Monday 21 May 2012

Getting dressed.

In the mid 90's, I visited the former city of Ephesus, in Turkey. I was on a package deal holiday and it was the one location I was keen to go to. It was an incredible experience, being able to walk along streets that some of the earliest Christians walked on and I spent the day taking photo's and marveling at the place.

At the end of the day, I looked at my camera and realised the day's photos were all missing. I had managed to load the film (remember that stuff?) incorrectly and it wasn't moving when I wound it on.
All I had left was the first picture of the Roman baths and one or two street shots. I seem to remember that city quite well though, possibly due to the lack of physical evidence that I was there!
The book of Ephesians reminds me of Ephesus, not just because it is the same city, but because I haven't been reading much of it recently yet always seem to remember a lot of it. So when I went back to read it a few weeks ago, I found that the Lord was teaching me about getting dressed. The armour of God was coming up in all circumstances for me so I listened to the promptings and started reading and studying.

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Ephesians 6v10, NKJV
As I read this passage, I noticed that there was another message behind what was there in front of me. Paul told us to take care of different parts of our bodies, as a soldier would.

He started off by telling us to "gird our waist with truth". The belt of a Roman soldier kept everything in place, so it was a very important part of his attire. It's the same with us, we have to be sure that truth is wrapped around us when we go out every day. Being surrounded by Truth means that no matter where we turn, we know that He is there. Failing to do that allows our whole Armour to fall apart.

The next part of the armour is the "breastplate of righteousness". The breastplate covered all the vital organs, the heart, lungs, kidneys etc. Wearing righteousness as our breastplate is important not just because it protects our hearts from spiritual attack, but it means that our hearts will be in a place of righteousness and therefore will be protected. The lungs are also a major organ that's covered by righteousness. When you have the breath of Life in you, it's good to be surrounded by righteousness!

We then get our shoes on, "shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace". Put these shoes on and you're ready to walk in peace wherever you go. Jesus won the victory and He wants us to walk in the fruit of the Spirit.

We then pick up our "shield of faith". Believing that God is bigger and more able than anything that is thrown at us is key to us becoming better warriors for Him. Using our faith to block out both the obvious and the subtle darts of the enemy is how to resist the enemy.

"The helmet of salvation"- Knowing who God is and knowing who we are in God. When our heads are surrounded by the knowledge of God, there is no room for the enemy's thoughts to take root. Being focussed on God allows us to heed His instructions and knowing who God is, exposes the work of the enemy.

Once dressed, we can take up our weapon, "The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God". When God speaks, it happens. When God speaks, it is Truth. When God speaks, it is Jesus. Nothing can compete with Jesus, He is our sword.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
John 1v1-5, NKJV

Jesus is the Word, He is our sword. Jesus is our Salvation, the only way to get to heaven, (Jesus said "I am the way"), He is our Helmet. Our faith in Jesus is our shield. What Jesus does in us allows us to walk in peace. The breath of Jesus which has given us life ("I am the Life"), and the righteousness of Him surrounding our hearts is our breastplate. Jesus said "I am the Truth", He is our belt.

The armour of God is all about Jesus. Being surrounded by Him, Walking in His peace, Enveloped by His righteousness, Believing His way, Speaking His name, Believing His word.

Jesus is there to protect us in body (shield), soul (breastplate) and mind (helmet). His desire is to be involved in each aspect of our lives, to enable us to walk in peace and in victory.
Finally, there is no mention of protection for our backs. We are going into battle, not retreating, and besides that, who do you think has your back when you go out every day?
Next time you're getting dressed, remember what Jesus said:
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
John 14v6, NKJV
Invite Jesus in, get Him involved and believe what He says, do this and you're ready to face the day!

Roger C.