At January’s family service we looked at the topic of divine clothes, but God not only provides clothes for us to wear, He gives us armour to put on and weapons to use.
Ephesians 6:10-20 reminds us that we are involved in a spiritual battle. This battle is not ours, but the Lord’s (see 1 Sam 17:47), but we have a real enemy: “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.” (Eph 6:13) It is easy to either become fearful when we read these verses or to think that this is all over-the-top mumbo-jumbo. We have to be clear, though, that our enemy (who can roar as a lion or masquerade as an angel of light) is defeated and God does not want us to be unaware of his schemes (see 2 Cor 2:11).
It’s easy to fix our eyes on the visible and to find fault with people, but the enemy is not other people. This is a spiritual battle and we need spiritual weapons if we are to demolish “arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God” (2 Cor 10:5)
So often we try, like Saul with David, to fight the battle in our own armour and with our own weapons (see 1 Sam 17). David won the battle against Goliath by focussing on God. He was filled with a holy confidence in God: “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.” (1 Sam 17:45) The key to David’s success – and to ours – is to realise that the battle is the Lord’s: “All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” (1 Sam 17:47) As Zechariah reminded God’s people later on, it’s “‘not by might nor by power but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” (Zech 4:6)
The armour that God provides – which has divine power to defeat spiritual strongholds – is listed as:
1. The belt of truth buckled round our waists
2. The breastplate of righteousness in place
3. Feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace
4. The shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
5. The helmet of salvation
6. The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
If we obey God’s command to put on this armour, then we shall be able to stand, even when the day of evil comes. As we seek to see God’s Kingdom come in Goldthorpe, we would be unwise – foolish, even – to attempt to do battle without this armour. We don’t want to be like the men of Ephraim, who, “though armed with bows, turned back on the day of battle.” (Ps 78:9) Instead, clothed in God’s armour and equipped with His weapons, secure in the knowledge that the battle is His and no weapon forged against us will prevail (Is 54:17), we can go forth knowing that He is the victor and that He who is in us is greater than the one who is in the world (1 John 4:4).