Thursday, June 18, 2009

Putting on the spiritual armor (Part 2)

In Part 1 I suggested that the apostle Paul may have intended the image of the spiritual armor primarily as a memory aid to help us remember six important spiritual weapons in our warfare against the enemy: truth, righteousness, proclamation of the gospel, faith, salvation, and the word of God. In fact, immediately following, in Eph. 6, 18, he lists a seventh weapon: continual prayer in the Spirit. This is reminiscent of other biblical lists like the one in Prov. 6,16-18 or Prov. 30, 15-16. According to Zondervan's NIV Bible Commentary, such literary devices are known as "numerical ladders," which are quite common in Hebrew literature; they are meant to tell us that the present enumeration does not exhaust the list. In my opinion the apostle Paul, who was a Hebrew scholar per excellence, uses such a literary device here to tell us, among other things, that the list of our spiritual weapons is not confined to those seven, although they are extremely important.

Once we get our emphasis off the parts of the armor and onto the weapons themselves, we can see that they are not all defensive, as it usually suggested. In fact, some of them are very powerful in making inroads into the kingdom of darkness.

Let us take a brief look at the first of these weapons: Truth.
I don't think it's a coincidence that Paul mentions this weapon first. It's fundamental in our fight against the enemy. Jesus called the devil the "father of lies." (John 8:44) Everything in Satan's kingdom is built on lies. What is deception but believing a lie? And what breaks through deception faster than the truth? In fact, Scripture identifies both Jesus and the Word of God with Truth. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life..." (Jn 14:6), and also, "Your word is truth" (Jn 17:17). Whenever we are speaking the truth, we are siding with the kingdom of God, and whenever we are lying, we are giving Satan room in our lives. It's the truth that brings down strongholds and sets us free (John 8:12). That doesn't sound very defensive to me!

Time doesn't allow me to continue today, but I would like to encourage you to begin to meditate on what I'm sharing. Ask the Lord to show you more. Seek Him for how it applies in your life as a spiritual weapon. The more you meditate about the truth, seek the Lord about it, and then apply it to your life, the more it will benefit you.

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