Standing Firm with God’s Armor
Let us pray. Jesus, may you touch our hearts and minds as we learn from your Word this morning. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Our passage reads, “Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.”
Many people think that when they become Christians, all their troubles are over. Life is easier henceforth. If you go back to your personal history of when you became a Christian, this may have been a thought you shared. It did feel like it -the redemptive power we experienced when we accepted God’s salvation held much promise of a wonderful life ahead. “I can do anything; I am not afraid of anything; I am the happiest person ever/’ we may have declared during that joyful moment. Rightly so, because with our all-powerful, all-merciful, all-glorious God, we can claim these things! Except that an easy, wonderful life is not one that is necessarily trouble-free or problem-free. Troubles, problems, disappointments, conflicts, burdens, heartaches, grief, my dear brothers and sisters, are present and always will be, while we are IN this world. When we become Christians we are no longer OF this world, and this is where the idea of an “easy” life suddenly becomes more of a task rather than a privilege, but it is one that is worth taking -one that is worth fighting for. The Christian life is not a playground.
Instead, it is a battlefield. The Scripture that was read clearly tells us that we are all called to a greater warfare. Whether we believe it or not, we are engaged in Spiritual warfare. It is not a war against people but against the “spiritual forces of evil.” lf we are to be successful in our work for the Lord Jesus, then we must be prepared for that battle and be ready to go to war. lf we are to experience God’s “easy” life, we must fight to live despite and in spite of difficulties and tribulations. Worry not, though, for as Christians, we do not engage in war alone. Jesus Christ is our fortress.
In the passage that was read earlier, we are given insight into the battle we are engaged in and into the weapons with which we are to fight this battle. My brothers and sisters, I must emphasize that becoming a Christian is not THE goal. To enlist in the military is not what soldiers are set out to do. The goal is to emerge from battle, overcome the heat and stress undiscouraged in our faith and undeterred in our determination to live obediently to God. OVERCOME.
It is one thing to be a Christian; it is another thing to be an overcoming Christian.
So, what kind of battle are we exactly engaged in? What must be overcome? I would like to share two things briefly:
First, Overcome the world.
To overcome the world, according to a daily devotion book by Glyn Evans, is to refuse to be seduced by its popularity. Romans 12 verse 2 warns us that the world’s desire is always to squeeze us into its own mold. It tantalizes us, teases us, passionately desires to thwart our paths to living Godly in the present age. We must fight to overcome it.
To overcome the world is also to refuse to be intimidated by its threats-which is translated as the “crucifixion” we go through when we try to resist conforming to the ways of the world. You and I should realize that “pakikisama” is not only a “societal” culture; it can also be a “spiritual” culture. Do not be intimidated by the consequences of not living by the ways of the world. We must fight to overcome it.
Second, We must overcome Satan.
He is a more deadly foe than the world because the world is simply a pawn in his hand. The world’s war involves teasing so we do what we ought not. But Satan’s kind of war is that which attacks our spirit- his brand of warfare is accusation, which is what we must be prepared for. The accusations of Satan hit us in our most vulnerable spot: our sinful past. We must overcome him. Satan cannot undo our salvation, he is very aware of that. But he delights and continuously works at unsettling our minds by simply pointing to acts and facts that we are aware of -our sinful past. That does it every time, for most people. We must be wary. He will impair our ability to serve God by keeping us off balance as often as possible. We must resist him. We must fight to overcome him.
Now, how do we know if we’ve won? The goal of our battle is to stand firm for Christ. At the end of the day, the victorious Christian STANDS. Our Scripture tells us in verse 13: “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” To put on the full armor of God:
- Put on truth as a guard against deception
- Put on righteousness to guard against condemnation
- Put on zeal as a guard against complacency
- Put on faith as a guard against destructive thinking
- Put on hope as a guard against discouragement
These things I have just mentioned are our defensive weapons – designed to protect us. But an equally important part of battle is taking offense to actually defeat the enemy, and our Scripture surely won’t miss that.
We can take the battle to our enemy with:
The Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
Our sword is God’s word. When we study the Bible for its principles and truth, we can stand against Satan’s lies. When Jesus was tempted during the 40 days he spent in the wilderness before the beginning of his ministry, he answered Satan’s half-truths with Scriptures. Jesus knew the Word, he had spent hours and years learning the Word as a boy, and when temptation came, his word was sharp and ready both to defend and attack.
- God’s Word is entirely true and eternally powerful (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
- All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.
- God’s Word has the power to defeat the darkness within us (Hebrew 4:12). For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
- God’s word has the power to defeat the darkness all around us.
Also, do not discount a crucial armor for this warfare, which serves both the defensive and offensive purposes: The helmet of salvation – If Satan were to attack us through our minds, we must secure it with God’s salvation. In the battle of overcoming, Jesus and Calvary is our ultimate battle plan. If we are to overcome the world, remember, Jesus is the first Great Overcomer. In John 16: 33 he said,”In the world you have tribulation; but take courage, I have overcome the world.”
In overcoming Satan, remember Calvary, my dear brothers and sisters. Let us point to Calvary as often as Satan points to our sins. Take a STAND on God’s word about Calvary and throw Satan out of the accusing. Calvary is what makes Jesus a longstanding, timeless, transcendent fortress that we and our generations can hold onto throughout eternity. Remember, because of Calvary, Satan has long been defeated and as Christians we must resist Satan’s ploys of making us think otherwise. In James 4:7 we find that if we resist him, he will flee.
In closing encourage you to take Paul’s advice, “Pray in the Spirit at all times.” Learn how to pray. Your Spiritual health depends on it. To pray is to draw on the strength of God. Prayer brings you into the presence of God and it allows the Lord to work through you in a remarkable way.
We are weak in ourselves. But in God, these simple weapons – truth, righteousness, faith, salvation, the Word of God, and prayer – are more than we need to fend off an attack and remain standing at the end of the day.
Col. Jeff Cooper, a combat pistol instructor, developed the Cooper Color Code system, which is used by most military and police organizations to differentiate different levels of readiness for battle. In each of his stages, there is an important spiritual parallel.
- Code Red, in particular, is where the soldier is ready to fight and engage in battle. This battle seasoned Christian is effective because he know God’s Word and how to apply it to life.
Be a code red Christian soldier at all times. Get up, dress up in the armor of God and stand up.
Brothers and sisters, let us fight to win the battle. But let us cling to Him who wonderfully overcame it for our sake. We know that the Battle is the Lord’s, and He himself will fight for us.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR :
BBA Management (2002);
Ms Fontelo works at the Silliman University Medical School. She is married to Mr. Carlo Fontelo with whom she has a daughter, Karla. In her cover note attached to her contribution, a sermon she delivered at the Silliman University Church, she said: “I am truly humbled and hugely grateful for the Lord’s big gestures of love to me and my family.”