ARMOUR OF GOD – Introduction
For the last couple of weeks we’ve looked at the ‘Fruit of Spirit’ from Galatians 5, a wonderful picture of the kind of life that we have been invited to live. It includes characteristics such as joy, peace and patience, which we all need right now!
So far we have spoken about what these characteristics are, and how to pursue them. What we haven’t spoken much about is the reality that there is opposition to living this flourishing and fruitful life!
In Galatians five the source of that opposition is called ‘the flesh’:
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.”Galatians 5: 16-17
It turns out that there is more than one form of opposition in living a Christian life, there are in fact, three sources of opposition (Ephesians 6:1-3):
- The World
- The Flesh
- The Devil
‘The World’ refers to worldview, or the secular culture that surrounds us. It’s what Jesus had in mind with the parable of the sower, where he described the seed sown into thorny ground. Whilst the seed took root and started to grow and bear fruit:
“…the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.”Mark 4:19
‘The World’ is a powerful source of opposition in living a fruitful Christian life!
‘The Flesh’ refers to our human nature, or our inner inclination to do evil. Paul describes this opposition so clearly in Romans 7:
“I do not do the thing I want, I do the thing I hate…for I know that nothing good dwells in me…For I have the desire to do what is right but not the ability to carry it out.”Romans 7:15-19
Then there is ‘The Devil’. The devil is an intelligent, powerful spirit-being that is thoroughly evil and is directly involved in perpetrating evil. He is diabolically opposed to God and His Kingdom, and anyone living in it or about to come in!
As dangerous as this source of opposition is, it doesn’t mean that we should be afraid! Remember Easter Sunday:
“He (Jesus) disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.”Colossians 2:15
This ‘triumph’ applies to those who have faith in Jesus and who are part of His kingdom. Remember what Jesus said to the disciples as he commissioned them for ministry:
“I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”Luke 10:19-20
Note: we are not to deny the reality of the devil, and we are not to underestimate him. But we are also not to give him glory! He is thoroughly defeated and we only talk about him the way scripture does, without letting our imaginations run wild and unwittingly giving him more airtime (fame!) than he is due!
What this all boils down to is that while we do not need to be afraid, we do need to be aware. Because the devil is a real form of opposition, and his opposition comes in many ways.
That’s the context of the passage we’ll be studying for the next ten days or so. It is how to be aware of, and therefore be able to stand against, the opposition that comes from the devil:
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 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 firm.”Ephesians 6:10-13