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In Stephen Kings book Lisey’s Story, he writes about Bad Gunky.  He uses this phrase to refer to an evil Armor_of_God_01_280pxpresencee that his main characters are sometimes up against.  I think of this phrase when I think of the Christian’s spiritual enemies.  Luther talks about the World, our Fleshly desires, and the Devil.  Paul warns the church in Ephesians that our battle is against the Devils schemes, the Authorities, Principalities, Powers of Darkness and Spiritual Forces in the heavenly realms.  Bad Gunky all!

Paul also tells believers in Christ how to defeat these enemies of our soul.  In Ephesians 6:10, he says to be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.  That sounds great, but how do we do it?  Paul explains that we need to put on spiritual armor.  Or, as Stephen King says in the same book, “Strap it on!”

Of all the pieces of spiritual armor that we need to strap on, I think the most important piece is “the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God”.  It’s significant that Paul mentions both Spirit and Word.  There are theologians the world over that have a tremendous grasp of the Bible, but don’t have the Spirit, and are spiritually defeated.  There are many Christians who claim to be filled with the Spirit, but are ignorant of much of God’s Word.  They also suffer defeats regularly in the spiritual
realm.  To be victorious we must have the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.  Spirit and Word.  All the other pieces of armor are ultimately based on these two things.

With that said I will list the other pieces of spiritual armor, and rather than going into a long description of each piece, I will simply include a few relevant scriptures.

BELT OF TRUTH
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.  No on can come to the Father except through me.”  John 14:6

You shall know the truth, and the truth will make you free.  John 8:32

BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
But now, the righteousness of God has been made known apart from the law.  This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.  Romans 3:21,,22

SHIELD OF FAITH
For it is by Grace you have been saved through faith – it is not of yourselves – it is a gift of God.  Ephesians 2:8

If you have the faith of a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “be removed from here and be cast into the deepest sea” ans it will be done. Matthew 17:20

GOSPEL OF PEACE
I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God for salvation to all who believe.   Romans 1:16

My peace I give to you. Not the kind that the world gives, I give to you.  John 14:27

HELMET OF SALVATION

   Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  Romans 10:9

A cursory reading of these verses makes it plain that they are all connected in a radical way.  You can’t have one without the others.  A soldier back in the day could walk into his local armor shop and pick and choose which piece he wanted.  He could a quote on one or two pieces or buy the whole shebang.  As Christians, we get the whole outfit when we trust Jesus for our salvation.

I think the reason that Paul lists them all as separate entities is that the act of putting on each piece, should be a daily act of meditation each morning before we go out to face the day, to face the enemy.  God gives us each piece free of charge, and the mental act of strapping on each piece each day, each morning should give us cause for rejoicing in God and result in an attitude of strength that enables us to overcome the worries, frustrations, anxieties and anger that Satan and his minions will sling at us.  With the spiritual armor of God we will be “strong in th Lord and in His mighty power.”  We will go victorious into the day, full of joy knowing that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

Schwabbynitions

Faith – believing that God loves you and wants you to be happy.

Righteousness – enjoying living in right relationship with God.

Peace – not just the absence of conflict, but wholeness and contentment in every aspect of life.

Gospel – the Good News that God loves us and wants us to be happy, and has revealed the way to inner joy through His Word.

Salvation – being saved eternally from the power of sin and the wrath of God.  Being saved daily from the time of trial and the Evil One.

Truth – reality as seen through the eyes of God and revealed to us through scripture.

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Christ’s humility is our armor, His love is our strength and His forgiveness disarms demons.

 

24439834-stairway-into-lightI have been reading Ephesians lately and have been taken with the idea of the heavenly realms.  I have read Ephesians many times before and never noticed how important a place that  the idea, the reality, of the heavenly realms were to Paul, and how important they should be to our thoughts and actions.

The Apostle uses the phrase “heavenly realms” five times in this short letter.  In the first chapter he uses it twice.  In verse three he tells believers that they are blessed in the heavenly realms.  Most of us think mainly of the blessings we receive, or want to receive in the earthly realms.  Paul tells followers of Christ that we are blessed in the heavenly realms, and those blessings don’t just trickle down to us here on earth, but they cascade down upon us from on high, from the heavenly realms.

And why are we so fortunate to receive these blessings?  Paul goes on to say that Christ was raised from the dead and is seated in power at the right hand of the Father.  That same power that placed Jesus on the throne is the power that saves us, forgives us, redeems us and puts us in right relationship with the Father.  What incredible blessings those are!

But wait, there’s more!  Paul writes in chapter two, the famous “Grace” chapter, that even though we were dead in our trespasses and sins, we who have been blessed with His grace and mercy, have also been seated in the heavenly realms.  This signifies that we also have been given power, the power of the throne so to speak.  We are not literally in heaven, just as an earthly king is not literally on the throne all the time, yet he continually has the power of the throne and the crown.  God has endowed us with power from on high to overcome sin and the enemy, which Paul refers to in chapter three and chapter six.

In chapter three Paul begins to write about the gentiles and how through the work of Christ they have been joined with the Jews as God’s chosen people, and this combined group of Jews and gentiles are now called the church, the called out people. They are called out of the system of the world dominated by the “ruler of the air” (chapter two).  Paul tells the Ephesians that the church is to show the wisdom of God to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.  Who are these “rulers and authorities”?  And what does it mean for the church to show them the wisdom of God?  When we have questions about the meaning of a Bible passage, it is best to let scripture interpret scripture, so let’s take a look at the final “heavenly realm” passage in Ephesians.

In chapter six we have the famous passage about our spiritual armor.  What do we need spiritual armor for?  To fight spiritual battles with spiritual enemies.  Paul tells us that the enemies are not flesh and blood, but rulers, authorities, dark powers and spiritual forces in the heavenly realms.  So we learn that everything is not beauty and spice and everything nice in the heavenly realms.  We have enemies to fight, battles to win in the heavenly realms.  We must all put on the armor of God every morning.  Each individual joins the army, the church, to defeat the forces of evil.

I help out in a home for needy children in Oaxaca, Mexico.  Every child that comes into the home is a child saved from the devil, who wants to kill, steal and destroy these precious little ones.  When they come to know Jesus as their Savior, and come to the realization that God loves them and wants them to be happy, it gives Satan a black eye.  It is a setback to his evil hordes.  Each child that is seated in the heavenly realms deals a blow to the plans of the rulers and authorities in high places, showing the wisdom and power of God.

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