We wish to welcome Miss Donna Van Uffelen to our staff as associate editor of Critique. She is a member of our Redlands Church and of the Young People’s Society. Her first article appears below. EDITOR
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul gave us the command to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. We cannot obey or carry forth this commandment if we do not wear the complete armor of God. Not just one, or some, pieces of this special suit of clothing will make us completely able to stand against the subtle trickery of the devil.
We have an extremely difficult, spiritual battle to fight. The battle must be fought in every aspect of our worldly lives and even in the church itself. We must wear the girdle of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, shoes of the preparation of the gospel of peace and the helmet of salvation. The shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit must be taken up. Do we dare fight in the armor of the world?
A girdle is a very necessary part of a warrior’s armor. It keeps the complete armor in place, supports the sword and gives strength to the warrior himself. Truth, therefore, is the band that girds or binds the character of the Christian together. It was also necessary for the people of Israel to have their loins girt when they began their march out of Egypt. They were ready and alert as the Christian soldier must be; for the call to march may come at a time that we least expect it to come.
The breastplate is a piece of armor worn directly above the girdle. It protects the vital organs, specifically the heart. Solomon says in his proverbs (chapter 4:23) that we must keep our heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Our heart is to be above all keeping. In the great test, our righteousness will be as filthy rags to cover our heart, and Paul prays that he may put on the perfections of Christ, “not having mine own righteousness, but that which is through the faith of Christ.”
If we wear the complete armor of God and our feet are not shod, we will be sure to stumble, for rocks lie ahead somewhere in life’s path. Our feet must be shod with the shoes of the preparation of the gospel of peace. Since the Gospel is a message and every Christian is a messenger of the Gospel, his feet must be shod with preparedness and winged with speed. Many years before Paul, Isaiah had once said, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” (Isaiah 52:7)
The head is one of the most principal parts that must be protected. When the head is wounded, the whole warrior is wounded, since that part which controls the whole body suffers. Since this is the case, it becomes very logical that Satan tries to assault the mind through the ear, the eye and the palate. In order to protect our head and consequently our whole body, we must put on the helmet of salvation. “He will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee.”
“Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” This shield is not only “above all” in importance, but the meaning implied is that it covers and protects all the pieces put on previously. The shield protects the warrior from the fiery darts aimed to kill. If the fiery darts of temptation—wrath, lust, revenge, doubt and despair—are aimed at the unshielded Christian’s heart, faith is lost as the warrior falls. We must live with our shield of faith and be willing to die for it.
To fight a good fight, we must carry the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Christ’s religion with the banner of the cross has been propagated by the preaching of the Word. Satan fears no weapon as he does the Bible, for it is the Christian’s one offensive weapon.
Paul concludes by saying that we must pray with all supplication and prayer in the Spirit and watch with perseverance and supplication for all saints. We do not have to “wear” prayer. If we have truth, righteousness, the preparation of the gospel of peace, faith, salvation and the Word of God, we will naturally want to pray. In prayer, all our armor is strengthened, for we have a direct line to God anytime that we want to make it. If we do not pray, we cannot possibly wear the armor of God.
We have now drawn a complete picture of a warrior, a Christian warrior, ready for battle; the spiritual battle of the saints. We can never erase it. Be armed! Be ready! Pray!
Originally Published in:
Vol. 29 No. 8 December 1969