10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness 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.
14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints–
First, I have to tell you this was inspired by a dear Christian Sister in the Lord, from Australia, Christiana Giannotti, and a post she made on Facebook the other day. She posted a picture of the Scriptures found in Ephesians 6:12-13 and I have to tell you, though I have taught and preached in the past on the very verses cited above, for some reason, I can only credit the Holy Spirit, seeing them in a picture form jarred my thinking and perspective and a different idea, a different depth to the Scriptures came forth from these very familiar verses.
We have all heard others preach on this and teach us what each individual piece of armor stands for and the defensive and offensive use of each one, but I want to give you another perspective to think on!
In the words of the famous author, screenwriter and television personality, famous for the older series, The Twilight Zone, Rod Serling would open the show with a very famous monologue and then state (in at least three of the episodes,) “submitted for your approval,” often mistakenly confused with what I would like to add, but which he never stated, “we offer for your consideration” the following perspective!
I’m not going to dwell on the individual pieces of armor. Any Christian who has listened to a preacher or teacher in church, knows what each piece means. Rather I want you to concentrate on the flow of the verses and the thought of the armor as a whole. We have always been taught that armor is a warrior’s garb and I am not going to dispute that, but something that I have never heard taught became very obvious the other day when I read the Scriptures in the picture posted by my Sister in Christ. War and battles within wars are active, very seldom passive. We move forward in the offensive or we move back in the defensive, but look at what the Apostle Paul is saying within the context of the WHOLE paragraph I have cited above and not just the couple of verses so often used.
First in verse 10, “be strong in the Lord and in the power of HIS might!” (Emphasis mine). We are to be strong, yes, and we are to display power, but how? By moving forward offensively or backwards defensively deflecting blows right and left? No, Paul clearly and adamantly states in HIS, the Lord’s might! Not ours, our skill, ability, assumed power is not in ourselves but in the Lord’s might. Which brings us to the next verse.
In the first part of verse 11 Paul states what we are so familiar with, that which has become such a part of traditional teaching, “Put on the whole armor of God, . . .” So I have to ask you at this point, WHOSE armor are you to put on? Yours? Armor that you have created, knit, welded together from your Bible study, the teachings of your pastor and teachers, the lessons you have learned in life, etc.? Of course it’s rhetorical, but it IS God’s Armor. If it IS His armor, then it stands to reason that He is loaning it to us for our protection. It stands to reason that it is stronger and more powerful than anything either we can have or the enemy can throw at us. Think about it, don’t just accept it.
To lend credence to the first part of verse 11, look at how the inspired Apostle finishes the sentence, “that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” What? We put on God’s Armor, not our own, to be able to stand against the wiles of the devil!! Here is what stood out to me, for what ever the reason, that YOU, that I, may be able to STAND against the wiles of the devil. First, what are wiles?
Here’s what *Oxford Dictionaries says:
wiles (plural noun)
1. devious or cunning stratagems employed in manipulating or persuading someone to do what one wants.
So the Apostle Paul is first warning us that the devil, the Christians, for that matter humankind’s greatest enemy will employ devious and cunning schemes to get us to do what he, the devil, wants us to do! But within that warning, comes this confirmation; God’s Armor gives us the power AND strength to STAND the onslaught! He is not telling us to advance on the devil and he most certainly is not telling us to withdraw from the enemy’s attack neither! He is telling us that in the Lord’s power and strength, with the Lord’s armor, we can STAND against the attack, the schemes, the lies, the misdirection used to manipulate us!
Now please keep that thought in mind as I give you this other Scripture; “Thus says the LORD to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.'” – 2 Chronicles 20:15b, “‘You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, who is with you, . . .'” – 2 Chronicles 20:17a.
Now I urge you, because I used portions of the Scriptures, go and read the whole verses in context and you will be able to still see the Spiritual principle I am trying to convey. The same applies to David as a shepherd boy coming upon the camp of the Philistines and Goliath, yes he approached, but listen to what Spiritual principle Samuel wrote, “Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD’S, . . .” – 1 Samuel 17:47.
One final Scripture concerning the Lord’s fight versus us taking up the fight, see what else under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” – Romans 12:19-21. What is the Apostle saying here? Do NOT be overcome by evil, STAND strong against it. How? By overcoming evil with good! How do we do that? By STANDING in the power and strength of not our own might, but God’s might and in God’s armor!
You see, time and time again, we see the Scriptures tell us that the battle is the Lord’s, not ours! Google or Bing the phrase, “the battle is the Lord’s” and just see the number of Scriptures that pop up telling you that it IS His battle! The enemy uses our flesh, our lack of power and strength to convince us that we can do great battle with the right equipment and then we wonder why we get “whipped” all the time! It’s because we have the tools, but it is not OUR tools that can make the difference; it IS the Lord’s and the Lord’s armor and equipment help us to stand, to WITHSTAND the evil that comes our way! Instead we have taken it upon ourselves to go on the offensive and we are all guilty of that.
What is it Paul tells us? We AREN’T fighting, wrestling against flesh and blood and yet more often than not, that is what we attempt to do! We try to BATTLE or fight against what we SEE. Well, take that back to the lesson of faith; we don’t walk by sight, by what we SEE! Our battle is in the spiritual arena and God, our Heavenly Father has given us the necessary equipment to WITHSTAND the onslaught, the scheming of the enemy!
You see, when I saw the picture with the Scripture the other day, what popped into my mind wasn’t so much medieval armor as what you would see on some science-fiction show, a shield, a field of force surrounding us. Many times we pray and ask the Holy Spirit to put a hedge of protection around ourselves or our loved ones. In the days of the Apostles and the disciples who followed, they could understand a warriors armor for it was in front of them all the time in the garb of the Romans who occupied their territory.
Today, it is easy to imagine some sort of shimmering shield surrounding each of us, easily deflecting the poisoned darts of the enemy. In a strong and powerful shield, we don’t have to fight, we let the enemy wear themselves out by standing and letting the shield do the work. In this case the shield isn’t ours, it is God’s! The same principle applies! Let the enemy wear themselves out, while we stand in strength and power from the Lord!
The Apostle Paul reiterates this again in verse 13. When something is too important to neglect, what do the writers, for the most part, do? The rephrase or repeat, they reiterate a thought showing how important it truly is; they do not want the reader to overlook it.
Paul writes in verse 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.” Take up God’s armor, that you may be able to WITHSTAND and having done all, again look what he states, to STAND! Then look at how he starts verse 14 before even describing the pieces of armor, “Stand therefore, . . .” and he goes on to describe the pieces of armor that ALLOW the wearer TO STAND!
Now watch how he closes his instructions in the 18th verse, “being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—. . .” What does a watchman, a guard, in full armor do when he isn’t directly in the battle? He watches. No matter his duty station, the hour of his duty, he watches so that those he has been charged with protecting are indeed, protected. He perseveres no matter how tired or weary. He remains strong, and vigilant. In most cases he is not alone, and this brings me to one last point.
If the armor is to be used like a shield to protect your whole self from being compromised in any weak areas, and if it is God’s armor like we established earlier, and we wear it in His might, strength and power AND we are to be watchful for the well-being of one another and each one of our brothers and sisters are shielded the same as we are, and then we have what today is termed “having each other’s back,” then how much stronger a shield do you think we have during the strongest onslaught of the enemy?
The battle, the actual fight is the Lord’s. He’s given us not just the shield of protection in the sense of armor, but the strength to wield it and the power of His might to make it effective when the enemy does try to strike or in many cases tries to deceive us with his lies. So what is there to fear? In my estimation, not a single thing. The Lord has promised to NEVER leave us nor forsake us, (Deuteronomy 31:6-8) so knowing that, not just believing, but actually knowing that should be the best assurance against ANY enemy we may think we have!
One final thing; this should confirm to others that the Word of God is alive and full of treasures deep and precious. You can read it any number of times and think you have arrived at some answers and then out of the blue, the inspiration behind the Living Word of God, the Holy Spirit brings more light to you in other ways! All I can say is Glory to God in the Highest!