Summary: There is a reason we’re exhorted to put on the FULL armor. Satan has more than one attack plan. (#15 in The Christian Victor series)
“Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”
There are a number of stories through history, that impress upon the hearer the importance of full protection in a time of battle.
Most of us know the story of the mythical Achilles; the Greek hero who was dipped as a baby in the river, Styx, which contained magical powers, to make him invincible.
Unfortunately, his mother held him by the heel to do it, and neglected to get the heel all the way in. Later, although a great warrior, he was struck by a Trojan’s arrow in that heel and died.
Another example is in I Kings 22, where Ahab disguises himself so he can go into battle unrecognized, but one of the enemy’s soldiers randomly shoots an arrow into the air, and it goes straight to a joint in Ahab’s armor and kills him. Now in this case we know God directed the arrow, but there was a chink in the armor, nonetheless.
During the Battle of the Wilderness in the Civil War, Union General John Sedgwick was inspecting his troops. At one point he came to a parapet, over which he gazed out in the direction of the enemy. His officers suggested that this was unwise and perhaps he ought to duck while passing the parapet. "Nonsense," snapped the general. "They couldn’t hit an elephant at this dist--." A moment later Sedgwick fell to the ground, fatally wounded. Today in the Word, August 30, 1993.
In this case there was no armor involved at all. But if he wasn’t going to wear armor, he should have kept his empty head down.
Few of you will remember this, but on August 1, 1966 Charles Whitman found his way to the tower of Texas University in Austin, Texas, and began shooting people with a high powered rifle. Police agencies learned a lot of lessons from that day, simply because that sort of thing hadn’t happened in our country and no one was prepared for it.
One of the lessons they learned was the difference between cover and concealment. Officers trying to get a shot at the sniper while avoiding being shot themselves, hid behind whatever was available.
The ones who found actual cover, that is, behind stone walls or the corners of buildings, had protection from bullets. Others, hiding behind things like bushes, which do not stop bullets, got shot. They had found concealment, but not cover.
Christians, I wonder, if the spiritual armor of God could be translated into actual, physical armor on each believer, what kind of an army would we appear to be?
When I hear reports and statistics concerning the depth of teaching in many of our churches today, and when I see the floundering and failing of so many who call themselves ‘Christian’, I have to wonder if they would look dressed at all!
THE NEED FOR PROTECTION
The reason for putting on the full armor of God, according to Paul in this verse, is for protection against the devil’s schemes.
I reiterate here; Paul began this letter teaching us about our relationship with God, established entirely by Him through Christ. Then he went on to teach us about our horizontal relationships, as those who have that vertical relationship with Christ. So we might say that he is now teaching us about our dealings, as those in Christ, with those things that are below.