The Armor of God
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 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. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints."
So, I read this passage this morning and started wondering if perhaps one of my problems is that I am not wearing a piece of the armor. I read to almost the end and nothing was really jumping out at me and then I got to the bottom, "In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."
I realized that often when I read this passage I am drawn to the Sword of the Spirit, which makes sense. It's the word of God, the ultimate truth. However, it occurred to my brain that I needed to back up a bit. I can swing my sword all I want but if I'm not using my shield it will be significantly less effective. Yes, God's word is the absolute truth, but if I fail to hold up my shield of faith then I'm basically saying, "Hey I have this sword and I'm going to whip it around and try to use it to defend myself but just so you know I don't really have faith in it. I'm not really sure that it will do the trick." And that is when I open myself up to attack.
Paul says that we need to be using our shield "in all circumstances." That it will protect us from the flaming darts of the enemy. Without it we will repeatedly be struck. The Sword and the Shield are a dynamic duo. They go together and they need to be used together.
Another thought that goes with all this and that I need to work on remembering is from
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight."
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart. " Ok, so trust and faith are similar so I need to be using my shield, but the part of this verse that I have been trying to keep in mind is the part that says, "And lean not on your own understanding." My biggest problem when it comes to allowing worry and fear to rule my life is that I start to lean on what I think I know, or on what I feel. I allow a fear into my brain and start to brood on it. And then I start to get really worried and before you know it, I'm in a bad place. And then I think, "Ok let's use the Sword" and I look to the word of God and find that there is nothing to back up my fear plus the fact that it is a fear to begin with and God isn't fear. Now this knowledge should be enough to get me to employ my shield and get my thoughts on the right track, but all to often I start to rely on my own understanding.
I think, "Well even though there is nothing in the Bible telling me that what I'm worried about is legit, and God doesn't use fear, but you know I really feel afraid." And then I start to analyze and look for things to back up my fear and that slams me right back to the beginning. Not a good cycle. It's because I'm trying to rely on my own understanding.
So today, remember to use that Dynamic Duo of the Sword and the Shield and don't rely on what you think you know or feel. God is Peace. God is Joy. God is Life.
"Therefore choose Life..."