"Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore..."
Right before this verse the Bible says that we don't wrestle with flesh and blood, but against ... "spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places" and then "therefore take up the full armor of God."
There is a reason that during trials, persecution, and temptations that we must take up the armor of God and not the armor of man, and that is because we don't wrestle against man. There are plenty of defenses we can take up that are part of the "arsenal of man", but fighting spirit with flesh will never be effective.
Let me give a few extreme, but simple examples. Get a knife and stab a suicidal thought. Use your own words to yell at a demon and scare him away. How about just pack some mace and get your CHL to pack some heat to feel protected from the "spiritual forces of wickedness". Maybe you could use manipulation to convince them to leave you alone. Sounds pretty ridiculous doesn't it? Sounds almost as ridiculous to me as thinking that we can stand in this life without fighting the way the Word teaches us to fight.
When we attempt to stand in OUR own strength we are literally taking our little toddler self to a golden glove boxing match and hoping for the best.
If you look up the definition of stand there are over 50 possible descriptions. Here is the one that I feel is fitting for what God intends for His children:
STAND- to endure or undergo WITHOUT harm or damage or without giving way
Here is what Ephesians 6:10-11 says, "Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of HIS MIGHT, put on the FULL ARMOR of God, so that you will be able to STAND FIRM against the SCHEMES OF THE DEVIL."
To STAND and STAND FIRM we must BE IN HIS STRENGTH, and not our own. To do this, we must put on HIS ARMOR, and not just pieces of it, but the FULL ARMOR.
How protected is a football player that has a hip pad, but no helmet? When any piece of armor is missing there is a vulnerability to the enemy that is easily recognized by your opponent. As a player and as a coach in basketball I looked for the vulnerable link in the other team as a whole and as an individual. Does the point guard struggle dribbling with their left hand, does the post have slow feet, can the defense recover from penetration of the key? Whatever weakness I found, we capitalized on, so that we would win.
I dare to say that many times we struggle to stand because we neglect to put on all of our armor and therefore try to compensate in our own strength.
So, what about this armor?
1) Gird your loins with truth. In Sunday school this is the "belt of truth". What does this mean, BE GROUNDED IN TRUTH. Know the Word. Do not be carried away by false doctrine or confused about God's character.
2) Breastplate of righteousness. This is important because number one not only reminds you who God is, but tells you who you are. You are the righteousness of God. You need the breastplate of righteousness to know who you are in Christ and be confident enough in what Christ did to know that you can go "boldly to the throne of grace" (Heb. 4:16)
3) Shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Where shoes of peace. This is one of my favorites because this is so contradictory to our flesh. One of your greatest defenses is to be peace, live in peace, and act out of peace, NOT out of confrontation. "BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS". Don't contribute to discontent, arguments, fighting, but present peace.
4) ABOVE ALL taking the shield of faith. Look at what He says right after this. "so that you may quench every fiery dart of the enemy". Without faith you are wide open for attack. You must believe that He that is in you is greater than he that is in the world. You must believe that your Daddy God will protect you. You must know the Word and BELIEVE that Word and have FAITH in God. Over and over Jesus said, "Oh you of little faith..." Faith protects us from the enemy.
5) Helmet of Salvation. I do not think it is coincidence that salvation is the helmet and the helmet protects the mind. The very first thing that the devil tested Jesus with was challenging His identity as the Son of God. If you have received the gift of salvation you are now a CHILD OF GOD and the enemy does not want you to believe that or get close to tapping into what inheritance you have as a child. Put the helmet of salvation, the protection and truth of your salvation around your mind, so that when the enemy lies about and challenges your identity, you KNOW that you are a CHILD.
6) Sword of the Spirit. The Word of God. This isn't about just knowing the Word like the belt of Truth. This is about USING THE WORD. A sword is useless if left on the ground. A sword in the hands of a soldier is a weapon. Notice also, that once again when Jesus was tempted by the devil, He used the Word. The Word coming out of your mouth is stronger than any tool of man or weapon of the enemy. Use the Word by speaking it out daily while on defense and even on offense.
7) The last one I like to put is.. Pray in the Spirit always. Holy Spirit lives inside of you. Commune with Him. Listen for His battle plan in all situations. Ask Him how to handle situations.
To stand, to endure and undergo without harm or damage or giving way, we must FIGHT this spiritual battle with our Spirit full armor of God.
Christ has won the war, but also warned us that we are in a battle. We can take heart because He overcame and thus gave us the tools and taught us to overcome.
I want to encourage you today, you might be weary and tired, but you can stand. You have what it takes to stand, for in HIS MIGHT we can overcome EVERY trial.