Raising Up Warriors
The Bible is clear - we are conquerors in Christ. Romans 8:37 says, “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.” But we live like we have been conquered by ADHD, by fear, by anxiety, by depression, by COVID-19. Friends, Jesus already won the war for our souls, but battles still rage around us because we have a mortal enemy who would love nothing more than to strip us of the weapons God has given us and keep others from turning to Him. He knows wreaking havoc in our families is the fastest, most effective way to disarm us.
The Bible is also clear that the battles begin in our minds. And God loves us so much His Word is full of instructions about how to fight against Satan. Take Philippians 4:8 for instance. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Or Romans 12 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
But there is one passage that stands out when it comes to fighting the battles in our minds. Ephesians 6:14-18 says: “Stand firm therefore, having belted your waist with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having strapped on your feet the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With every prayer and request, pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be alert with all perseverance and every request for all the saints,”
I believe Paul is highlighting 7 weapons (The 7 Pieces of the Armor of God and How to Use Them #) for us and they are all weapons of the mind. Let’s take a closer look at each one.
Truth - A Roman soldier's belt didn’t just hold up his clothing, it was a large metal and leather belt holding together all of his defensive gear and keeping his sword at the ready. Imagine a belt made of thin cloth and rope. The sword would get tangled up and the soldier’s armor bounce all around, or be easily sliced off. Similarly, our belts must be made of the truth of God’s Word or they will not withstand the rigors of battle.
Righteousness - The breastplate was what protected the soldier’s heart and vital organs from oncoming attacks. We are righteous because of the sacrifice and example of Jesus on our behalf. His forgiveness protects us from the enemy’s attacks. Christ’s righteousness is the perfect defense against shame.
Gospel of peace - Footwear is essential for any physical activity, and being a soldier is no different. The Roman soldier had spike clad sandals which enveloped his feet and calves in thick leather, protecting his stance and keeping him firmly planted on the ground. The gospel - the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection - is our footwear, firmly planting our feet in the message that undoes any of the damaging messages of the evil one.
Faith - A warrior’s shield, crafted of dense wood, metal and leather, and preemptively soaked in water, was equipped to withstand flaming arrows, swords, and other weapons of the enemy. But the soldier had to practice until holding up his shield became a reflex for it to be most effective. Thoughts of doubt are the flaming arrows Satan shoots at us and faith is our defense. Faith is a choice to believe that God’s promises to us are true and we must practice this choice everyday so that it is reflexive. When doubtful thoughts come, we must be quick to extinguish them.
Salvation - We all know what a helmet is - it protects the warrior’s head from the outside. Scripture tells us that when we confess Jesus to be our savior, we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit, who is described as the Counselor, the Comforter, or the Instructor. He protects our heads from the inside, reminding us of the truth of God’s salvation. The really neat thing about our spiritual helmet, is we don’t need to do anything except listen to Him!
God’s Word - Both the written Word and the incarnate Word (Jesus) are weapons of attack against the enemy. But we must know how to wield these weapons. A warrior spends time studying, learning, practicing, and memorizing his skills with his weapons. He seeks out training from experts, he dedicates time to memorizing strategies and movements. We must also dedicate time and energy to knowing Jesus and memorizing Scripture for this weapon to be effective.
Prayer - Prayer may possibly be the most mysterious weapon we are given. Paul doesn’t even compare it to a part of the Roman soldier’s weaponry or armor. Perhaps there wasn’t a contemporary equivalent, but I envision it a bit like a king’s banner. Psalm 60:4 says, “You have given a banner to those who fear You, That it may be displayed because of the truth.” This banner is what identified the location of the king in a battle. When the army needed to regroup, they looked for their king’s banner and there they would find rest and protection and instruction. Isn’t that just what happens when we go to our God in prayer?
This is hard. It takes a lifetime to get this right, and even then God will still need to complete the work as we enter into His glory. ADHD is not an excuse. But it does mean we have to work harder. The same is true of any other disorder, disability, shortcoming, or weakness. Are you ready to live like a conqueror?
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The 7 Pieces of the Armor of God and How to Use Them. Connect Us, 2019. Connect Us Fund, https://connectusfund.org/7-pieces-of-the-armor-of-god. Accessed 3 2 2021.