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. Ephesians 6:13 (NIV)
One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned from being an athlete is to always be prepared. Not only by practicing, but most importantly, by having everything I needed to compete. For example, as a track athlete, I threw shot put and hammer in college. Can you imagine me showing up to a track meet without a shot put or a hammer? What if I didn’t have my shoes? Or my uniform? That would be a complete mess. Do you know what would be worse though? Imagine now a football player, showing up for a game without the right equipment. No shoes, no uniform, no gloves, not pads, no helmet. These items are not just necessary to compete, as with track…these items, especially the pads and helmet are necessary for protection! As a matter of fact, it’s illegal to not have those items. Because if you don’t have them, it is dangerous. If you get hit by another player without those pads on, you risk extreme levels of injury and broken bones. If you get knocked down with no helmet on, you risk significant head, neck or brain injury. Those football players are insanely strong, moving at fast speeds, hitting way too hard… Yikes! It would be silly to walk on that field not dressed…almost like you are looking to get hurt…
Sometimes this is how we show up in life though – We literally go through the field of life without the protection we need. We go through life not accessing the tools that God has given us. Sometimes we are standing in life…naked and empty handed…
But it doesn’t have to be so…
There is certain battle equipment that we have been gifted, we just have to take advantage of it…
Gift of Armor (Eph 6: 14-17)
Belt of truth – Truth allows us to stand our ground and hold onto Gods promises
Breastplate of righteousness – Christ’s righteousness protects our hearts against accusations and charges from the enemy
Shoes of peace – Peace allows us to walk the path in strength and courage
Shield of faith – Faith counteracts attacks, keeping us steadfast and moving forward as we trust God
Helmet of salvation – Salvation protections our minds against deceptions of the enemy
Sword of the Spirit – The only offensive weapon here, is the Spirit, the Bible, the Word of God. We can use this weapon of truth to protect ourselves and destroy the enemy.
The piece that makes all this work in prayer. Verse 18 of this same passage tells us to “pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” We may be fully dressed for battle but we also must pray that God grants us the right equipment for the right time and right battle: the wisdom and the foresight. We must also pray for those who are on our team, God’s team, who are in battle with us. We don’t have to go at this difficult life alone…or naked…
So—How do we apply this: Simple – Get to know God and His promises!
When we are dressed with the full armor – we don’t have to believe what others say about us. We don’t have to become depressed by our circumstances. We don’t have to doubt ourselves or God. We don’t have to become discouraged in sickness or adversity. We should be able to stand on God and His promises. The vision He has for us and the purpose over our lives. Even as we walk through difficult times and circumstances…we should stay dressed and ready!
Now, you may be thinking: football players wear all that stuff YET still get hurt, broken bones and concussions. Here is the thing with football pads and helmet…they lessen the impact of hits that are undoubtedly going to happen. Same with God’s body armor —> the point is not that you won’t get attacked or even hurt. As a matter of fact, we should expect attacks (John 17:33). With God, though, the impact of those attacks will be mitigated and the pain will be significantly less!
Remember – Adversity hits different when you are not appropriately dressed
Peace. Blessings. Love.