For the last 6 weeks I have been looking at the armour of the Lord. Every time I look at another piece of armour God describes in Ephesians 6, He gives me opportunities to put it into practice. These pieces of armour are not stand-alone items, but are intrinsically linked by the Spirit of God, forged in His word, and given by His grace. As I was thinking about this, I remembered [Colossians 3:1-3]
“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
When Ephesians 6 tells us the armour of the Lord helps us to stand, it is not so we can stand in our own confidence. It is so we can stand knowing it is Christ who raises us up in His life. The armour God gives us helps us to remember that in any situation and at any time, our hope and our strength are found in Him.
The Helmet of Salvation which guards our mind in the influence of Christ’s love, the knowledge that He died once and for all to pay the price for man’s sin.
The Shield of Faith that causes us to extinguish attacks of the devil through declaration of God’s truth, our identity in Him, and our purpose in Him.
The Breastplate of Righteousness that gives our heart confidence in the enduring hope of God, that His righteousness can be our cloak.
Feet fitted with readiness to go wherever God calls in His peace and contentment.
The Belt of Truth that proves our foundation in the freedom of Christ.
Finally, we have the “…sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.” [Ephesians 6:17] Verse 18 goes on to describe what this looks like.
“… praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints..”
The sword protects in more than one way. Not only does it deflect blows from the enemy, it also pushes an offensive to drive him back. It is wielded with both prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and helps us to stay alert and on guard. Here are some ways in which we see the Sword of the Spirit at work.
The Spirit helps us to pray.
[Romans 8:24-26] – “For we are saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. Likewise the Spirit also helps us in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
Our hope is not seen right now, but is something we are looking towards. It is the coming of our King and our Lord, the full restoration of heaven and earth according to God’s perfect will. We are to persevere in waiting for it, and we do this when we pray. Even when we do not know what to pray, the Spirit in us helps us to pray. The Spirit is described in [Ephesians 1:14] as “…the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” It helps us know that we have an inheritance in Christ and a hope in Him that awaits eternity. It helps us to pray accordingly and with perseverance – “… through the Spirit eagerly wait[ing] for the hope of righteousness by faith.” [Galatians 5:5]
Supplication advances God’s kingdom.
[John 14:13] – “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”
[John 15:7] – “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”
Supplication results in God being glorified. When we abide in God and His Spirit is in us, our desires align with His. The Bible reiterates that supplication is to be made to for all people and authorities [1 Timothy 2:1-3], for all things without ceasing [2 Thessalonians 5:17], in any anxiety or request [Philippians 4:6]. When we do these, we are accountable to, and obedient to God, choosing to submit requests, anxieties and plans to Him. In supplication, we pray Lord, let “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” [Matthew 6:10].
Praying for one another will strengthen God’s church.
[Acts 2:42] – “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.”
The book of Acts demonstrates the strengthening power of prayer upon the church.
It encourages people.
[1 Thessalonians 2:4] – “We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, knowing, brethren, your election by God.”
It protects against temptation.
[Matthew 26:41] – “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
It maintains unity as we pray together.
[1 Corinthians 15:20] – “Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me, that I may be delivered from those in Judea who do not believe, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints.”
It contributes to the work of the gospel.
[Matthew 18:20] – “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
The word of God has the victory.
[2 Corinthians 2:14] – “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.”
God leads us to triumph. He leads us to victory. The word of God is the knowledge of who He is and He equips us with the sword of the Spirit, the word of God, that His Name would be known in every nation and in every place. The enemy has no hold on us, because the word of God breaks every chain. Discouragement dissipates in its glint of hope. The enemy runs away when the Sword of the Spirit is raised because he knows that God is here and that He has already won.
. . .
The armour of the Lord is His armour, given to us by grace, to wear and wield in faith and for His glory. We stand in the excellence of His power and the strength of His life. We have the Helmet of Salvation, the Shield of Faith, the Breastplate of Righteousness, feet fitted with readiness, the Belt of Truth and the Sword of the Spirit to help us to the stand. So let us remember that God is our strength, our hope and our salvation. Let us accept His armour; let us remain watchful until the end; let us stand with all prayer and perseverance awaiting the imminent arrival of our King, the Lord Jesus Christ.
[2 Corinthians 4:7-10] – “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed – always carrying about in the body of the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.”