10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 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.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. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist…
The Apostle Paul talks about the weapons we have access to in order to defend ourselves from the enemy of our soul. The armor of God provides everything we need to be victorious over the arrows the enemy shoots at us. He will never stop tempting us because he knows his time is short and he is a sore loser. Each piece of this armor is vital in exposing and preparing us for the daily battle in the heavenly realms. Each piece is unique and helps us to tearing down every stronghold, reclaim lost territory, and it rushes us to the promises God has given us through His Word.
Having the armor and knowing how to use them are two different things. Paul instructs us to “put on” the whole armor of God daily to prevail against the enemy. For the next several weeks we will look at each piece of the armor and learn how to use it to the glory of God.
The first thing that Paul establishes is that our battle is not against flesh and blood. How many times this week have you blamed your mood or your circumstance on “flesh and blood.” This battle is on a much larger scale. To even blame things on the “flesh and blood” draws us to a defeated stance from the very beginning. This armor has both defensive gear and offensive weaponry. To effectively move through this battle, we need to know how to use what we have. The goal is not to escape or not be in the battle, the goal is to be victorious because as long as we are on this earth then there is going to be a battle.
The first piece of this armor is the Belt of Truth. This is the least noticeable, yet it is crucial in that it holds the entire armor together. The standard dress in the ancient world was a robe. I know that we don’t wear a robe all day long but they did. It wasn’t their bath robe either. Imagine trying to move quickly with your legs getting caught in your robe. When it was time for battle, the soldiers pulled their robes above their knees and gathered it around their waste with a heavy belt. Paul is saying that the first thing you are to do to prepare for the battle is put on the belt of truth.
Some scholars say that this belt of truth is the truth of theology or a true understanding of the things of God in the gospel that gives us the ability to move quickly when satan is throwing his darts. Others say it could be living out the truth by having personal integrity. Being in spiritual warfare and being weighed down in sin is like running with your robe on. You will not be at your best and the robe will inhibit you from running to your full potential. I think it is all of the above. Spiritual truth and the truth of personal character is all fitting. These are developed as we seek the truth in God’s word and ask the Holy Spirit to live those out daily in your life. When your character line up with the truth from God’s word, all deceit and falsehood have no impact on you. Without the truth, everything falls apart.
Getting the word of God in your soul is vital in living a victorious life. Commit to forming a daily habit of reading God’s word, putting it to memory, and letting it be your guide in all things. My prayer is that you will not feel complete until you go to God and his word each and every morning. When you do, the freedom of Jesus will keep the physical “flesh and blood” things from slowing you down.
Today is Ash Wednesday. We will be opening up the Worship Center for prayer at 6:00pm tonight before Boost. Come and pray with us as we are right in the middle of fasting for spiritual breakthrough. May God continue to reveal himself to you as you seek him with all your heart.
This Sunday we will begin a new series from the book of John called “Faith.” I look forward to diving in the Gospel of John with you as we lead up to Easter.
Joy in Jesus!
Rev. Mike McClurg
Senior Pastor, Findlay First Church of the Nazarene