13 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
In the first installment of our series we discussed “How We Search,” then in part 2 we pursued a spiritual “Awakening.” After that we set out in part 3 to become spiritually “Aware.” These first 3 installments combine with this, number 4, to create a foundation for us to think about and discuss our spirituality.
This fourth one, on becoming spiritually “Active”, seeks to set our minds to exert spiritual power in our daily lives. While we won’t exactly become Harry or Hermione, the level of power God desires to exert in our lives will be real and greater.
While some may be uncomfortable talking about exerting spiritual power in our daily lives, we cannot ignore Ephesians 6:13, which makes it clear that “the day of evil” will come, and in order for us to stand our ground, we must put on “the full armor of God.”
Putting on this armor is spiritual activity, which means we are exerting spiritual power with each piece of armor we add. Too many people see and experience this armor humanistically, which is why their lives lack spiritual power.
For instance, we can read Ephesians 5:14 dutifully as our need to tell the truth, be righteous, and tell others about the gospel of peace. Reading this passage with a mindset to be spiritually “active” is different. It suggests having the faith that something spiritual even magical happens when we obey this Scripture.
14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.Ephesians 6:14-15
Spiritually active people believe they are driving darkness out of their lives when they are truthful with God in prayer and people in conversation. They approach every prayer and conversation with the awareness that truth will bring God’s power to bear on whatever the focus of their prayer or conversation might be.
This same mindset carries over to righteousness being the breastplate that not only protects our hearts, but allows God to move more powerfully in our hearts. Righteousness, or keeping our relationship with God clear of sin, allows Him to give us insight into Scripture, circumstances, and people. It unlocks the heart for the Spirit to flow without limit (John 16:15 Voice).
Perhaps most interesting is the idea of having our “feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” This means when we become spiritually aware of someone in need of God or good, we are ready to serve them. Interestingly enough, this is our spiritual offense.
Serving others by doing good or helping them know God is how we go on the offensive in our fight against the darkness, which means that time-worn idea of evangelism is more than a duty; it is the way we drive back the forces of darkness in our lives.
Once we see the armor of God as our means to exert spiritual power, then we realize we can stop the “flaming arrows” of temptation, discouragement, or evil disruption in our lives.
16 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 can fight the negative and destructive thoughts in our minds with faith, which increases our mental and emotional resistance to the discouragements sent from the forces of darkness, intent to make us quit.
Instead of giving up, we put on the “helmet of salvation” to remind us of the unseen power of God, which He promises to exert as He rescues us time and time again.
17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.Ephesians 6:17 (NIV)
With secure confidence in the saving power of God, we tightly grip the “sword of the Spirit”, which is God’s Word, and then march forward in our fight to rescue others from the darkness.
Finally, having embraced the full armor of God, our prayers will become more powerful since God has unlimited access to our lives. We can go to work on changing the world through our prayer lives, exerting spiritual power and creating spiritual activity that changes things for God and for good.
18 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 (NIV)
There is so much more to be said about experiencing a spiritual awakening, becoming spiritually aware and active, but beginning today each one of us can start where we are and change things. We can fight for the light and keep the darkness from rising.
The following questions are meant to help us gauge our level of comfort with and conviction about becoming people who allow God to exert his spiritual power in our lives:
- Do you feel uncomfortable or comfortable with the idea of exerting spiritual power in your life? Why? Why not? (Ephesians 6:13)
- We can apply the armor of God either “humanistically” or “spiritually”. In being completely honest with yourself, which one best describes you? What can you learn about yourself from this answer as well as your answer to question number 1?
- There are multiple pieces of armor mentioned in Ephesians 6:13-17. Which ones do you use? Are there any of which you do not believe in? Are there any you find more or less difficult to apply?
- How can you become more spiritual in your application of the armor of God? How can you see it as the exertion of God’s power in your life?