Take off the armor…

Ephesians 6:10-13 (NIV)
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
Put on the full armor of God, so that you can
take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,
but against the rulers, against the authorities,
against the powers of this dark world and against
the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
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.
I should clarify the title…I am not really meaning we should “take off” our armor all together…the Bible does say to put on the armor of God and I would never want to contradict that. I will discuss my meaning for the title later on in the piece. But, lets first take a look at what the armor is really for vs. how a lot of Christians have been using it and lets look at another place in scripture where armor is discussed.
Put on the full armor of God

14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,
with the breastplate of righteousness in place 15 and with your
feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which
you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit,
which is the word of God. (Eh 6:14-17, NIV)

Truth, Righteousness, Peace, Faith, Salvation, Spirit.

No where in there does it say, “Load your shoulder-mounted missile launcher of Vengeance“. It doesn’t say, “Arm your tongue with Slanderous Opinions,” or, ” Un-holster your pistol of Prejudiced Thinking.” But, you know what? That’s what a lot of us do.
Verse 12 above says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” When I hear people talking about their roles as Christians and what that means to them, what I hear most is that their struggle is against flesh and blood (paraphrased from others – “the muslims who want to kill us,” “the abortion supporters who are murderers”, “the homosexuals and their choices”). That thinking is making those flesh and blood people our enemies and Scripture clearly states they are not.
But it’s hard to separate “the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms,” from the flesh and blood way we see the world. We see what we think of as evil in the faces of people and so those people become the evil upon which we unleash our warfare. When you are battling evil, you must remember that evil (our actual enemy) may manifest itself in the faces of flesh and blood people (NOT our enemy). Look upon people with whom you don’t agree with compassion and understanding instead of overwhelming prejudice. That’s the only way we are really going to be able to fight a clean, truly righteous fight.
Now, back to the title of this blog…
“38 And Saul clad David with his apparel, and he put a helmet of brass upon his head,
and he clad him with a coat of mail. 39 And David girded his sword upon his apparel,
and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these;
for I have not proved them. And David put them off him.” (1 Sam 17:38-39, ASV)

In other versions, David says he hasn’t tested the armor and that he’s not used to it. In the version above, he says he hasn’t proven it. He hasn’t been able to make sure that he can function in battle in it. Saul’s armor didn’t fit David. It wasn’t made for him. So, David took it off and used the armor he was used to, what he had tested, the armor he had already proven his proficiency in…his sling.

Have you made armor and weaponry that doesn’t work in Spiritual warfare but is of this earth instead? If so, perhaps you should rethink your whole strategy. You may be fighting against flesh and blood instead of against who God says is the true enemy.

If you are truly struggling with the right enemy, what pieces of armor have you been using that weren’t made for you? What pieces should you wait to use until you’ve proven them?

These are all questions we should ask ourselves as we grow in our faith. None of us reach the completion of our growth until after we are gone. So be willing to learn…even if that means submitting to the fact that you don’t know everything…or anything at all.

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