Ephesians 6: 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
We saw in Part 1 post, the aspects of the Armour of God and the prerequisites for putting on the whole Armour of God. As mentioned we will look at each Armour and the Biblical examples of the application (failure and success) of the Armour of God. There are many examples mentioned in the Bible that can be studies for us to have a better understanding and gain wisdom to use this Armour. But I will lay few examples both negative and positive for our clarity. These examples relates to us with our personal life and will help us be vigilant and discerning to use the Armour of God to stand against the wiles and schemes of the Devil. Let us thus look into each of the parts of the Armour of God.
1) Belt of Truth (Loins Girt):
Loins, also called belt was an important part of the Armour of a soldier. A proper girded belt in an Armour set, secures all the pieces of the Armour which is supported by it and also gives a good hold and stability for the soldier and to easily carry the Armour. The belt is always cleaved tightly to the waists. Apostle compares the Truth of the scriptures to this Armour, the truth that God gave is like the belt that needs to be cleaved to us which enables us to hold all the other Armour comfortably. As truth is the foundation and everything needs to be done without compromising the Truth. All the Armour that God gave should be hung or supported by this Armour that is belt of Truth.
This also means that God does not tolerate or allow a fractions of lie as we put on the Armour of God. This calls for us to be careful, as Bible calls Satan as Father of lies in John ch 8: 44 and God considers deception to be an abomination and it is detestable to God, Proverbs 6: 16-17. It guards us from the lies of Satan and from our own lying tongues.
a) Positive Example: In Bible we see how the Blind man whom Jesus heals, uses this Armour to stand firm and glorify God. He testifies the truth about Jesus to the Pharisees without the fear of being cast out of the synagogue, Mark 10: 46. Because he testified the truth of the Lord. Lord Jesus Christ reveals Himself to the man and when the blind man knows that He is Lord Jesus who healed him. He falls on his feat to worship Jesus. Surely this man glorified God and Jesus Christ by telling the truth about God. He wisely used the Armour.
b) Negative Example: Peter denies Jesus Christ 3 times, before Jesus was about to be crucified John 13: 31-38, Luke 22: 54-64. Compared to the blind man Peter who followed and walked besides Jesus for all the three years of Christ’s ministry, who even went on to say Jesus that he will die for Him. When the time came when Jesus was caught and deserted by His disciples, Peter followed Jesus but when the time came for him to acknowledge Jesus, Peter denied to know Him. Not once but three times he got the opportunity to acknowledge Him. Jesus infact had foretold Peter’s death and before that how many great things he would do for the Lord. Even knowing that it was not the time for him to die, he denies Jesus. Peter loses his guards. He didn’t remain truthful at that moment. This is an example of someone who puts of the belt of truth. Eventually all the Amours that is supported by it would fall out. Though Peters after the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, repents and turns to the Lord and was greatly used for the apostolic ministry.
2) Breastplate of Righteousness:
This another important Armour for a soldier, one of the most important Armour of defense. Breastplate shields vital organs from blows that would be fetal for a soldier. The harder and thicker the breastplate stronger is the defense. The righteousness that Paul talks here is not a self righteousness or righteousness based on our own deeds, but which is imputed to us by God, this imputed righteousness is the righteousness of Christ received through faith in the full merit and cross work of Jesus Christ.
It guards us from the accusation and charges of Satan pertaining to our sin and condemnation and secures our inner man from such attacks. Thus we need to be watchful and sober minded, 1 Peter 5:8.
a) Positive Example: We see a very good illustration of the use of this Armour in the life of Joseph, Genesis 39. Joseph in his lifetime never lose his guard, especially when he was approached by Potiphar’s wife to lie with her, many times she sought the occasion but we see that Joseph didn’t lose his guard. The day when she forced onto Joseph he said he cannot commit this sin against God and as she tried to pull his garment forcing him, he left the garment and fled from there. Its often mentioned about Joseph that God was with Joseph, he always watched his guard and by the help of God lived a righteous life. The secret of this success was not himself but God. God was always with him guiding, encouraging, leading, giving him strength and wisdom. We know the outcome of this that how he was made the minister of Egypt. Let us learn from his life, how he had his breastplate of righteousness put on all the time.
c) Negative Example: One of the best example I can remember is about Samson where he was betrayed by Delilah due to his own ignorance and recklessness Judges 16: 1-22. Surely Samson in this instance was caught off-guard, Samson unlike Joseph didn’t have his breastplate of righteousness put on. Often the character of Samson is seen as a strongest man the Bible. However, there is more to his character than mere strength from the Lord. Samson was a judge over Israel and he judged Israel for 20 years. To have been a judge for 20 years without any black mark reveals that he was a God appointed, righteous judge over Israel. We also read that it was a miraculous journey right from his birth to becoming judge over Israel. We see a prophetical message about Lord Jesus Christ and His sacrifice as an offering surrounding his birth, Judges 13. We see Samson filled with the Spirit, God giving him superhuman strength for the purpose of redeeming Israel from the clutches of Philistines. Before he is made the judge over Israel we see him killing 1000 philistines with a mere donkey’s jaw bone and God letting water from the earth to revive him.
But we see him being allured by the prostitute Delilah so much so that it had become a routine for Samson to visit her and get drunk. The Philistine ceasing this occasion laid a trap to search for the secret of his strength and in the drunk state Samson spills about the truth of his super human strength. It was not his hair primarily but it was his faith and righteousness that was tarnished. He defiled himself and let an occasion that led to breaking the promise or covenant that his parents had with God during his birth. Samson was carried away in his emotions and lust that he forgot about the God he served, that He was a righteous God. This shows how he disarmed or put off the breastplate of righteousness and suffered terrible consequences. Let this be a lesson for us that the Christ righteousness that has been given to us, let us never tarnish it or put it off.
3) Shoes of Preparation of ‘Gospel of Peace‘:
Unlike the shoes civilians wear, soldier has a different set of shoes as an Armour, it is an important feature of a Soldier’s Armour. In this context Paul emphasizes that putting on shoes indicates that a solider is always ready and prepared to get into the battle arena. Likewise the shoes of preparation of ‘Gospel of Peace’ prepares our feet for Spiritual conflicts.
This means that we should always be prepared to reach out with the ‘Gospel of peace’ of our Lord Jesus Christ. Prepared to go to any place, anytime, in any circumstances, even as Apostle Paul mentions in 2 Timothy 4: 2, to preach the word and be prepared in season and out of season. This indicates the need for us to keep marching forward in the enemies (satan’s) territories. Soldier’s shoe is always made of metal which helps in travelling in difficult terrains, and also protects the feet from enemies traps, and attacks from wild creatures like snakes and scorpions.
This Armour is very important for winning souls in Christ Jesus from the clutches of sin and Satan. As Satan tries in vain to create huddles, snares and traps to prevent this word and any work that brings glory to God.
a) Positive Example: We see a beautiful illustration of the display of this Armour in the life of Apostle Philip, Acts 8: 26-40. Philip heard the voice of Lord Jesus Christ telling him to go down to the road that was going from Jerusalem to Gaza, which is specified as a desert place. Important thing to notice was that Philip immediately complied to the Lord’s word without asking any question as to why or having a doubt in his mind or without any fear of being lost in the desert or fear of being attacked by any robbers. He knew that Lord had commanded this to him for a purpose. As the further incident goes, he finds an Ethiopian Eunuch, and the Lord further tells him to join him in the journey and rest as you read you understand that Philip was not only ready to go anywhere at anytime for the Gospel but he was also equipped to give the Gospel as he expounds the portion of Isaiah 53 to the Eunuch, rest is the history. How Philip’s preparedness helped him to be useful for the Lord to save the Eunuch and not only that we further go on to read that God carried him immediately away to Azotus and he preached the Gospel to all the town on his way until he reaches Ceasarea.
Philip very well knew that Lord bringing him to Azotus was not a chance but fir the same purpose that Lord lead him to the dessert area on the way to Gaza. May this be an example to us and follow the example of Philip to be always have the Shoes of the Preparation of ‘Gospel of Peace’ always be put on.
b) Negative Example: Prophet Jonah’s disobedience to God’s call is one of the greatest examples often quoted when it comes to disobedience. However, tying it to the context of this Armour we see a deeper truth with regards to Jonah’s disobedience. We can see that Jonah was not prepared to go to Nineveh to preach God’s word to them. God had bestowed this privilege to Jonah to go and preach to the city to repent from their evil deeds and sin and seek forgiveness from the Lord. It was a great opportunity for Jonah to be instrumental in the salvation of a great and wicked city. But we see Jonah was not prepared to go to the city of Nineveh rather he tried to escape to Tarshish for that he found a ship and even paid to go their, Jonah 1: 1-3.
We can also see the reason for Jonah to be not prepared to go to Nineveh. His attitude towards the people of Nineveh was unloving and ungracious. Jonah thought that Nineveh deserved to be perished because of their wickedness for Jonah very well knew that God will forgive Nineveh and will not pour His wrath upon the city if the people repented. We can see in Jonah 4: 1-2 and in Jonah 3, how God forgives Nineveh and saves 120000 soul from their sins.
Jonah would have saved a great pain and trouble if he had complied to God’s word in the beginning.
Often our unpreparedness is also due to the lack of love and fear of the unknown persecution that often is encountered by preachers. As love overcomes fear, love is gracious and merciful. Let is contemplate our lives and have this Armour put on all the time, in season out of season, any time, any where, in any circumstances and at any cost.