Everyday we run the mental checklist:
- Shoes tied? Check.
- Hair combed? Check.
- Sunglasses? Check.
- Wallet? Check.
- Keys? Check.
- Smartphone? Check.
- Armor of God? Armor of God?!
In 1975 American Express ran a popular advertisement for their traveler’s checks. The tag line was, “Don’t leave home without them.” I think that is the mindset God wants us to adopt when it comes to his armor. Paul writes,
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 6:10-20ESV
Have you heard the sad story of the Chicago police officer? A few years ago, two officers were shot. One was wearing his bullet proof vest. He survived. The other officer was off duty when he confronted a gun-toting vandal who was tampering with his neighbor’s car. The vandal's bullet found the officer's heart. That officer is now resting in the Rosehill cemetery.
Commenting on the rise of shootings in Chicago and the absolute necessity for wearing bullet-proof vests, the police chief asked a penetrating question:
I wonder if Paul felt the same way as he cataloged God’s armor.
Call me "out my mind," but most days I don’t even think about the armor of God. Don’t get me wrong. I read the Bible. I pray. That said, do I daily and deliberately put on the armor of God piece-by-piece?
No, I don’t.
I guarantee you that I won't forget to grab my wallet when I leave the house. My cell phone will definitely be with me when I run out the door. But that armor of God, well that's a different story.
I don’t think I’m alone here.
You may not consider yourself at war today, but you are. You are “boots on the ground” in a battle that is sinister and deadly. Your enemy is dangerous. He is stronger than you. He is smarter than you. Oh, and he’s invisible too. That is why God's word is simple: "You better put on your armor."
Notice all the verbs he uses to emphasize our responsibility:
- Put on on the whole armor.
- Take up the whole armor.
- Fasten on the belt of truth.
- Put on the breastplate of righteousness.
- Put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
- Take up the shield of faith.
- Take the helmet of salvation.
- Take the sword of the Spirit.
Like the police officer, you have the "bullet-proof vest." God has given you all the armor you need, but it won't do you any good hanging in your closet. You have to put it on.