Walking in the Light and Fighting the Darkness

  A story of the armor of God

We, as Christians, all want to walk in the light of the Lord and be able withstand all that comes to us from the darkness of the enemy.

We are all called, as Christians, to stand and fight against the darkness.  We are called to stand against the devil and the schemes of the devil and we are to do it…not by flesh and blood, but it is a spiritual fight.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.    

We can’t and should not try to fight in our power and might.  It is His strength that carries us through whatever comes our way. 

Finally: In light of all that God has done for you.

 In light of the magnificent standing you have as a child of God. Think about that…we truly, as children of God, have a magnificent standing in God.

We are part of His plan in whatever age we are born into to fulfill His plan for our life.

When we are His children we should be growing and in that growing in Him…we are part of the light that shines and goes and does whatever He gives us to do, to anyplace He tells us to go.

 In light of the plan for Christian maturity and growth He gives to you.

We are in the light when we act like He calls us, as believers, to live.

Each of His children are given the Holy Spirit so that we can walk in the fulfillment of our own call, and each of us has a different call.

There is a call to stand and fight in the spiritual realm.  It is not flesh and blood we must fight against, but the battle is in the spiritual realm…which is way more real and lasting than the physical realm we now live in.

Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might:

So how do we do that?  We must consider the cost and when we do we will know that without God we will fail miserably.  We must strengthen our self in Him…not try to do things in our own strength or might.  We, daily, need to strengthen our self in the Lord with His might, and His power to carry us through. First, you must be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Then, you must put on the whole armor of God.

Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might

 The two are crucial to how you deal with the light and conquer the darkness in your life.  If you take a weak man who can barely stand, and put the best armor on him he will still be an ineffective soldier. Oh, you can train him and even spend great costs teaching him how to protect himself and others, but until he is strong and knows what he is doing….he won’t be strong enough or able enough to do his job correctly. Each of us, just like someone who joins the military goes through training…we must also go through training in God’s army. If we only occasionally workout we won’t be physically able to withstand the enemy attacks.  We need to get proficient in our training so no matter what happens we can stand firm on what God trains us for.

One purpose for basic training (to someone in the military or a Christian in God’s army) is to build up physical, mental, and emotional strength. Why?  Because although we know what the weapons do, until we are truly trained on them we only have head knowledge and not really know how to use each of the weapons we are entrusted with. Just going about saying we know how and what the weapons are…they do us no good until we can use them to fight the enemy. No matter how big and strong you think you are on your own…it is God’s eyes that matter and it is in His strength and power that we can accomplish what He wants us to accomplish.

As humans we can have a lot of power or strength (at least in our own view), but we can’t even being to compete with what God wants us to have in and through Him. He has reservoirs of might, reservoirs of power, and reservoirs of strength.  Wouldn’t you rather use His to fight the enemy than try to accomplish a battle strategy in your own might, power, and strength?  I sure would. We can’t accomplish His desires for our life and plan if we just sit there and don’t listen to Him. We need to daily talk to God, listen to Him, and do His will in our life.

The key

The key is for all of us is to, by faith, always rely on His might, his strength, and His power…then do what He says to do even if we don’t fully understand it. Don’t let the strength God wants you to have drift away and not use it.  You must use what God gives you so you can be effective.

Some, not all, ways in which we fall short in our own strength

We try to do way to many things.  We just keep piling things on our plate and have no time for anything

We try to do things in our own strength instead of relying of God to help us

 We argue, complain, whine, and just go on and on when we should, in fact…just go to God in prayer instead of causing divisions in our life. Does all your worry and complaining truly cause good in your life? Of course not.

We need to stop being lazy.  I don’t mean don’t rest etc, but stay focused on God and sometimes even when we are tired God wants to use us.  When He does…He will give us the strength and tools to do the job He calls us to do.

Stop hanging out with wrong, people, doing things you know God would not approve of. Some people out there just are not good for us, as Christians, to hang out with.

Be careful what you hear, do, and see in your life.  You know in your heart what God says is right.  You also know what God says is wrong.  You are responsible to make the right choices.  If you do make a wrong decision don’t just sit there…run to God and repent.

Don’t let the love of the world entice you to do wrong.  The devil is out to get you to make wrong decisions.  Before making any decision…talk to God, go to His word, and then listen to the truth. If what you want to do does not line up with what God says…don’t do it.

Don’t be greedy and love the things of this world.  Having nice things doesn’t mean you love the things of this world.  Thinking you can’t live without them does. When something is more important to you than God then it becomes the wrong thing in your life.

Do what is moral, not in mans eyes, but in God’s eyes.

Wait on God to bring about the person He wants to bless you with.  He will never yoke you unequally. When we wait on Him we find a good thing for our life.

Pay attention to God and what He has in His word for you.  God never leads you wrong.

Be careful.  Be watchful…and listen to God!

What about the Armor of God that God tells us to put on? 

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles (schemes) of the devil.

God gives the believer a full set of equipment, and He sends us out into battle with everything we need at our disposal. God says put on the whole armor…not just a piece or two…but all of it.

God doesn’t tell us to put on “our” armor…but to put on His armor.  This armor is of God both is the sense that it is from Him, and in the sense that it is His actual armor.

Withstand the wiles/schemes of the devil

That you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil: (Wiles are schemes) We express the strength we have in God by standing against the wiles of the devil. Satan’s schemes against us come to nothing when we stand against them in the power of God. The devil has limits set on him as to what he can do.  Might not sound or feel like it when things are going bad, however, there are limits and a Christian cannot be taken over by the devil, but………………………a Christian can make the wrong choice and give the devil a place in his life.  The devil uses rotten tactics, and intimidation, thoughts that allow one to be tempted and fall for the devils lies, and the devil is a liar, a cheat, a murderer, and wants to destroy your walk with God, with your children, and he wants to ruin marriages. The devil will attempt to destroy everyone and everything you love.  The devil is very clever so all of us need to learn all we can about our armor in God so that we can withstand all the crud the devil tosses our way.

There is a war going on for your soul

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

The fact is that we are in a spiritual war.  Doesn’t matter if you don’t want to be in it…you are in it!  The thing is that we need to learn how to fight as God wants us to. Mankind is not what keeps us out of heaven, and it is not who we need to fight against. (That is not saying people don’t go to war while upon this earth because we know we do). Paul announced the believer to enter into spiritual warfare. That spiritual warfare is against principalities, against powers. (devil and his co-horts) They are the ones that want to destroy you and keep you from God and from going to heaven. If you are ignorant or ignore that fact, you probably aren’t winning the battle.

2 Corinthians 10:3-4: For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.

Principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age (devil and his co-horts), against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.  We should regard them as being on many different levels and of many different ranks, yet they all have one goal: to do all they can to destroy the Christian from their place of standing with God. At the close of the day it is entirely irrelevant if the particular adversary we face is a principality, a power, or a ruler of the darkness of this age, for they are all members of spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. They are all part of a spiritual army that is organized and established into ranks and is under the direction of Satan who comes against us.

Romans 8:38-39: For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Therefore, there is a limit to their power.

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

That you may be able: Without the strength of God and the protection of spiritual armor, it is impossible to stand against the attacks of spiritual enemies. The purpose for the strength of God and the armor of God…our part is what we are to use them for.

We, who are Christians, are called to fill our mission for God.  Satan will do his best to stop us every chance he gets. When he attacks and intimidates, we are to stand. We do the Lord’s work and stand against every hint of spiritual opposition. On our own we will fail miserably, but in God’s strength and power we can and will be victorious.

What is our standing in God?

  1. We should stand perfect and complete in the will of God (Colossians 4:12).
  2. We stand in faith (2 Corinthians 1:24).
  3. We stand in Christian unity (Philippians 1:27).
  4. We stand in the Lord (Philippians 4:1).
  5. We stand in Christian liberty (Galatians 5:1).
  6. We stand in grace (Romans 5:2).
  7. We stand in the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1).
  8. We stand in courage and strength (1 Corinthians 16:13).
  9. And so much more!!!

Stand….we need to stand no matter what is coming against us.

The armor to “have”   (3 are to have)

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; The thing is when do we stand?  We can only stand when we are equipped with the armor God has given us in Jesus Christ. Our armor (God’s armor we use) is what equips us to fight the enemy in the spiritual realm.  The spiritual realm is way more real and eternal more than what we see while upon this earth.

God is the one who equips the believer.

 The order in which the pieces of armor are described is the order in which the soldier would normally put them on (the Roman soldier especially and since Paul was in a Roman prison…this is what he understood for his description).

Having girded your waist with truth:

Truth is figuratively symbolized as a belt which both protects ones abdomen yet would gather up ones garments so that one can fight effectively. Roman soldiers wore long clothing so if they would have left their clothing in that manner hanging down it would not have been easy to fight in a battle. The belt really is not a part of the armor, yet before the armor could be put on, the garments underneath must be gathered together to keep ones undergarments in place and not restrict them in battle.  This was the first part of getting ready for battle. The belt  was no adornment of the soldier, but an essential part of his equipment. The belt was the basis for keeping and securing ones clothes so that the soldier had freedom of movement.

You might “have” your belt but one did not wear it every moment.  For instance, when a man/soldier sat down and relaxed, he most likely took off his belt. He would take it off to change clothes, to shower, to go to bed etc. 

So what about for the Christian?  The belt of truth puts on the Biblical beliefs of the Christians as a whole, what other passages call the faith. This part of the armor is something we must “have”.  It is the foundation we live upon…the truth of God’s word. We do what we do in faith and truth.  It is our basic doctrine.  Maybe you can explain this part better…in fact I am sure many people can.  We must always have a basic understanding of God’s word and live our life in faith.

Having put on the breastplate of righteousness

Righteousness is represented as a breastplate which covers our vital organs and protects them.  We would not go into battle without protection for if we did we would not be able to withstand the death blows of the enemy. But one must understand it is not righteousness that we somehow earned.  We received this righteousness by our faith in our Lord Jesus.  He gives us His righteousness to fight the enemy.  He gives us His strength to fight the enemy, and He is the one who gives us power to do so. When we hold onto our faith in Him, we can stand and do the job for which He has called us to do. Not by our own power and strength but in His.

Don’t take credit for what Jesus did and does

One thing that (some) people do is try to take credit for what God did and does in their life.  They think they did it “their” way…but it is God who gives you the means to do anything.   Don’t ever be tempted to say “Look at all I’ve done for the Lord.”  When we are Christians we do things to further the kingdom.  We pray for the lost, we give, we love, and we do things for the church, but it is God who gives us the ability.  We are the tools to take the message out into the world…our world…so that we take the message to the lost and possibly they will ask Jesus into their life just like we had the opportunity to do so. Our hearts should always be for the lost in this world.  So many won’t accept Jesus and be lost for all eternity…but maybe what we say, maybe how we act, maybe how we live…someone will see Jesus in us and want what we have…a relationship with the Lord.  Shouldn’t we try?  Yes, of course we should.  The breastplate of righteousness is you greatest protection against spiritual depression and misery even that comes against us. The breastplate of righteousness is something we “have” if we want to be successful in going into battle.

Having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace:

Shod…having put on your shoes/boots etc.  The preparation of the gospel is characterized as the protective foot cover (boots/sandals).  A Roman soldiers would never go into battle without good foot covering. No one today would want to go into battle either without foot cover to protect your feet.  You can’t fight effectively without this equipment. A soldier back then as well as today would get prepared to go into battle.  You would not want to climb a mountain, go over rocks etc., without putting on this part of your armor.  You would get prepared down to your foot covering.  You would not wear flip flops to fight in a war zone…!!!!! You want your feet healthy, cover them by preparing them for battle.  Well, the gospel provides our footing for all we do.  Think about this…if you go into battle and your feet are injured it is possible to lose your battle! We all must, as Christians prepare our foundation.  We must have it and we must put it on.  It is not words to say, but an action to do. The Roman soldier’s shoes were even embedded with sharp nails not only to stand on rough ground by gripping the ground, but also they were able to fight with their feet. It is when we are “ready” for battle that we are fully prepared to go into that battle. We must be ready for all that comes our way.

The spiritual armor we are to take into battle

The things above were things we ourselves are to “have”.  The next things are things we “take” into battle. 

Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;

Let’s break it down here:  Above all sounds pretty important here doesn’t it?  It is something more than the things we were to have above.  It would be things in addition to the things we were to have.  It is added to them.  It is not that these next things are more important, but they are important and we need them. You will not want to go into battle and leave your shield of faith at home.  Some of the armor we must wear all the time and have as our true foundation. Therefore having comes first. We must be rooted in the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, and the “combat boots” of the gospel. But now we are told the others things we need to be able to not only go into battle, but to withstand that battle and come out victorious.

What to take into battle

Why the shield of faith?  What does it do?  We take the shield of faith with so that we can quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.  Oh, the devil, doesn’t want us to win the fight…so we need our armor and we need to know just how to use it.  Faith here is represented as a shield The shield protects us from the fiery darts of the wicked one.  If you are truly a Christian then the devil doesn’t want you to have the means to fight him.  He wants you to live in fear and unbelief, and he surely wants your life weak and not strong in the Lord. He lies, steals your joy, robs you of family and friends, destroys marriages by causing divisions in it.  The devil is not your friend and he is a bully and very manipulative.  You need your armor and you need to learn to use it.

The shield wasn’t this little thing to be carried.  It was big and it was heavy and you needed to learn not only how to carry it but have the strength to carry it. This shield God gives us is big enough to cover and protect our body from the darts of the enemy…even when they come on strong and fiery. The devil doesn’t come to take you down with little measly arrows like a dart game…but with full blown arrows.  He attacks to go through your armor and cause the most pain he can. But……………we have God almighty and His strength, His power, and His might are on our side and He gives us this armor of His so we can fight and win our battles. Don’t let the devil rob you of your armor and your joy in the Lord. Don’t put your shield down at any time for the devil goes across this earth to see who is weak and who he can reach.  We don’t want to be one of his statistics. The devil knows how to fight…but as many darts as he tosses out at us, the devil is no match for the Lord.  It is the Lord who will help us fight our battles…but you have to be and stay on His team.

And take the helmet of salvation

Another thing we must take is the helmet of salvation.  What do you think of when you think of a helmet?  Maybe a helmet one wears on a motorcycle or on a bike.   Yet this helmet is way more than that.  You can have the finest helmet made in the world and be vulnerable to injury and death if you don’t use it as intended.

Today we can pay a lot of money for a great helmet, but in the ancient world their helmet usually was a leather cap studded with metal for extra strength. What if today we wore our helmets with studded metal for strength?  However, the helmet God gives His kids is pictured as this kind of helmet, protecting an essential part of the body…our brain. A soldier would be foolish to go into battle without his helmet. We need God’s protection in and on our mind.  The devil attacks our minds every day with the garbage of this world.  Where the devil attacks our minds with his garbage…the helmet of salvation protects us against discouragement, against the desire to give up, giving us hope not only in knowing that we are saved, but that we will be saved. It is the assurance that God will triumph. The devil wants us worried, depressed, lonely, angry, sad and so much more, but God wants us to have victory and trust in Him for all things. When we are correctly equipped with the helmet of salvation, it’s hard to stay discouraged. When we are trusting in Jesus it is hard for the enemy to stop the flow of God’s power, strength, and might in our life.

The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God

The Holy Spirit provides a sword for you, and that sword is the word of God. We need to learn the truth of God’s word and we need to know how to use it.  The devil is no match for the truth of God’s word. You need to learn the word of truth which God calls the Bible.  The devil knows the word and knows how to manipulate it so it sounds right but is wrong.  If you don’t know the truth how will you withstand what he tells you?  You must believe the Bible as the truth and you must learn to use it to fight the battle with. The sword is the word of God.  We have in our possession a mighty sword. Use it to be effective. It is the Holy Spirit who will equip us with the truth…but surrender to Him so that it is available to you.

If you have seen the movie the Gladiator.  They fight to the death.  If you don’t fight you die.  Well, our life is like that as well.  If we don’t fight our spiritual enemy we will die…die to heaven and end up in hell. God equips us so learn your weapons wisely and if and when the time comes you will know what to do with your armor. We will never be able to use the push in the fight if we have not first practiced first with our weapons of armor. Therefore, effectively using the sword takes practice. The great example of this was Jesus combating the temptation of Satan in the wilderness. He used God’s word to fight and defeat the enemy satan.

How to use spiritual strength and the armor of God

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints; and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Praying always with all prayer: We should use every kind of prayer we can think of. Group prayer, individual prayer, silent prayer, shouting prayer, walking prayer, kneeling prayer, eloquent prayer, groaning prayer, constant prayer, fervent prayer – just pray. We need to diligently pray for and about everything and everyone in our life and then pray some more.  When you don’t think you can pray………………………PRAY MORE! We pray and we take those prayers into battle.  We fight through prayer, we love through prayer, and we stand through prayer. Don’t go to war without prayer!

Never think your ability will get you through life.  No matter who you are, no matter how much education you might have, no matter how rich or famous you might be…you need God’s abilities, and you need to do things His way.  Neglecting to pray is a huge mistake and one we need in our daily life. Don’t ever feel overconfident in your own abilities…but daily rely on all God offers you to get you through this life and into the glorious heaven He is offering you.

For all the saints: of which those of us who love the Lord are

God has given His children the ability to stand in the gap for others as well.  We are in the army of God and therefore we should always be concerned for our brothers and sisters in the Lord.  We should always be sharing the love of God with others who are not yet saved.  What we share with them just might get them to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior…or we plant a seed and the next person comes along and waters the seed.  We don’t save anyone…God does.  We are His workers to go into the world in whatever way God calls us to go. We should always be concerned with the lost souls of this world. 

And for me, that utterance may be given to me

After bringing up the idea that spiritual warfare can be waged on behalf of others, Paul asks his readers to pray for him. Paul wanted to be able to do this for others as well, and he wanted this for himself as well. Lord, I pray that utterance may be given to me as well…and to whoever reads this as well and shares it with someone else.  We should never think we can horde God and not share.  There is always and forever enough of God to go around to everyone and God is not a respecter of persons.

Boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel

Paul could have asked prayer for many things, but he wanted his readers to pray for this. Paul knew that soon enough he was going to come before Caesar to give a defense.  Possibly he wanted to have the right words for his defense. Do you ever consider the prisons in Rome…the dungeons?  They sure are not like the prisons of today in our part of the world.  He was old and had physical needs like all of us do, yet he was not asking for comfort and an easy life here.  He was asking for utterance for when the time came he could still be a great ambassador for the kingdom of God. He wanted the right words to say when the time came. Know this that the idea behind utterance is to be able to clearly speak. Added to boldly, Paul asked also for prayer the ability that he might proclaim the gospel both plainly and with a courageous authority. He needed God’s word behind what he was going to say. 

I am an ambassador in chains

The word chains here in ancient Greek times was a prisoner’s shackles. It might have had other meanings but Paul was in prison, and Paul used a Roman soldiers armor, so the chains Paul talked about were the physical chains he was in in prison. Although most of us would not think or our chains like Paul did.  Paul considered his prisoner’s chains to be also the fact that he was in chains as an ambassador of Jesus Christ. Do you ever wonder if you were placed in a position like Paul was in if you would cry out for your safety or if you would make a stand for the kingdom of God and present the gospel even if what you were going to say could cost you your life?

Pauls message regarding the armor of God should give us some peace and encouragement.  Paul was a great ambassador for the kingdom of God and has throughout all the words God gave him to tell us…that we to can stand and be encouraged daily by his words (which are God’s words ultimately).  Paul, no matter what and when he faced adversity he still remained faithful to God and sharing the word of God to the lost and dying world of his time……………….and for our time as well. The Bible doesn’t get old or outdated.  Paul’s message to us still applies to us and always will. Let not your heart be troubled but in all things praise the Lord and stay right in with Him.  God will help each of us cross that finish line at our last breath upon this earth if we stay close to Him, trust Him, and do as He says.  He has given us “HIS” armor, His strength, His wisdom, and His power enough to make it across that finish line.  Trust Him.  He is your only hope in getting into heaven.  Do you love Him?  Will you share Him and never deny Him not matter what it cost?  Let each of us put daily on our armor and go out into this world in whatever way God is leading us (and our walks and ways are different).  Don’t compare your walk or who you are to reach with anyone else.  God uses us differently.  Some might reach one or a few, while others are called to reach many or millions.  We are not in a competition.  We need to put ourselves in life saving mode and just do whatever God calls on us to do. 

Now………look at your armor…do whatever it takes to put it on daily.

Now…….go out into the world as God calls you to do…and be the warrior on Team Jesus.  God has the greatest army in the universe. 

Go Team Jesus………………………….go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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