Summary: Security systems. Car alarms. But are you still vulnerable? Defenseless? Feel like you are under attack? Are you dressed for battle? Let's learn the "Art of War!"

The Art of War

Pt. 3 - Warfare Wardrobe 1

I. Introduction

On May 9, 1864, at the site of the Spotsylvania Courthouse, General Sedgwick was personally overseeing the placement of a battery directly to the rear of his entrenched 14th New Jersey while enjoying a conversation with his young chief-of-staff, and friend, General Martin T. McMahon. They were approximately 1,000 yards from the Confederate lines, a distance that was considered relatively safe given the firearms of the day. However, throughout the two men’s conversation, they were interrupted several times from stray bullets fired from Rebel sharpshooters. What happened next left a profound mark on the life of the young general, and he recorded the events in his log.

"A man who had been separated from his regiment passed directly in front of the general, and at the same moment a sharp-shooter’s bullet passed with a long shrill whistle very close, and the soldier, who was then just in front of the general, dodged to the ground. The general touched him gently with his foot, and said, “Why, my man, I am ashamed of you, dodging that way,” and repeated the remark, “They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance.” The man rose and saluted and said good-naturedly, “General, I dodged a shell once, and if I hadn’t, it would have taken my head off. I believe in dodging.” The general laughed and replied, “All right, my man, go to your place.” For a third time the same shrill whistle, closing with a dull, heavy stroke, interrupted our talk; as I was about to resume, the general’s face slowly turned toward me, the blood sputtering from his left cheek under the eye in a steady stream. He fell in my direction."

The 56-year old corps commander died on the scene making him the highest ranking Union casualty of the Civil War. General Sedgwick’s final words are the epitome of irony.

If General Sedgwick had treated his enemies with more respect, he probably would not have died that day. But he got careless and made assumptions about his enemies.

We are at war! We have a real enemy and we must stay alert and on guard. As much time as we spend for personal protection. Car alarms. House alarms. Computer alarms. Perimeter fences. Prickly shrubs under the windows. Deadbolts. Door chains. Sirens. Motion detectors. Cameras to see who has been on our porch and for all this effort and expense given to protect and fortify our homes we seem to have forgotten that there is a war that is taking place in the unseen, unfilmable realm and we seem to give little to no effort to secure our hearts. Elaborate systems in place to lock up our car and our valuables but no thought given to locking down our spirit.

Paul affirms that we are in a war. However, he goes one step further and reminds us that we have a wardrobe for war. I think Paul understood what I see . . . (SLIDE 2) Too many of us are fighting naked! We are promised a uniform that will help us be victorious but we march out uncovered, unclothed, and vulnerable. We will dress for success at work and yet fail to consider what we are wearing in the war that is waging around us. It is those who know about the armor that can say with assurance and confidence that no weapon formed against me shall prosper. The reason some of us cringe when we hear that promise spoken is because as we look around we see weapons formed against us not only prospering but prevailing. I submit to you that because we don't know how to utilize the defense God has provided and our own lack of proficiency at using the armor results in wounds, pain, and injury because we are needlessly exposed! In very real terms, we are suffering self inflicted injuries that could be avoided if we would gear up!

Paul steps in and helps us by taking the time to outline and describe the uniform or the wardrobe of war that is necessary for us to wear if we are going to prevail!

Ephesians 6:10-18 (Message)

And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

10 Finally, be strengthened in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 11 Clothe yourselves with the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. 13 For this reason, take up the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand your ground on the evil day, and having done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm therefore, by fastening the belt of truth around your waist, by putting on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 by fitting your feet with the preparation that comes from the good news of peace, 16 and in all of this, by taking up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

The wardrobe of war:


Paul is using what he sees, as he is sitting in a Roman prison, which is a Roman soldier. He uses a literal soldier to teach us, as spiritual soldiers, about the wardrobe that we must wear. The belt worn by Roman soldiers was a 6 to 8 inch wide leather belt that was used to hold up the soldier's tunic so that he could move freely in battle and it was also what the sword and dagger strapped to. Paul seeing that says to be outfitted for war you must first strap on the belt of truth! I understand that the concept of absolute truth is uncomfortable but if there is no absolute truth, then all that is left is situational truth and personal truth (what is true for me is true for me only). The problem with that is that if you are not belted by absolute truth, then there is no fixed position, no secure standard, no line to hold on to. Absolute truth is truth whether we believe it or not. It is true whether we like it. No situation changes it. No cultural shift has any bearing on it. Truth is truth. Remember Paul has already identified who we are fighting. So, it is obvious to Paul that the starting place must be truth when we are defending ourselves against the master lie teller . . . history's greatest deceiver. His greatest weapon is deception so to withstand we have truth. Paul knows that we must be surrounded by truth as defined by our Father. If you don't wrap yourself with truth every day and set the standard firmly regarding what that truth is, then the rest of the armor will do you know good because the basis and foundation of the other pieces of the wardrobe are built on this one piece of armor. You can't cherry pick and believe you will be protected by a breastplate called righteousness . . . if you don't believe the truth of the entire book! You won't know or walk in peace if you don't first embrace the truth that leads to that peace.

A belt literally holds things up or holds things in place! Think about that for a second. It is embracing the TRUTH of Jesus that holds us up, holds us together, holds us in place! You are blown about by every wind of doctrine, every trend, every teaching because you haven't strapped on truth and allowed it to become the standard! Unless you embrace absolute truth you will be susceptible to what sounds or feels good. It isn't called the "Belt of Trend", the "Belt of What Feels Good", or the "Belt of My Truth!"

Let me try to illustrate for you the extreme importance of this piece of equipment and how the lack of truth is the basis for all failure in battle. Think back to the very first attack of our enemy. It is in the Garden of Eden. Remember what Satan does? He sees an opportunity. A weak moment and an opening. The law of first mentions says the first thing mentioned in always the most important. His very first attack is this "Did God really say?" What is he attacking? Truth! And because Eve wasn't secure in the truth of what God said, the enemy, by twisting the truth brings total destruction!

Some of you are being defeated simply because you don't know what God said or because you know what He said but you don't like it so you choose not to believe it. Without truth we will be deceived about the cause of our situation, the condition of our soul, or the consequences of our sins! Some of you just need to be belted!


Paul moves on and says we must put on the breastplate of righteousness. The breastplate was made up of small metal plates that started at the shoulder and came down the soldiers chest and attached to the belt. You missed it. It attached to the belt. You can't be protected by His righteousness if you haven't embraced the truth of that righteousness exchange that takes place between you and Jesus. The breastplate is all about protecting your heart. Our life flows out of our heart. Satan’s attacks on our heart is the attack on our righteousness through Christ. His attack on our righteousness make us vulnerable to the lie that we are not good enough. The truth is “Nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord”. The enemy attacks that fact and if we aren't wearing heart protection our heart becomes troubled. A troubled heart gives way to a troubled life. Solomon said above all else guard your heart! Again back to the first attack. The enemy attacks Eve's righteousness or rightness. You must need more life, more wisdom, more knowledge than what you currently have. You aren't good enough like you are even though you are presently in right relationship with your Father. That exposes our heart to defeat. We must come to the place where we know that our rightness is secured in our Redeemer.


Paul then addresses our footwear. The Roman soldier wore a sandal but it was designed to ensure steady footing. It was a think leather sole with brads or nails that protruded downward through the sole much like cleats today. This allowed the soldier to maneuver in every situation without fear of slipping or falling. Paul states that our ability to have a sure footing or steady footing is found in the gospel of peace! We certainly know that it is difficult to be steady when we are involved in disputes and broken relationships. Paul also tells us in another passage that whenever possible and with all effort be at peace with every man! Paul recognizes that our stability can be shaken if we are not living in peace. In other words, the enemy gets a foothold when we allow our feet to wander into division, arguments, battles that we have no need to be involved in.

Think about this . . . our foundation is peace and what carries the Gospel is peace. Maybe our methods and lives marked by anger, vitriol, harshness has been wrong all along! It is our peace that makes our message contagious. Another way to look at this is when a Roman soldier walked he left a mark or an indication of where he had been. Think about the mark an entire army would have left. They should know where we have been by the trail or mark of peace we leave behind. The enemy tries to destroy our peace so that we leave no mark. You may never get to introduce them to the Peace Speaker if you don't live like a peace keeper!