The Full Armor of God
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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. 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. Eph. 6:10-13
The opposite of standing is falling. What makes the difference in whether or not you stand in the day of battle? It’s the answer to this question: “Am I wearing the full armor of God?”
Let’s clarify here that not all conflict in your marriage or personal life is due to spiritual forces of evil. Oftentimes the issue is just me, or my spouse, or most often a combination of both. “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” Jas. 4:1 Then again, there have been many occasions when discord seems to have arisen from out of the blue, or should I say, from “out of the black.” Some dark thought or emotion, akin to that annoying pop-up ad on your computer screen, just seems to appear in your midst. This is the fork in the road when a couple needs to discern the situation and take action.
Allow me to make an important distinction. Unlike the firemen who don their boots, coats and helmets when the alarm sounds, the armor of God is something that we are to wear, all the time. I would liken it, in a spiritual sense, to a second skin. Every marriage will come under attack and it is to our great advantage to be prepared. Attacks come unannounced, devised to catch us, unprepared.
Belt of Truth
The full armor of God has six pieces. First, is the belt of truth. “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” Eph. 6:14-15 The belt of truth refers to the condition of your private life. In the context of this passage it isn’t merely referring to a correct creed or doctrine, as important as those are. Wearing the belt of truth represents an inner life that is properly relating to God. It’s about integrity, having a pure heart before God, and being honest with yourself and those in your inner circle, spouse first and foremost. Being authentic and vulnerable are two vital elements of the belt of truth.
To avoid having to face internal accountability, we sometimes use a mechanism called “denial.” It’s an unwillingness to face something painful or threatening, or perhaps something that we just don’t want to change. Not totally without merit, denial can be a blessing in a short term crisis management situation, such as a sudden loss or the reception of shocking news. But in the context of day to day life, standing firm requires the belt of truth, an inner receptivity and awareness of my true, heart condition.
Putting on the armor of God is not a cursory task, or simply a matter of our saying the words, such as, I put on the belt of truth. This is a worthwhile declaration of course, but it’s really all about the inner workings of the heart. To say another way, the armor really grows in us from the inside out. It’s more than simply acquiring the external weaponry.
Ask God to reveal to you the importance of winning the battle in your marriage and personal life. What pieces of armor need the most development? (More next post, on the armor of God.)