"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.If you're like me and have spent a lot of time either growing up in a Christian home or hearing a lot of Christian teaching, you've probably heard this passage a dozen times and maybe even memorized it. It wasn't until recently that I actually stopped and thought about each of those pieces of armor.
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 Belt of Truth. Around your waist, holding everything together. Listed first is the Truth.
The Breastplate of Righteousness. The breastplate is a shield meant to cover your chest, and heart. How can our hearts be most protected from temptations? Righteousness.
The Shoes of the Gospel of Peace. Because the gospel is meant to GO.
The Shield of Faith. Faith reminds us that those darts the devil shoots at us are nothing compared to the power and sovereignty of God.
The Helmet of Salvation. We can't go into battle without it. But as Micah pointed out, we too often try heading off into battle with only it.
The Sword of the Spirit. The only offensive piece described in this passage is the Spirit. It's not from us. We have no power but through God alone. He is sharper than a double-edged sword.
As Micah talked about our spiritual armor, he talked about this spiritual battle that we often forget because of our physical bodies. He showed an image of Gollum from the Lord of the Rings, pointing out that many of our spiritual bodies look like that because we are far more concerned with the physical one we have. We spend hours in front of mirrors, at gyms, etc. making sure our physical body is the best it can be. Can we say we put out more, if not simply an equal amount of effort toward our spiritual one?
I got to thinking about why that really is, and the answer is obvious. We instinctively care more about our physical body because other people can see it. But somehow reminding ourselves that "Oh, I need to spend more time working on my spiritual body" doesn't usually seem to be an effective guilt trip. But what if we used the same tactic on our spiritual body that so obviously works on our physical efforts? Be seen.
Maybe if we start making more of an effort to be seen spiritually more, we'd realize just how much attention our spiritual bodies need. What if we started sharing our faith more, decided to encourage friends through scripture more, organized prayer meetings more, had Bible studies more, mentored younger Christians more, stepped out in faith more? I think we would soon find the places we are weak, the ways in which our spiritual bodies have been starved, the areas of wisdom we are lacking. It's kind of a weird, never-really-thought-of-it-this-way-before concept, "seeing our spiritual bodies," but I think it could make a lot of difference.
Our struggle is not against flesh and blood. Let's stop putting all our attention there.