Last week we had a question and answer night in ID. One of the questions that was asked of me was who my favorite super hero was. Without hesitation I replied Iron Man.
The thing that really draws me to Iron Man isn’t necessarily his strength. Its where his strength comes from. As a person Tony Stark is a weak, flawed man. He was a drunk, a womanizer and arrogant. When he was captured the only thing that kept him alive was the magnet in his chest. But when he put on the Iron Man armor, he was still weak, his strength and protection came from the armor, which also gave him the ability to fight his battles.
Christians are not so different from Tony Stark. We all have problems and flaws in our lives. Our life comes from the Salvation that Christ has given us. And in our battles we are protected by the armor that God has given us. But like Tony Stark, that armor only protects us if we put it on.
Ephesians 6:10 – 18 reads:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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. 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. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 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.
Paul commands us to put on the full armor of God. We start with the Belt of Truth.
Putting on God’s truth, means living out His word. Being honest and sincere in our faith. It is about our Christian character and integrity. Its a lifestyle that conforms to scripture. When we put on the Belt of Truth, we allow God’s truth to mold our life and our thinking.
Paul than tells us to put on the Breastplate of Righteousness. Its purpose is to guard our heart and other vital organs. Our hearts are protected by being in right standing with God. Righteousness is the first gift of God that was given to us through the cross, where our sins are covered by the blood and God sees us as righteous. When we put on the Breastplate of Righteousness, we acknowledge our dependence on God and our need to remain free from sin.
Next we are to put on the shoes of the gospel of peace. The Gospel prepares us for all difficulties. It gives us sure footing, and allows us to march over the rough terrain of life with hope. But its not just our stance, its the readiness to share our faith with those around us. We are to be prepared to share the gospel of peace at any time. Every Christian has the responsibility to be continually prepared to share the good news of Jesus.
We are to take up the Shield of Faith. When we take our mission seriously we will come under attack. And our shield against these attacks is our faith in God, and His ability to protect us. The road of life is littered with Christian’s who have never taken up this shield. They have depended on their own moral strength, ethical wisdom, high standards and a sense of personal justice. They have walked into battle naked and unprepared. They were worn down because they did not fight with the strength that God had provided. It is Christ who stands with us and battles with us at every onslaught. We all need a shield of faith. Faith, for us, is a growing, vibrant confidence in God that will neutralize any attack from the enemy.
We put on the Helmet of Salvation. Helmets protect our head, where our thought life begins. Satan will bombard us with fear, hatred, suspicion, depression, mistrust, false doctrines, and many other mental distractions. When we take up the Helmet of Salvation it provides protection for our heart and mind. Salvation in the American church is often though of as a moment at an altar. But its more. Salvation is not only the forgiveness of past sins, but it is the strength to overcome and even conquer, present and future sins. Wearing that helmet gives us the confidence that nothing can separate us from the love of God.
But we are not isolated with just a defensive posture. We are to draw the Sword of the Spirit. Every other piece of armor Paul talks about is primarily defensive in nature. But a sword is both an offensive and defensive weapon. It can be used to attack, and it can be used to block the attack of an enemy. And our sword is the Word of God. Jesus used the Scripture as a weapon when He was tempted in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11). He used it to combat Satan’s temptations and to beat him back.
Paul mentions one last thing. Its not listed as armor but it is just as important. A soldier cannot fight a battle if they have no nourishment or refreshing. And thats where prayer comes in. In all of his writings Paul is constantly praying for the church’s he is writing to and for individuals in those churches. Prayer, along with the Word of God, is the nourishment for our walk with God. It deepens our relationship with God, brings perspective. It refreshes, provides guidance and lifts care and worry from our shoulders.
Don’t fight unprepared. God has given us all the protection and weapons we need to fight our everyday battles. Suit up.