In my last post I referenced the scripture below and wrote about how by being in Christ we have access to the throne room and by Jesus being in us He has access through His body to accomplish His purposes in the earth.
20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. John 14:20 (NKJV)
I now want to look at another aspect of what this means. Many years ago I read a story of a young pastor who was struggling and when he presented his issues to a more mature pastor the older fellow asked him if he was using the armour provided in Ephesians 6. Since he had just graduated from seminary the young man started to describe what each piece meant and began to break down the text. The older man stopped him and essentially said, “I didn’t ask if you could describe it. I asked if you were using it.” A good question! So, below is the armour.
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 – Ephesians 6:10-18 (NKJV)
Paul tells us we are in a spiritual battle then exhorts us to put on the armour so that we may be victorious in this spiritual warfare that is part of the package of being a Christian. The armour takes us back to the idea of Christ in us and us being in Christ. The tense is important in capturing this. Starting from verse 14 we are told that the first three pieces; the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness and the footwear of the gospel of peace, are things we already have by virtue of our conversion. We have them in the present because we received them in the past.
In Jesus we have truth (Eph. 4:21, Jn. 14:6), He is our righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30, 2 Cor. 5:21), and He is our peace (Eph. 2:14, Jn. 14:27). What we need to do is confess and believe these truths. We need them worked into our hearts to see them effective in spiritual battles.
Once we recognize this reality we are to then actively take up our shield of faith, our helmet of salvation and our sword, His word, because we are in Christ. The first three pieces of armour, we have in Jesus and they are ours at conversion. The other three pieces we ‘take up’ by working them into our lives.
Faith literally shields us from attack and we all have some measure of it at conversion (Rom. 12:3). Through using our faith it grows (Gal. 2:20). The helmet protects our mind and by renewing our mind with His word we begin to have the mind of Christ (Rom. 12:1-2, Phil. 2:5). The sword is His word applied. Paul’s closing point is that as we are engaged in intercession we need to take the scriptures the Holy Spirit quickens to us (praying in the Spirit, or at the leading of the Spirit) and use them. We cannot simply find a scripture to suit our desires, rather we need to submit our desires to His purpose. This is His roadmap to victory.
In my last post included a sentence from a written prayer I developed. Here is another portion that demonstrates one way to apply Ephesians 6.
I thank You that Your word is truth and that as I commit to standing on truth and in truth the enemy is defeated. I thank You that You are my righteousness. Through You I come boldly to the throne of grace, drawing on Your mercy and help. I thank You that as in faith I present my requests to You, Your peace guards my heart and mind. I thank You that my faith in You is a shield that quenches all the attacks of the evil one. I thank You that by filtering my thoughts through the reality of Your salvation, my mind is guarded. I thank You that the proper use of Your word is a sword that drives back the enemy! Eph. 6:10-20, 4:21, John 14:6, Phil. 3:9, 4:6-8, Heb. 4:12, 11:1, 6, 12:2, Rom. 1:16, 8:14, Gal. 5:16, 18
I have provided a number of scripture references in this post when I referenced the pieces of armour. I recognize it takes time but I encourage you, look them up and reflect/meditate upon them so they live within you.
This is not a recipe for an easy life, rather is the way of discipleship. Remember, there can be no victory without a battle. The battle is before us – will we fight?