Why Do We Put Our Armor On Every Day?
“Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. (Ephesians 6:11)
There is a Japanese saying that I wrote down about two decades ago to remember: “Ubau no wa hon no isshun. Demo, mamoru no wa zutto da.” (It takes only a moment to steal something, but forever to protect it.) When the weather is beautiful, the surroundings are peaceful, the pain is relatively gone, there’s a lull in the battle sounds, and the enemy does not appear to be on my doorstep, it is all too easy to forget that we are still at war! The following verse in Ephesians 6 reminds us:
“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.”(Eph 6:12)
Our arch-enemy is at work in the world, moving pawns into place to subject the human race into slavery and into being at enmity against God and His people. Meanwhile, too many of us are side-tracked with silly issues that have no positive bearing on the outcome of the war itself. In times that appear to be relatively peaceful, we let down our guard, and give up territory to the encroaching armies. From a human perspective, who’s to say that the one person I should have reached out to could have made the difference between a future skirmish being won or lost? What if I have encouraged someone who would have otherwise succumbed to the forces of darkness? What if your love toward the “least of these” (Matthew 25:40) led to the saving of many lives, and turned a potential mass shooter?
One of my early mentors in the ministry put it this way, “People on the front lines don’t complain much because they are too busy fighting the enemy. Little things didn’t matter; they are delighted to be alive. A few miles behind the front lines the attitudes are different. Back there, griping and complaining is a way of life. Something is wrong with everyone and everything. If we are involved in front-line ministries, we will be involved in people’s lives; we will be dealing with them over issues such as salvation, repentance, and spiritual growth. As we share our lives, we will become involved in their vocations and families, and they in ours. A church involved in ministry to hurting people does not have time for people problems. They are too busy fulfilling the Great Commission.”- Pastor Dan Munson
How I regard the spiritual war around me impacts the prepatory procedures I take against the enemy. Do I, as Ephesians 6 commands, prepare myself with the armor that God has provided, so that I can be useful to Him in His army? Do I use the weapon that God has given me for the battle, “the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God”? (Ephesians 6:17) Jesus spoke about the offensive force the Church would become, stating, “…on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Believers of God’s Word have a distinct advantage over the enemy: We know that our Commander has already declared the victory, AND our very souls are perfectly safe in His Hands! We can push forward, giving less thought to ourselves and more thought to His Kingdom, because while the full rewards are yet to be seen, the outcome has already been decided!
The question, then, comes down to how I will participate in the battle. Will I be a tragic casualty in the war, because by my faithlessness I have shown myself as not belonging to Him? (1 John 2:19) Or do I show, by my active regard of the truth, that I am a child and warrior for God? (1 John 2:20)
I write this on Halloween Day, known also as “All Saints Day”. That day was formerly set apart to recognize the witness of Polycarp, a disciple of John the Apostle. The story of Polycarp’s mighty witness goes as follows: “When soldiers of Marcus Aurelius Verus came to arrest Polycarp, a beloved church leader, Polycarp greeted them kindly. According to the third-century historian Eusebius, Polycarp “ordered a table to be laid for them immediately, invited them to eat as much as they liked, asking in return a single hour in which he could pray.” When Polycarp later stood in the coliseum, accused and surrounded by the jeering crowds, the governor pressed him to recant his faith. Instead, this man, who himself had been discipled by the Apostle John, said this: “For 86 years, I have been [Christ’s] servant, and He has never done me wrong: How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?” As they were preparing to burn him alive, Polycarp offered up prayers of faith and praise.”
In the years following Polycarp’s death, Christians would gather annually to take communion beside his grave. There they would remember his brave witness and take courage from his example. As the years passed, the day shifted in focusing from remembering Polycarp to honoring all martyrs, or “All Saints”. What we must not fail to recognize, is that our method and mode of doing Christian battle has not changed in nearly 2000 years. We are called to maintain our faith and witness “as you hold out the word of life— in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I(we) did not run or labor for nothing.” (Philippians 2:16)
So why do we put on our armor every day? Because, as the famous hymn goes: "This is my Father’s world. Oh, let me ne’er forget, that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet. This is my Father’s world, The battle is not done: Jesus who died shall be satisfied, And earth and Heav’n be one." “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.” (Ephesians 6:13)