If you’re anything like me, one of the first things you do in the morning is check your social media feeds. What you’ll normally see is: (1) a fight video, usually involving either children fighting each other, adults fighting each other, or adults fighting children; (2) horrific news and/or videos of yet another unarmed person of color shot and killed by a uniformed officer; (2) someone’s insensitive and/or racist comment about an unarmed person of color shot and killed by a uniformed officer; (3) the death of a beloved family member and/or celebrity; (4) tragic local news; (5) yet another article about Donald Trump.
Before you step one foot out of the bed, you’re outraged, heartbroken, anxious, depressed, and weary. And this does not even include the work-related stress you carry every day!
Please realize that the enemy is on the prowl 24/7 to “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10) you and he will begin that process the moment your eyes open to make you feel hopeless, overwhelmed, and fearful of and for the future. This makes you ripe for his attack, pushing you further into darkness and away from God.
STOP. RIGHT. NOW!
The fight with which we’re faced is one that is spiritual. Ephesians 6:12 states, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”. Since this battle is intensifying, then we must be equipped to ward off the enemy’s attack.
Our roadmap is provided in Ephesians. The very wording of the Word gives us hope: “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand” (Ephesians 6:13). The remaining five verses share what that “full armor” is and why getting suited up every day is imperative.
The Belt of Truth: “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist” (Ephesians 6:14): The enemy is the father of lies, and he is very good at it. He uses these lies to manipulate our feelings and cause us to question whether or not God truly cares. God balances those lies with His truth. After all, He is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6), and our relationship with him leads us to His truth, which is a life of hope within His love and peace. To begin your morning “with the belt of truth buckled around your waist” means you BELIEVE in the hope, love, and peace of God, not the enemy's lies.
The Breastplate of Righteousness: “Stand firm then…with the breastplate of righteousness in place” (Ephesians 6:14): God gives each of us a purpose that the enemy does not want us to fulfill. If he can distract us and make us discouraged, then he can change our focus. If he can change our focus, then he can make us believe that we won’t be able to accomplish the goal God has for us, and once we remove our hearts from our purpose, the purpose dies. This is why donning the breastplate of righteousness is so important. We must be faithful to what God has called us to do, pushing past the enemy's distractions by keeping our hearts covered and connected to God and His plan.
Feet Fitted with the Gospel of Peace: “feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15): Our connection with the Father gives us a peace that “surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7), but God cannot give His peace to anyone who does not want to embrace it. In order to have God’s peace, you must “seek peace and pursue it” (1 Peter 3:11), even when your spirit is anxious, when you’re overwhelmed, when someone betrays you, or when the enemy is trying to get inside your head. Fitting your feet with the Gospel of peace then becomes an intentional act that results in a deeper alignment with God.
The Shield of Faith: “In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16): We all know that faith is the “substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). We have no hope without faith, and this is what the enemy wants to take from us. We know those plots and schemes are coming, but God will keep the enemy’s darts from piercing and deflating our hope in his plans for our lives with the shield of faith. Faith that God will do what he says he will do. Faith that God will provide for us, will fight our battles, will open doors for us, expand our territory, and keep and protect us.
The Helmet of Salvation and the Sword of the Spirit: “Take the helmet of salvation ” (Ephesians 6:17): The enemy’s main goal is to get into your head and take your mind off what God has instructed you to do. His goal is to insert fear, doubt, and help you to reconnect with the person you were before you committed your life to Christ. The helmet of salvation helps you to block the enemy out, enabling you to keep your thoughts, words, and deeds aligned with Christ.
The Sword of the Spirit: “Take the…sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17): The Sword of the Spirit is one of the most important weapons because it is the word of God that stops the enemy in his tracks. Being able to combat his lies with the blinding truth of the word means you are operating in your power. This means you must read the word, you must study the word, and you must digest the word so you can use it when that time comes to protect yourself and your purpose from the enemy’s attack.
Prayer: “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” (Ephesians 6:18): Prayer is our constant connection with God. Through prayer we communicate with the Father, sharing our most secret thoughts. It’s also the sacred space where God shares with us His encouragement, reveals His plans for our lives, provides the roadmap for our journey, calms our fears, and reassures us that he will never leave nor forsake us. Prayer is how you must begin your day in order to avoid getting caught up in the enemy’s plots and schemes.
Getting suited up in the Armor of God is vital for us to be successful on our road toward what God has for us. In order to fulfill our purpose, we must equip ourselves for battle because the seeds God has planted in our bosom will produce life-changing fruit that will bring many to the Kingdom. We must remain vigilant, not allowing ourselves to be tossed to and fro (Ephesians 4:14) by the enemy’s schemes. We must remember we are sons and daughters of the King. We must remember our purpose and pursue it with all of our hearts, minds, and souls. And, in those moments when we are at our weakest, we must remember that we know the outcome. God wins.