Summary: The real meaning of putting on the whole armour of God and what we as believers need to be doing.
The Christian’s Armour
The story has been told of a mental hospital that many years ago came up with an unusual test to determine when their patients were ready to go back into the world. They brought the patient who was ready for release into a room where a water faucet was left on so that the sink overflowed and was pouring water all over the floor. Then they handed the patient a mop and told them to mop up the water. If the patient had enough sense to turn off the faucet before mopping up the water, they were ready to be released. But if, as in the case of many, the patient started mopping while the water was still flowing over the sink, they kept that patient for more treatment.
As Christians, all of us face the world in which we live and are confronted with the need to do battle with the evil that dominates it. But, like the patients in the mental hospital, until we realize where the source of that evil is, we will not make any real contributions to its defeat. To see less evil in the world means that we must conquer the evil that pouring from our own heart, this happened when we undergo a true conversion. Then, to deal with the evil around us, we need a “mop, ” which is the spiritual armor that God has provided for us.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”
By a graphic figure the apostle Paul shows that the Christian’s life is lived on the battlefield, for we are not only pilgrims but soldiers; we are not only in a foreign country, but in the enemy’s land. Although as a Christian we have been redeemed by the Lord so that our life can be free and full, yet between the moments of our conversion until the final full sanctification of our souls, there is a terrible and drawn out conflict through which we have to pass. This is not a figure of speech, but a grim reality. Though salvation is free, yet it is not obtained without great effort. The fight to which God calls us to is one in which Christians receive many sore wounds, and thousands of those who claim to be Christians are slain. In our Scripture of the day Paul warns us that the conflict has to do with more than human foes; the enemies we have to meet are superhuman ones, and therefore in order to fight successfully against them we need supernatural strength. So let us get the idea out of our mind that we can stomp on the devil’s head…that with our human strength we can defeat him. If that we the case we not have any need for God’s armor. So remember that our fight is spiritual and not physical.
We must remember that the Christian belongs to the spiritual realm as well as the natural, and so we have spiritual as well as natural enemies; hence we need spiritual strength as well as physical. Therefore we have started our Scripture of the day with verse 10, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.”
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:5
So for us to “be strong,” to gather up enough strength for the conflicts that are ahead of us, we need to “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.” This tells us that we need to go to the only source from which we can obtain it to combat the spiritual forces that want to drag us down. Please note, it is not “be strong from the Lord,” nor is it “be strengthened by the Lord.” No, it is “be strong in the Lord.” And if I may use an example: just as a thumb that is amputated from the hand is useless, and just as a branch cut off from the vine withers, so will be our fate when our fellowship with the Lord has been broken, we are in a strength less, fruitless, and useless state. Thus, “be strong in the Lord” means, first of all, see to it that we maintain a live practical relationship to and remain in constant communion with the Lord. If we fail to keep this communion through prayer and the study of His Word we will not have any strength for the conflict. A soldier needs strength of the body; he also needs courage, and that is what is in view here in verse 10 when we are told to “be strong”: in faith, in hope, in wisdom, in patience, in fortitude, in every Christian grace. To be strong in grace is to be weak in sin. So we need to have our strength and courage renewed daily. Seek His strength at the beginning of every day.