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-- © GodSpeak International 2002 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org> --

Author: Rodney Hogue <rodhogue@aol.com> http://www.restorationdepot.org
Editors: Donna King, Harriette Osborn, Petru Prinsloo, DeAnna Torres, Teresa Seputis & Leona Ward Transcribers: Roberta Capps, Virginia Norris, Linda Selby

Prayer-School Course #21

A Beginner's Guide to Spiritual Warfare

Lesson 7

Spiritual Armor

By Rodney Hogue

Ephesians 6:11-18a says, "Put on the full armor of God, that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and petition, pray at all times in the Spirit ..."

What kind of fool would go into a battle zone without protection, knowing the enemy is attacking?

As the church of God, how many times do we go into battle spiritually naked with no protection? This is not smart, because the enemy is looking for weak people to devour. I Peter 5:8 says that Satan is a roaring lion seeking to devour somebody. The lion goes for the weak, the old, the helpless, the sick, and those who are vulnerable. The enemy is looking for vulnerable spots. God has given us His armor regardless of our age or our emotional condition. God does supply protection.

How To Put On The Armor

Ephesians 6:11 says to put on the full armor of God. The word "put on" there in the Greek is the word 'enduo.' It means "to clothe." We use the word "endued" speaking of it as a covering, but it is an anointing, a clothing, something you put on. Verse 13 says, "Take up." That means, "picking up, taking up, assume, taking up again." It is an accepted term for taking up arms.

Maybe the reason that verse 13 tells us to take it up is because we laid it back down at some point? The believers either either they were supposed to put their armor on, or they did not know there was a war going on. Maybe they were lazy or they thought they were on R & R (a military term meaning rest and recreation). Our adversary does not recognize R & R. He does not recognize "down time." Therefore, you always have to be prepared. There is no relaxing here. You do not get to a place where you can say, "Well, I don't have to put the spiritual armor on today, because the enemy is going to cut me some slack." That never happens.

When God gives you the armor, you have to put it on. What if you came up to me one day and said, "I have this awesome new set of clothes. You really ought to see them." Then the next Sunday you said, "You ought to see the great new set of clothes I have." I would ask, "Where are they?" And you would say, "Well, they're in my closet." Obviously, I am not going to see them there. In order for me to ever see those clothes, you are going to have to put them on and wear them. It's like that in the spirit too.

Simply talking about your spiritual armor, giving it lip service, does not accomplish much. The armor does not protect you unless you put it on. As believers, we frequently acknowledge that we "have the armor of Christ." But the armor is not something to just talk about. Are we wearing it? We need to ask ourselves, "Have I put it on?" We have to put it on, and we have to put it on every day. It is a command of the Lord: "Put on the armor." He did not tell us to presume it is on. He said to put on the armor, take up the armor. We have to do something. There is an action here. As we begin the day, we do not know what that day will hold. We do not know what we will be called upon to do that day. We cannot say, "Excuse me God, I see a battle coming here -- time out. May I just run home and maybe have a little quiet time, and then come back when I'm ready?" You cannot do that. You do not know when the battle is coming up. You have to always be ready and prepared for it.

Sadly, not everyone understands how to put on the armor of God. Some people say, "I just get up in the morning and put it on in prayer." They say words like this: "Lord, I just want to put on the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, and the belt of truth. I shod my feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace. I take the sword of the spirit and the shield of faith, and I am ready to go out for war." That is a good first step, but there is more to it. If that is all you are doing, you have not put on the full armor.

Putting on the armor is living out those things. It is righteousness. It is salvation. We have to be saved. We have to be sanctified, and we must work out who we are in the Lord. The breastplate of righteousness is the righteousness of Christ that He gives us to walk in. We must walk it out day by day. When we put on the belt of truth, we look at how God has given us His truth. When we put on the shield of faith, it means we need to walk in faith that day. When we exercise our faith, we will extinguish the darts of the enemy. We take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the living Word of God. This means that we use God's word as an offensive weapon. That is how we put on the armor.

Some people go through the whole thing verbally in their quiet time. But if they do not live out their salvation or walk in the righteousness of Christ, they have just laid their armor down. Putting on the armor is not just a prayer to pray in the morning. I do pray that prayer to remind myself that I need to live it out in my life today. I declare by faith that I have the helmet of salvation. I have the breastplate of righteousness. As I live these things, that is my protection. It is not a formula to say when you get up in the morning, although that is a good first step. You must walk it out, because if you are not walking it out you are laying your armor aside.

Some of my sermons were put on the Internet. One lady wrote back and said, "You spoke about putting on the armor. I never take it off." I responded, "You may not intentionally take it off, but if you are not always walking in the righteousness of Christ, if you are not always walking in faith, you have taken it off." You get the picture. Are you walking in the peace that passes all understanding; the peace that comes by way of the gospel? If not, then you are not wearing the armor. You have taken it off. If you walk in those things, then you will have on the armor of God. We will cover every one of those elements so that you can put them on.

The Whole Armor

The Bible says we need to put it all on; not just parts of it, but all of it. The Greek word for the "whole armor" is 'panoplia.' Some commentaries teach that Paul was in the Roman jail and he looked at a Roman guard standing there and just got inspired. He noticed that the guard had a breastplate and Paul compared it to righteousness. However, it did not happen like that. We know that, because Paul said to put on the full armor of God, and the guards at the jail would not have had their full armor on. Paul was talking about something he would have seen as the Roman soldiers were marching out to war. The guards at the jail with Paul probably did not have their shields, and possibly not their lances either.

We often do not understand the full concept of the armor of God. When you think of a Roman soldier, what comes to your mind? You might picture him in a hat with a little point on top, a mini-skirt, and a little tiny shield. That soldier is not ready for war. He is ready to look good in front of other people. The soldiers who were ready for war had shoes (grieves) with cleats on the bottom. The shoes were made for marching, advancing, and retreating. It was one of their secrets for waging war and winning. The soldier standing in front of Paul was not wearing that kind of shoe. He probably wore his regular, every-day equivalent of tennis shoes. He was not geared up for battle. Paul had often seen soldiers going to war. His hearers would have fully understood as he described a person who is fully armored up to engage in war.

We need to put on the full armor of God. The armor is both offensive and defensive -- it includes both. The armor is complete, not lacking in anything. It is whole with no dents or holes. It is complete with shield, helmet, breastplate, grieves, sword, belt, and lance -- all seven pieces. Some people say that Paul forgot the lance, but the lance is prayer, which is mentioned in the next sentence. It does include all seven pieces.

-- © GodSpeak International 2002 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from copyright@godspeak.org --

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