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. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
To be honest, I’ve never been really fond of this set of verses.
It’s not that I disagree with them. We certainly need everything listed here. I think the problem is the list. I’m just not a “list” kind of guy. If a go into a store and I need more than two things, I have to write them down. God has blessed me with the (often times annoying) ability to remember and store in my brain all kinds of facts and trivia. At times, I even lapse into Cliff Clavinism. (If this reference is lost on you, suffice it to say that is has been said that I am the type of guy who, when asked what time it is, will tell you how to build a watch—quite possibly with tidbits thrown in on the history of the watch.)
So, although I like having Bible verses committed to memory, the whole “list” thing is just one of the things my brain does not do well. (See also “math.”)
For some reason, I was thinking about these verses the other day and they reminded me of another mention of armor in the Bible.
1 Samuel 17:
Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. “I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.
So, David saunters off into battle against the giant Goliath with no armor, a sling, and five stones. This was not lost on Goliath, who is recorded as saying,
“He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.
But David was not without armor at all! No, David had on the full armor of God.
David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”
David stands firmly and calls God “LORD Almighty” as he fastens on the belt of truth. He righteously points out that Goliath has defied God, as he puts the breastplate of righteousness in place. He shods his feet with the readiness and peace of knowing the LORD will hand Goliath over to him. Oh, and David’s shield of faith was immense when he told Goliath he would not only strike him down, but cut off his head! David says that the LORD’s salvation is not by sword or spear as he takes the helmet of salvation. And, when David says the battle is the LORD’s and all the world will know that there is a God in Israel, his words bear a remarkable similarity to the very words God spoke when he told Moses what He would do to the army of Pharaoh in Exodus 14. So, David also had the sword of the Spirit in the Word of God.
The thing is, had David trusted in all the heavy armor Saul had given him, he might not even have been able to sling the small, smooth stone that dropped Goliath to the ground.
So we don’t have to weigh ourselves down with massive chunks of bronze and iron. God’s armor is weightless and invisible. The truth, the righteousness, the peace, the faith, the salvation, and the Word all lift us up and equip us for battle far more effectively than anything made by human hands.
And now, when I look at that list I find Jesus saying He is the truth, He makes us righteous through His atoning sacrifice, He brings the peace that passes all understanding in the gospel, He models the highest faith possible, He paid for our salvation with His death on the cross, and He is the Word made flesh.
Is there a Goliath in your life? Have you been battling your giant with the visible or the invisible? If it’s also hard for you to memorize lists, can you find the full armor of God embodied in the person of Jesus Christ?
Colossians 1:16 (KJV)
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: