Do I really "put on" the armor of God? Do I buckle my belt, pull my breastplate over my head, slide into my sandals, put on my helmet, and pick up my shield and my sword? Of course not. The armor is not something I wear outside my body. God is using this language to help me live with the internal fortitude and power that are mine in Christ.
In his book, Practicing Resurrection, Eugene Peterson relates G.K. Chesterton's observation that Christians are either crustaceans or vertebrates. "Crustaceans have their skeletons on the outside; vertebrates have their skeletons on the inside . . . The armor of God is the embodiment, the internalization of the life of the Trinity -- truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, word of God -- Christ in us, the hope of glory."
As you read the Word of God today, think of the armor God has given you. How does that change your approach to your day?
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. Stand therefore having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. Ephesians 6:10-20 ESV
God has given you the armor because you have entered the war. As Peterson notes,
The six military metaphors -- belt, breastplate, shoes, shield, helmet, sword -- sharpen the sense of danger, heighten the the apocalyptic urgency involved in the battle between light and darkness, God and the Evil One. This is serious war, war in heaven. The hosts of Yahweh and every last 'Christian soldier' are called into battle. The metaphors make sure that we never for a moment forget that it is a battle, requiring full participation.
While this is "your battle" it is God's armor. It is who you are and what you have in Christ -- truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, the word of God -- that enables you to win the war.
God loves you. Christ is in you. The Holy Spirit empowers you. This is your armor for today's battle. So be humble (it is not your strength that matters) and be bold (you are wearing the very armor of God).
Quotes and the idea for today's post came from Eugene Peterson, Practice Resurrection: A Conversation On Growing Up In Christ. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. 2010. Page 263.