• sibyllezion

Spiritual Resilience: The Armor of God. Part 1: The Belt of Truth.




"10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
11 Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the forces of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
13 Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you will be able to stand your ground and, having done all, to stand.
14 Stand firm, then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, the breastplate of righteousness in place
15 And your feet with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
16 Moreover, take the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and supplications. With this in mind, be watchful and keep praying for all the Lord's people. ( Ephesians 6:10 ff NIV)"





My dear friends,


The Bible passage I have chosen is one that every single Christian knows inside and out. I remember sitting on a wall with a fellow believer many years ago. He was very conservative, he came from a Brethren church , I was very charismatic. We liked each other - somehow. We argued with each other. We often disagreed, but we were connected. He asked me how I interpreted Ephesians 6. And I began to declare in euphoria and what you might call exuberance," I put on the belt of truth in the name of Jesus! I put on the shoes of the Gospel and the breastplate of righteousness..." - That's as far as I got.


"What nonsense!" my acquaintance grumbled. "If you don't understand what you are putting on, you might as well not". I laugh at the memory of it. We Germans may be a terribly rude people, but somehow we are also heartbreakingly authentic.


Today, some 17 years and a long walk with Jesus later, I agree with him completely.

We need to understand what we are doing.


In fact, declaring is of no use unless it is the symbolic remembering of something we have understood in its depth. And I find it hard to imagine that Paul sat in his cell in the morning and declared the armor. No, he used an analogy to equip us, and we want to see piece by piece what the armor actually says, what it's supposed to do, what it's supposed to do to us.


We're all admonished all the time to take the Bible literally. I'm a bigger fan of taking Jesus at his word. I'm a fan of believing that his word should-and will-have a direct impact on our lives. I'm a big fan of believing that God's Word has practical implications for our real lives, that it is provable.


"Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."

The armor of God is apparently so good that we can stand against anything the devil tries to set against us. He cannot accuse, condemn or discredit us. He can very well hit us, hurt us, attack us. But he cannot bring us down.


Attacks from the other side have the goal of making you untrustworthy.


To make you look bad. To accuse you of lying and to condemn you. It is about devaluing and discouraging you; about holding you down and oppressing you, in short: depriving you and making you ridiculous. The attacks of the evil one are meant to shake your trust in God and - wherever possible - to make sure that you do not walk in love and truth at all.


Nowadays, in the charismatic scene, all disasters, every missing parking space, every delayed or canceled trip, every missing job offer, every illness and every financial loss are considered satanic. "God would never do that".


Oh yes. He would, friends.


We currently live in the country. Actually, we are in a small, somewhat remote place. Restlessly we wait for God's "let's go." But the situation with Covid is far from over. Many have gone on vacation - for us it is not possible this year already for financial reasons, as much as we long for a change. Yesterday, after looking at the crisis areas, we talked about the additional burden of Covid. The Delta variant is spreading rapidly, incidences in all neighboring European countries are rising, increasing tenfold daily, and this rushed, unrestrained vacation consumerism gives the impression of a brief respite before we all go back into hiding. Thoughtfully, my husband said, "Maybe it's by design, Bille. If we'd had money now, I'm sure we would have gone. But now look at the numbers. Who knows what would have happened to us. And if only our child had been infected, because then we would have gone on without symptoms. No one wants to see their child sick for a long time. Maybe he is just preserving us. We have the garden, there is enough distance, we can barbecue and be together. We are in a safe place where there are no cases." (2021)



This impression was reinforced by the current flood disaster:


My husband had a job offer at a school in Hagen. We prayed a lot, wondering if maybe it was just our own resistance and unwillingness to move there. But the more we prayed, the clearer the "no" became. So my husband canceled, regardless of the fact that we desperately needed a permanent teaching position for him for life.


Hagen had been hit hard by the floods, and of course so had the school. We would have been there. Right in the middle of it. Sometimes we are prevented from doing something, struck by something that kills in the first moment and preserves in the second.


Take God at his word. "God is my safe fortress". Well- then He also makes you run against invisible walls to protect you.


What aspects are mentioned in the armor?


"Stand firm, then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist".

First, Truth.


Truth, of course, includes God's word. Jesus is the truth.

Everything he embodied and represented in the Bible, his actions, his words, his way of behaving, his power, his love, everything he established, everything he gave up for his life and resurrection.


But truth is also the statement to stay with the truth - every day. Not to pretend, not to sugarcoat, not to overplay. "Oh, I don't feel like dealing with this. She wants me to help her, but I don't feel like it. So I say with a smile, "Yeah, yeah, how great! I'll do that!" -but then it just doesn't work out. Then she's not hurt and I don't have to do it. " That's a white lie.


So when I put on the belt of truth, I commit to being real and authentic. Not to lie to secure my advantage. Not to be hypocritical. Not to try to hide. I make myself and my actions transparent to others - and choose to abide in Jesus.


The Armor of God, especially when it comes to the gospel part- is often understood - and eagerly carried out - as nothing more than a mandate of faith and mission, with shoes taking on the quality of seven-league boots!


I don't know if you who are reading this post are familiar with the movie "Saved," but I was lying on the sofa laughing at one scene and yet shaking my head: An overzealous, proselytizing, well-behaved, conformist, somewhat - shall we say - shallow girl slams a Bible down on another's head and yells, "Read your Bible!!!" The reason the scene is both funny and dramatically sad is that we all know this form of proselytizing.


"Hey, you don't know her, girl! You don't care about her, you only care about your own validation of saving a lost soul! What do you care about her? Apparently she's not worth it to you to engage in conversation and just listen to her first. To get to know her. To explain to her what Jesus is to you so she can think about it. To apply His word by telling her she is valuable without adding, "As it is written in/at."


The point is this:

The more we are convinced that what we believe is true, the more it will be reflected in our being, in our actions, in our words. It will shape us - even without having to constantly refer to the Bible.


There are many passages in the Bible that I now bring into conversations as my own attitude in free words - and I am totally amazed at how often I then hear from non-Christians, "Yes, of course you're right. That's true!"


If God's Word is the truth, then we don't have to explain it or water it down.


Then we can rest easy knowing that everyone recognizes that truth as such. "If we all took a step back and cared about each other, the world would be a better place. We were simply made for community, not solitude" (the new commandment) "After all, we all have a longing to stand free on a rock and drop our packs" ( 1 Peter 5:7)


The answer you get to such statements: It is always, "Yes, that is true." The Bible, you know, is fundamentally true.


Giving advice based on biblical truth works just as flawlessly: "Well, if you've messed this up, then I understand that you have guilt. Can you fix this? I would do it as soon as possible, otherwise the feeling will get bigger and bigger. Oh, you don't have the option? This is indeed a mess. Until you can fix that, it's hard to let it go."


Reference:


{"Whose fault you forgive, it is forgiven. Whose fault you do not forgive, it is not forgiven. (John 20:23). "'In your anger do not sin'[3]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, (Ephesians 4:26)"}


Much of what we find in the Bible unfolds its blessings only in practical application.

There, where we put it on like a second skin. We act on it, trust it, embody it. When we begin to see the armor of God in this way and ask Jesus to lead us deeper and deeper into this understanding - to tailor it to us, we are resilient in every single point on a spiritual level.


You can already see that the armor is interlocking.


Not reciting the Word of God in everyday situations as fundamental truth, but letting it become your own attitude, is the application of the sword.


Speaking to non-Christians in this way with pastoral or perhaps just friendly attention prepares the ground for and embodies the gospel. The phrase, "Well, everything you've acknowledged to be true so far is the truth that's in the Bible." has an explosive power, an invasive power without equal. But to do this, we must understand what we are teaching, living and believing - through the Holy Spirit.


In the next article, we will continue with the breastplate of righteousness.


We will then talk about justice and righteousness. Think about it if you want. Take out your Bible and read the scriptures about righteousness. I'll do the same and we'll see where that leads and what the Holy Spirit shows us.


See: Declaring is done as quickly as grabbing a Subway sandwich on the run. But taking that Bible passage, thinking about it, internalizing it, and living by it-that will make you someone in whom the Holy Spirit dwells, with living water that will flow abundantly from you. As God promised. Take him ... At His Word.


And never forget as it is written in Corinthians 13: Truth without love is nothing. Or, as psychology says: truth without love is hardness. And that is not what we are called to be.


Be blessed in the name of Jesus, who is great and really knows you. And take care of yourself. The next time you run into a wall, ask God why. It is much more likely that He has His good reasons than that Satan has so much power that he is allowed to constantly torment the children of Almighty God. May his love dwell in your heart, may you walk in the mind of Christ, may you feel nourished, sheltered and deeply seen.


With love,


Sibylle.