All decked out

Ephesians 6:10–20 (ESV) Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 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. 13 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. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 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, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

Whenever I fall into sin, (don’t give me that look – you do too) I find I need look to find which part of Christ’s armor I’ve neglected. That is most often what leaves me susceptible to failure. No doubt, it is the same for you too.

1. Do I have my BELT OF TRUTH on? Am I seeing all of reality and even my identity as defined in relationship TO Christ? Am I seeing sin as the hideous thing it really is in God’s eyes, and righteousness as the treasure it really is in God’s eyes? Or is my day-to-day worldview uninformed by understanding the universe through God’s eternal purposes in Christ – rather than through the lens of the moment or this world’s values?

2. Do I have my BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS on? Commentators are divided on the nature of this breastplate – whether it refers to guarding my own heart through habitually walking in righteousness or fixing my eyes on Christ’s imputed righteousness. I take my stand on not being able to separate the two. The more I rely NOT on my own righteousness, and live fully convinced of Christ’s righteousness imputed to me in faith – the more I walk in the freedom of that righteousness, and guard my heart. Am I conscious of really and truly being declared righteous IN Christ?

3. Are my feet standing securely in the readiness given by the GOSPEL OF PEACE? Do I live at peace with God because of my justification in the Gospel, or is there some underlying fear that the Gospel is not enough? That my peace with God is tenuous, fragile and conditional upon me rather than secured in Christ?

4. Is my SHIELD OF FAITH up? Am I living increasingly in the full revelation of God IN Christ? Do I believe His Word – fully? Is sin as bad as the Word says it is? Is mankind’s plight really that desperate? Is Christ’s atoning sacrifice really the only means of peace with God? Does He really hate sin that much? Does He really love me that much? Am I really secure in Him? Will I be resurrected in Him? Will all of His promises prevail? If I do not trust Him – I will suspect Him, and sin will have its way through deception, just like in Eden.

5. Do I have on the HELMET OF SALVATION? Do I think like a redeemed person with living in the true hope of Heaven – which is salvation’s consummation of being eternally WITH Christ. Am I living like that’s where I’m going?

6. Do I have on the SWORD OF THE WORD? Am I living, having my sin being constantly exposed by the light OF Christ. Or do I live in self-deception and imagine myself better than I am? If He is not continually searching my with the light of His word – separating my thoughts and intents – which is impossible by human means – I will talk myself into sin every time.

7. Have I put on PRAYER today? Am I living in the access to the Father won BY Christ? In intimacy with the King of glory?

Am I really standing in these as my daily, conscious reality? If not, I WILL fall. 

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