"Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.Ephesians 6:11" (MEV)
Christians are engaged in constant warfare with the devil and his dark forces. Spiritual warfare is unavoidable since our mission is to advance the kingdom of God while the devil is bent on fighting God and destroying the church. Like in any warfare, there will be casualties. Soldiers get wounded. Spiritual and emotional wounds are no less serious than physical ones. Potentially, it can be worse because it is hidden and not well understood. Surely, you have witnessed how some people’s lives fall apart because of bitterness, deep hurts, unhealthy addictions, and the likes.
The apostle, Paul, urges us to be watchful of our lives, failing which the evil one will take advantage of us. He uses the imagery of the Roman soldier’s armour to bring across his point. We are to put on the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit. And after having done all that, to pray in the Spirit always.
How do we put on these pieces of armour?
Most Christians do so through their prayer. They would pray, “I put on the belt of truth. I put on the helmet of salvation. I raise the shield of faith and so on.” Well, we can certainly pray but that is not what Paul means when he says to put on the armour of God.
Putting on the armour of God is a daily exercise. It is something that you do on a consistent basis. It is the way you live your life.
For example, putting on the helmet of salvation means guarding what you allow into your mind. You should not entertain trashy thoughts and sensual images. You should not allow any knowledge that is contrary to the knowledge of God to settle in your mind. Any time the devil tries to plant his lie in your mind, reject it and replace it with the truth of God’s Word.
How often have the devil convinced you that nobody loves you. That is a lie. The truth of the matter is God loves you so much that all the three Persons of the Trinity were fully involved to save your soul. In love, the Heavenly Father chose you and predestined you to be adopted as His child. Jesus died for you. The Holy Spirit, who is living in you, is a guarantee of the promised inheritance.
Putting on the helmet of salvation involves renewing your mind by constantly immersing yourself in the Word of God. Fill your mind and soak it with the Word of God. When the Word of God becomes the stronghold in your mind, it would be very difficult for Satan tempt and deceive you. Then, you have a strong and impenetrable helmet of salvation.
You get the point. You do not put on the helmet of salvation through praying when the need arises but through constantly filling your mind with God’s truth and purposefully committing yourself to think righteously.
Let us look at another example. All too often, we falter in our faith when we face crises. During those difficult moments, we try to muster all the faith we can to no avail. You can pray “I raise the shield of faith” but it is not going to mean anything. It has no effect because the armour of God is not a magical formula where you can use as in an incantation.
You learn to raise the shield of faith in your daily mundane walk with God. Whenever you face a challenging situation, no matter the how big or how small it is, you learn to acknowledge God and trust Him to direct your path. Every small victory will add to your reservoir of faith. Then, when a big crisis looms, you would know how to raise the shield faith.
Abraham did not become the father of faith overnight. It took him many years to learn to trust God. Twice, he cowardly traded his wife for his own safety. When the promised son was too long in coming, he took things into his own hands. He slept with his maidservant which resulted in the birth of Ismael. But that was not the son of promise. We know that Abraham learned his lesson because in the ultimate test of obedience, he was willing to sacrifice his son of promise, Isaac. Abraham’s faith in God was develop over time.
It is the same with every other piece of the armour of God. You do not put on the armour of God through prayer but by constant practice and usage in your daily life.
Pastors Les & Adeline Chua