Monday, July 13, 2009

Better Go and Get Your Armor.

Jordin Sparks is right. Only I would change her lyric just a little bit from the original.

Why does life always feel like a battlefield?

I never meant to start a war.

and yet, I find myself in one.

Scripture tells me that there's someone interested in stealing, killing, and destroying my life and the lives of those I love. Some folks will tell you that he is not real, but I assure you, he is. He is Satan, and if you know Jesus Christ, you are in a battle with him. He does not like you and he would like to take you out.

These are just a few of Satan's means to the end of destroying every believer:

gossip and slander
financial bondage
keeping us busy with good things so we neglect our relationship with Jesus

Sometimes, we let Satan have his way simply because we choose not to use the armor God has given us to protect ourselves.

Now, let me tell you what this armor is NOT before I remind you what it is. It is NOT shutting ourselves off from the world and hiding in our church pews like terrified fainting goats. It's not sheltering those we love from the harsh reality of life. It's not ignoring the problem and hoping it will go away or just giving up.

It's learning to fight darkness with light. After all, the Bible tells us that we don't fight the way the world fights.

The world is unprincipled. It's dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn't fight fair. But we don't live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren't for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity. 2 cor. 10:3-4 the message

It takes changing the way we think and act in order to defend ourselves against this enemy who so readily prowls on both the weak and the strong, the poor and the rich, the young and the old. He's an equal-opportunity offender. He wants you because he knows how powerful you are with the Holy Spirit inside of you, ready to make a powerful difference and potentially help snatch a few from Hell's clutches.

He is also not going to force you to dress in the armor He has given us. It's our choice to put on that armor that protects us from the lies the enemy whispers to us, the sin that so easily entangles us, and the discouraging darts that he launches to bring us down for the count. For vulnerability's sake, sometimes I get so sick and tired of fighting I just let Satan do what he wants and start believing the lies he sells me. Isn't that ridiculous?

I worship the God of the universe, and He doesn't take any crap. He REALLY doesn't take any crap when it comes to His kids.

Instead of rolling over and playing dead like I want to do occasionally, He wants us to stand up and declare that we belong to Him and that nothing we have done or left undone defines who we are. Only Jesus defines us now! That's why we have to protect ourselves.

10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full
armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12For
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. 13Therefore 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. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of
truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,
15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of
peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you
can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of
salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in
the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in
mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

This may sound dorky, but when I pray about this, I actually pretend like I am putting something on! Don't make fun. It works!

Let's talk about this armor, piece by piece.

The helmet of Salvation...
I try to remember that this piece of armor protects my thoughts and my beliefs about God, myself, and others. As Satan may try to whisper lies into my ear, I am responsible for remembering that I am a child of God and that Jesus defines me. NOTHING ELSE.

That person doesn't like you.
You are fat and ugly.
You aren't as smart as her.
You really blew it last week.
You aren't very successful.

The list of lies goes on and on. Yet, when I place on the Helmet of Salvation, I can remember that I have been saved by grace through faith and now belong in the Kingdom of God. When you place on the Helmet of Salvation, pray that God will remind you of who you are in Christ. This always helps me.

The Breastplate of Righteousness.
When I think of this piece of armor, I think of a medieval knight's armor, especially that big piece that covers his heart and protects his vital organs. When placing this on, we remember that though we are unrighteous, Jesus paid the price for our sin and we have been made righteous in God's sight through the blood of Chirst. This protects us as the Enemy reminds us of past failings and shortcomings and tries to get at our hearts. We are told in Scripture to guard the heart, because it's the wellspring of life.

The Belt of Truth
In my mind, the belt of truth is much more like a girdle than a belt. I have always loved girdles because they hold everything together and keep it from jiggling around. Much like a girdle, the belt of truth is to remind us about
who God says He is
what He says He can do
When we buckle that belt of truth (or lay on our beds to hoist that girdle up, so to speak) we are committing to remind ourselves about God's character. This means calling Scripture to mind when we are tempted to believe something untrue about God. His word holds us up and keeps us all together, helping us to know how to act and be and keeping us encouraged so we don't fall apart.

The shoes of the Gospel of Peace
I'm all about the pedicure. God is making our feet ready to share Christ and stay on the narrow path. In Colossians, we are told to let the peace of God reign in us. I always think of that verse when I put on the shoes of peace. When God doesn't want us to wander or disobey, he pulls back the reigns on us and this explains our lack of peace. He is trying to help us obey, and if we are unsettled about something, generally it's the Spirit warning us. We are also sent out to share Jesus with everyone, and the shoes of peace help to READY us to accomplish this without getting sidetracked. How beautiful are the feet of those who bring Good News!

you know the old sports saying, "Offense wins games. Defense wins championships." This is also true in the Kingdom of God.

The Sword of the Spirit.
This part of the armor represents offense. Offense wins skirmishes with Satan, and he desperately wants to get you off of your game. That's why we must not only carry the Sword of the Spirit, but memorize the Word of God and hide it in our hearts, so when we are tempted to disobey God, we will be reminded of what He has commanded us and avoid sin.

The Shield of Faith
This part of armor represents defense. We are to use the gift of faith God has given us in order to protect ourselves from the fiery darts of the Enemy sent to make us believe lies about God. That belt of truth holds us up, but it takes faith to believe those things are true and that God has more power in His pinkie finger than Satan has in all of Hell. This helps us stand against the evil one. We can use the Word of God as offensive protection and coverage, but only the Lord Himself can win the actual battle. We are not righteous or holy apart from Him, so we must have our belief in His strength defending us at all times.

I have to admit, I didn't treat this post as a seminarian. I treated it as a Woman of God who has fought many battles and only because of Jesus has a winning record.

I KNOW that this was for at least one reader today....I had a different post in mind and this is what came out.

Better go and get your armor.


kate g said...

I have to comment, because I think I needed this very much.
Jealousy and fear have been working hard on me... and reading this post, I am reminded of the Frank Peretti books- and that the demons are actually named 'Jealousy' 'Fear' 'Hate' or something similar. And I've been feeling like those two are beating the crap out of me sometimes.
And so you're right. I need the armor. I need strength and perseverance and wisdom.
So thank you for reminding me :)

Sarah Dawn said...

Spiritual warfare, the real adventure! I love learning more, but what always catches my attention ... the armor doesn't protect you from behind. It's meant to protect you as you charge and take down the gates of hell, not just run!

Blessings from Costa Rica,
Sarah Dawn

Jenn said...

What a fantastic post! I know from experience that Satan attacks us when we are at our weakest. It takes a lot to triumph during those times.

Lauren said...

AMEN!!!!!!!! Oh man YES!!! This is why I love you so much Lauren!!! I am so pumped right now! I am going to do this while I get dressed tomorrow morning ... I'm going to have my Bible open to Ephesians and read through this passage aloud as I put each article of clothing on! I am so excited to put on my armor -- I feel ready! Whew - I am super motivated right now! :D God is so awesome - and you are awesome for being receptive to the Spirit and writing what HE wants you to!!!


Chelsa said...

first of all- you always make me smile & keep me laughing!
2nd of all- the devil is so mean! he is always trying to lie to me :( ugh! it is so annoying and frustrating!!

Abbie Lynn said...

Wow - very powerful, Lauren! Thank you so much for sharing this, I loved the line about God not taking any crap:) Love it, girl, you're speaking my language:)

Christy said...


Sockrma18 said...

Wow. I did a post on this in March and at the time I was beginning a 40-day fast (my first) and could feel the war for my heart and mind. Since then I have, with a ton of regret, lessoned that armor and only put it on when I really need it. Which we all know is everyday by the way. So....your post was so timely and a great reminder to go back and read my words, seek God again with ALL my heart and get "dressed" properly every day.

I LOVE YOUR BLOG. You so totally rock. I'm just sayin'. :0)

My post on this same verse:

M J said...

Amen, Sista! Lately, I have felt like screaming, "Come on, God, gimmie a break here!" It seams like good ol' Murphy's Law is having a heyday in my household. It's good to be reminded that we are in a war, and sometimes life just isn't going to go the way I would like for it to.

Kayla said...

So I'm not going to lie, my armor is full of chinks. I'm doing my best to repair it, but I'm not as strong as I should be. I really needed to read this! Thank you.

P.S. I LOLed at "It is NOT shutting ourselves off from the world and hiding in our church pews like terrified fainting goats."

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

Great many of my feelings right now...Thanks for sharing...