soldier has all his defenses working efficiently he is able to be much more aggressive in his offensive maneuvers. Accordingly, the last item of armor that Paul mentions is the weapon of OFFENSE, the sword. In the case of the Christian though, it is the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
A. Which is the word of
God: Only the word of God can expose and nullify the deception of the
darkness; human and satanic viewpoint.
2 Timothy 4:2, “Proclaim
the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with
all patience and instruction.”
Of course, the
application of beneficent love is both defensive and offensive in its
The most consistent
expression of beneficent love is based on knowledge of God’s word. When the
believer understands WHO God is and what His plan is, he can promote it and
advance it as an effective ambassador for Christ.
Beneficent love is not only the ULTIMATE in defense but it is also the ULTIMATE in offense to promote and advance THE LIGHT, and to neutralize the effectiveness of the darkness within the periphery of each believer’s influence. As believers remain in fellowship with God and function effectively as ambassadors for Christ, they are actively involved with ADVANCING the progress of God's plan in the world, as that plan moves ever closer to the arrival of Jesus. This fulfils the exhortation found at 2 Peter 3:12.
This completes Paul’s use of the armor illustration to teach about the believer’s spiritual function here on earth. But there is an additional factor which is necessary for encouragement and motivation. It is prayer.
The seventh factor which is not really part of the armor, but necessary in any
combat situation, is support.
- prayer for all the saints.
B. PRAISE Prayer: This is communion with God based on understanding His person and work, and it falls into two categories.
1. Exaltation: Heb.
C. PETITION: This is
asking for things from God “on behalf of” others or for self. 1 Tim. 2:1-2,
1. Prayer for self:
Prayer calls upon God to
act in various situations where He might not otherwise act.
See Topic: PRAYER
Thus, through prayer
support, believers can be encouraged to stay focused on God’s plan for them;
to stay in fellowship by using the spiritual defense maneuvers, and to be
proactive in representing truth to those around him – no matter how grievous
the situation might be.
©Ron Wallace, http://www.biblefragrances.com.
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