So God was talking to me in church this morning, I almost called it a vision, but in that it wasn’t visual I’ll go with God was talking to me. How does God talk to me? Usually through thoughts implanted in my mind by His Spirit. How do I know they’re not my thoughts? You’ll just have to trust me there, I just know.
So what did he say? Well I’m glad you asked 🙂 He gave me some clarity on one of my underlying issues, in that I’m pretty sure it’s a common struggle I thought I should write about it here.
So here’s the premise, we are in battle, all of us, in a spiritual battle, whether you like it or not. While this is something I have been aware of for a while, it has been brought to the forefront of my consciousness recently. My men’s group are reading & studying from the John Eldrige book Wild at Heart. I’m a little behind on reading the book (surprise) but I have just finished the chapter “A Battle to Fight: The Enemy” & am about to start on “A Battle to Fight: The Strategy”. I suppose I could read that before I write this, but this is not about the book per say, that is just what brought the issue to my consciousness.
So what is the issue? The issue is the fear that the armor of God will not work.
What do I mean by that? It is the subconscious fear that somehow God will not protect you, that Jesus is not enough. The evidence of this fear becomes apparent when we are under attack, it is in our reaction. Is your initial reaction to bad news prayer? How do you process bad news? Do you believe that Jesus is both your healer & your protector?
If you’re like me, then the truthful response is inconsistent, it is dependent on where I am spiritually as to how I will react. When I am in a good place, I immediately turn to God, if I am not in that place, then I respond differently, sometimes with anger, or sometimes (historically more often than not) I cower, I admit & accept defeat & wait for the attack to pass.
It is like the scene in Batman Begins when a young Bruce Wayne falls down the well and all the bats come flying at him, he cowers waiting for them to pass. That incident scars him for years; it is not until he learns to conquer this fear by facing it that he is able to become Batman. Incidentally that scene leads to one of my all time favorite movie lines, “Why do we fall Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up”. That line is not necessarily relevant here, unless you transpose it to mean that the only way we can truly learn to pick ourselves up, is to extend our hand to Christ & allow him to pull us up.
As someone who was violently bullied for over 2 years at high school, I know what it is like to be physically attacked but not be able to respond. The fear is that a response will provoke an even worse attack, when you look at it in hindsight it seems ridiculous. Yet at the time the fear & pain is paralyzing & it seems to be the only choice.
The reactions can be very much the same in a spiritual attack. Sometimes when the enemy comes after you, you just hide, you shrink, you hope that he will go away. Over time it seems like he does, it seems like this was a safer easier way to deal with the attack. That is the trap, he wants you to believe that, that is how he wins and every little victory he gains over you like that is one more chain to bind you & hold you back.
Sometimes we respond correctly, we respond to the attack as a bold warrior of God, a knight in the Kings army, wearing the full armor of God, knowing that while the battle will not be easy, victory is assured. Other times, while we appear to be responding correctly, we respond hoping that Gods armor will hold, hoping that he will protect us. When I say hope, I am using it in the 21st century version of the word hope, which is really more a wish. My pastor teaches a very different hope, biblical hope is confident expectation, not a wish. It is absolute certainty of what is going to happen.
Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:2-5)
So technically, we should put on God’s armor in the hope that it will protect us, so long as we are using hope correctly (confident & assured expectation). So what is it about the armor of God, that gives us concern when facing the enemy in battle? Well let’s have a look at it.
Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)
The Armor of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 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. 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. 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. 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. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
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.
You see the thing is, we are looking at this:
You write about what you know, even in Paul’s day. What they knew was that the biggest badest military force on earth was the Romans So we have a picture of God’s protection in the battle as basically some tin & a sword. That’s fine if we picture the battle in roman or medieval times, but we live in the cyber age. It seems to me like the enemy is coming at us with a 50 cal & nukes & we have to fight back with some tin & a sword.
This of course is not true, the odds are heavily stacked in our favor, victory is assured, regardless of the need for the battle to happen, it’s just a matter of seeing that. So I propose a different view of the armor of God, a 21st century sci-fi videogame view (hey it’s my blog). From today on, I am going to choose to view the armor of God more as the Nano-Suit from the Crysis series of video games than roman armor.
Nanosuits are powerful and extremely versatile sets of tactical combat armor designed to counter the enemy threat and circumvent the technological margin between Humanity and the enemy. The suit’s CryFibril (Artificial muscle fibers) can be programmed for a variety of purposes (Such as hardening to absorb more damage, muscle augmentation, or invisibility), leading to drastically enhanced combat and physical performance, allowing the operator to execute super-human feats.
So join me & don the:
Nano-suit of salvation,
Radar of faith,
EMP of truth
Cloaking device of the gospel of peace (peace),
Phaser Gun of the spirit/word of God, and the
Super strength mode of righteousness
Now that’s more like it, and don’t worry about the nukes, God has defenses in places for that that make the patriot SAM systems look like water pistols.
Be blessed in the battle my friends, remember we serve a good King, the author of love. Even though the rain falls of the just & the unjust He is with us through it all. Jesus does not call us to live comfortable lives, but to grow to be more like him, even through the inevitable growing pains. God does not bring suffering, but he will use it for sanctification, he will use your suffering to make you more like Christ. It is when he is healing you that you start to get a glimpse of how truly & deeply he loves you.