Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Armor of God

This post will be a discussion of one of my favorite passages from the New Testament. It comes from the Book of Ephesians, chapter 6, in which apostle Paul uses the metaphor of putting on God’s armor to encourage the Ephesians. The title of the passage is appropriately named “Armor of God” (in the TNIV version):

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, 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.

18 And 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 Lord’s people.

The passage is incredibly powerful for the justification it brings to live a righteous life, one in which we do not succumb to evil but always trusts in the Lord. As Christians, it explicitly states that we are to “be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power”; this is the same power that created our universe and raised Jesus Christ from death. Paul points out that our struggles are ultimately not struggles against the world but, instead, against something more sinister: evil. The poetic language used to develop how we are to “be strong” further serves to uplift the reader.

I particularly like the detailed narrative of how we are equipped as soldiers of God fighting “against the spiritual forces of evil”. Accurately describing the warriors of the ancient world, the passage begins with one putting on each piece of armor – first the undergarment, then the belt, followed by the breastplate, the leg guards, and finally taking up the shield, helmet, and sword—while offering reasons for these equipment pieces. The call to “stand firm” is important as a reminder for the significance of how we serve as soldiers – to be steadfast servants in God’s kingdom. Our faith is compared to a shield that blocks out all the enemy’s arrows; the sword with which we fight back with is the Gospel (or “word of God”).

Although I am not much of a poet, I really appreciate the poetic language used in this passage in order to encourage all those who strive to live a righteous life. I often turn to it in moments of prayer –especially for other individuals so they will put on this “armor of God”.

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