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Armour Up! Part 1

Earlier this month, I had an opportunity to meet with Pastor’s wives and women in ministry from Alberta at our annual CNBC Alberta Oasis. While nestled quietly in the snow-covered Rocky Mountains, away from the hustle and bustle of our normal ministry responsibilities, we - as a family of church leaders - retreated, rested and heard from God. 

While the weekend was certainly an Oasis for many, there was no naivety from anyone present that real life still waged on. Ministry disappointments, family issues, demanding schedules and even death couldn’t seem to wait for our return home. We retreated; and still, real life reminded us we were at war with an enemy.  

At the end of the book of Ephesians, the Apostle Paul acknowledges the war we, as Christ-followers, fight. And, he gives us some helpful insights for battle. It’s not lost on me that this was the very passage we were studying in the women’s breakout time at the mentioned Oasis. 

Take a minute and read what Paul says in Ephesians 6:10-18. 

Right off the bat, Paul makes a few things clear. First, to live the life we have been called to, we need the Lord and his vast strength. Second, opposition is guaranteed. And, third, the enemy is certain, too.  

I love how Paul takes the time to lay out exactly who it is we are fighting against. Paul reminds us that we are not up against flesh and blood, “but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens” (Eph. 6:12). Other parts of scripture tell us this enemy is the “father of lies” (John 8:44), that he has come to “steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:10), and that he disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). 

Have you ever pondered how you personally define the enemy? If I am honest, in my sinful heart, I can quickly make other people “the enemy” for fairly minor offenses. Keeping a clear picture of who it is I am up against, helps remind me who it is I am NOT up against. It frees me to love others well despite differences of opinion, personal offenses, or even (I'm embarrassed to admit) small annoyances.  

But, Paul doesn't leave us there. Once the real enemy is identified, he makes sure we are suited up for the task and urges us to put on the full armour of God. 

Pause for a minute… Did you catch that? The full armour of God. Many commentators believe that Paul is calling to mind Old Testament scripture for his listeners, specifically Isaiah 59: 15-17. Read it and see for yourself. 

The armour of God! Let that sink in. This armour Paul is encouraging us to “put on,” is an incredible gift! It is an immediate reminder that we are not alone in this fight! God has given us his armour! He always has been, is continuing to, and always will be fighting for his people! 

If you’re in Christ, you know that not only does God give us his armour…  But he gives us his very life through the life, death and resurrection of His son, Jesus. Jesus is alive! And, He’s resurrected with victory in His hand!  

You and I are invited to take on this victory in every situation life brings when we put on God’s armour! It’s this armour that allows us to overcome the enemy: 

  • The belt of truth 

  • The breastplate of righteousness 

  • Sandals of the gospel of peace 

  • The shield of faith, that is able to extinguish all flaming arrows of the evil one 

  • The helmet of salvation 

  • The sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word 

Friends, we have a real enemy… There's no doubt about that. You know as well as I do; he is wreaking havoc on the world around us. But take heart, when we are suited up in the armour of God… the enemy does not get the victory!

Paul finishes his charge with a call to pray. He knows that being a soldier not only requires the right equipment, but it also requires us to be in direct communication with our commanding officer. It’s prayer that makes us alert to the lurking enemy, and it’s prayer that activates every other part of the armour we’ve been given. 

Today, I encourage you to take comfort in the fact that the battle is not yours! Victory has been secured because of Jesus’s work on the cross. Put on the armour of God, and you too, can stand against the enemy! 

In part 2, we will outline practical tips for “suiting up!” Until then, I am praying that you will be “strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength” (Eph 6:10) 

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