The Apostle Paul writing from prison to the church in Ephesus was no doubt guarded by a Roman soldier perhaps dressed in his full armor. Perhaps this was the impetus for the passage in Ephesians 6:10-18 on the armor of God. Paul looks at each piece and makes a spiritual application to the soldier of Christ and his spiritual warfare with the forces of the world, the flesh, and the devil. He describes for us 6 pieces of armor and then gives us the spiritual application of each piece. Then he describes the 7th spiritual weapon without its corresponding Roman piece of armor. That 7th powerful weapon is prayer. How do we put on this armor so that we will be able to have victory after victory in our spiritual life? I think the best way to put on our armor is described for us in the old gospel hymn: “put on the gospel armor, each piece put on with prayer”. We need to pray on each piece of armor.
The first piece of armor is called the belt of truth. We can put it on by praying something like: Lord I come to you today and wrap my mind with your truth. The devil and my own weak human flesh is constantly whispering lies to me. I wrap my mind today with your truth. It is true that you love me. It is true that Jesus died for me. It is true that I am your child. It is true that greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world. Father, help me to tuck in the loose ends of my ragged thinking and be wrapped tightly in the belt of your truth.
The next piece of armor is called the breastplate of righteousness. We know that we cannot stand before a holy God in the filthy rags of our own righteousness. Father I have taken the perfect holy righteousness of Jesus and stand complete before You dressed and protected in His righteousness. As I put on His righteousness I also desire to reflect in my own practical living the positional righteousness that I have in Christ. Lord today help me to live holy, righteously and godly in this present evil world.
The third piece of armor is the shoes of the gospel of peace. Today Father I want to be prepared to share the gospel with someone. Wherever my steps take me let me be alert to the opportunities to speak a word for Christ. May my feet be prepared, my eyes open, and my lips ready to give a word for You.
The next piece of armor is the shield of faith. Dear Lord, the flaming arrows of temptation, trouble, and trials will be flying at me today trying to pierce through and burn sin in my heart. You alone are my shield. I take up my shield of faith today and hide under its protective power. I trust You, depend upon You, hide behind You. I look to You only to quench these fiery darts.
The fifth piece of armor is the helmet of salvation. Lord You have saved me. I am yours. Today I put on this salvation as a helmet to protect me from any doubts that may come from the enemy. Lord I know you have saved me and I put on this helmet of assurance so that I can have confidence of my eternal security. Any doubts are deflected when my helmet is strapped on.
The sixth piece of armor is the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. As the other pieces of armor were defensive this one is offensive. Lord as I read Your Word today, I will apply its sharpened edge first of all to the splinters of sin and the foreign growths in my own heart. Lord cut me with your scalpel that You may heal me. Then Lord help me to take this sharp sword and use it in my witnessing to the lost, in my teaching to the family of faith, and in cutting my way through this world’s jungle growth of error.
Lord I finish putting on my armor by taking up the weapon of prayer. I realize that I have no power on my own to win any victory with my self-determination or human power. I pray to You my Lord wrapped fully in the armor of God and depending on You alone for victory.
For many years I had a special key chain. It was made from a 1903 silver dollar that my grandfather handed down to me. It was very precious to me as it was the only thing I had from him except memories. I also have a pocket knife and a sharpening stone handed down to me from my father. These things had very little monetary value but reminded me of the influence of these two men in my life.
Chapter 11 of the book of Hebrews lists so many people who were examples of faith. They are really our fathers in the faith. They are handing down to us some very exemplary qualities that are of great value if we would claim them. Among these great fathers of the faith in Hebrews 11 I am impressed with three of them that leave us a great inheritance.
Abraham was the father of obedience. Heb. 11:8 says: “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going”. Abraham obeyed even when he did not have all the details. He obeyed God through his pain when he was told to sacrifice his son. We offer God so many excuses for not obeying God’s clear instructions.
Moses was the father of decision. When Moses grew up he made the decision to choose to identify with the people of God. That decision would cost him the loss of his prestigious position. It would cost him intense suffering with the Hebrews. Yet he choose to follow the Lord instead of enjoying the pleasures of sin for a season. We are called to make a similar decision. Choose to accept Christ and follow Him leaving Egypt behind.
Daniel was the father of steadfastness. His faith was so strong it enabled him to “stop the mouths of lions” (Heb. 11:33). His steadfast faith was also seen as he lived a consistent life in a foreign environment over a whole lifetime. We are called to the same steadfastness.
These fathers of the faith leave us something more valuable than a key chain or pocket knife. They leave a powerful legacy of obedience, decision, and steadfastness.
Have you ever thought of the times that God in His Word praises His children and gives them encouragement? Sometimes we wonder if those who He has lavished praise upon actually deserve it. I think of John the Baptist whom Jesus calls the greatest born of women. What a marvelous statement. Yet remember when John was in prison he sent word to Jesus just to ask Him if He was the One. This mighty prophet had a momentary period of doubt. I think of what the Word of God says of Moses being the meekest man in the earth. I can think of a few times when he didn’t seem so meek. I am also reminded of Lot whom 2 Peter describes as having a righteous soul. In the book of Judges Gideon was called a mighty man of valor long before he did much to prove that statement.
What are we to make of these instances of lavish praise? The first thing that I can see that we can learn is that our great God loves His children so much. He is always there eager to see us serve effectively and live honorably. Another lesson I think comes out of these praises is that failure does not have to define us. Every one of God’s children have failed in some way or another. Yet God is so loving and encouraging and stands ready to enable our second chances. We see also from scripture that God sees our potential not our perversion. Jesus called Peter the Rock long before he began to live rock-like. God knows what we can become when we put all of our trust in Him. Finally, we need to learn that our true worth as an individual comes from our righteous standing in Jesus Christ. Lot was less than righteous in many ways but He believed and God counted it to him for righteousness, just like Abraham and anyone else who places their faith in Jesus Christ. God calls us His children, His sons, His bride, and His beloved. We are said to be more than conquerors, a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and His own special people.
Because of the power of God’s grace, we who are so undeserving receive lavish praise from our Lord.
Pastor Stultz has been writing this weekly devotional for many years. In 2009, he published a compilation of devotionals in book form, also called Moments of Meditation