The Armour of God #4
ARMOUR: “The kind of clothing worn by Disciples whose tailor and designer is God Himself”
An outfit that passed God’s quality control “QC mark” – You have the mark.
Pro Karen Pine researched how a person’s attire affects confidence. She found students were more assured when wearing a Superman T-Shirt, and women performed worse in a maths test when donning a swimsuit.
They say this and other research appears in her new book Mind What You Wear. She concludes that the right or wrong clothes can affect your attitude.
Without being aware of being fully dressed in the full Armour of God – It will affect your confidence, your boldness and your resistance of the enemy.
Have you ever shown up somewhere wearing the wrong thing?
Maybe a friend told you it was fancy dress and it wasn’t.
There’s a correct dress code for everything – you don’t go hunting dressed in a Tuxedo.
You don’t go to the beach dressed the same as when you go to battle.
Here in Ephesians 6 Paul is giving us the dress code for battle.
I just want to clarify something – we’re not trying to defeat the enemy, he’s already been defeated at Calvary, we’re just standing our ground.
Ephesians 6:11 “Put on all of God’s armour, so that you will be able to stand firm against all the strategies of the devil.” NLT
Another translations says, so that you’ll be able to resist.
James 4:7 Resist the enemy and he will flee.
You don’t have to fight him or battle him, all you’ve got to do is resist him.
So how do we resist the devil?
Ephesians 6:13 “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. (The shoes of peace NLT)
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.” NIV
*Not “if” but “when”
We’ve covered two of the pieces of armour – the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness.
The next one is the shoes of peace.
Let’s look at the shoes of peace.
Ephesians 6:15 “For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. NLT
One thing that’s really important about peace it’s our responsibility, we’ve got to hold on to our peace.
Remember how Moses told the people in Exodus 14:14 “The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” NKJV
There will always be something trying to take your peace.
It may be problems
It may be people …….or people are the problem
It may be pressure …..at work or at home
It may be politics ….family politics or the country
The enemy is going to use whatever he can to take your shoes of peace because without your shoes you can’t do effective battle….
You can have a sword, you can have a shield, but if you don’t have shoes you’re not going stand firm and be sure footed. (In war they take off the shoes of the prisoners.)
I want us to look at three main areas that we need to have peace;
Peace with God, Peace with others, Peace with self.
The bible gives us The Great Commandment (Not a suggestion!!) in Matthew 22:37-39 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind …….. love your neighbour as you love yourself.
If the enemy can take any one of those, he’s taken your shoes of peace.
Think about a time where you really didn’t have peace in yourself or with yourself, you were just miserable, life was just plain unpleasant.
Think about the time when you didn’t have peace with God.
Maybe you weren’t serving God at that stage and you’d put your head on your pillow at night and you knew if you don’t wake up the next morning you’d be in serious in trouble!!!!
If a truck skipped a traffic light and you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, you would be in the wrong place for eternity.
If you’re sitting here tonight or listening to this podcast and you’ve never surrendered your life to God, you’ve never become born again, I want to say to you, God wants to forgive your sin and give you the assurance that when you die you’re going to heaven.
He wants you to have that peace.
Jesus said, I am the resurrection and the life, anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. John 11:25
The only thing you can do to avoid hell is to make peace with God, to surrender your life to God.
Philippians 4:7 “His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” NLT
The only way to have that peace is to live in Christ – to be born again.
If you don’t have peace with God, you don’t have the shoes of peace, and the enemy is going to keep you fearful and unhappy.
What about peace with others?
That’s the big problem isn’t it!
Once Jesus made a statement the messed with the minds of His listeners.
Luke 6:27 But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
29 If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic.
30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.
31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
I know many think, that’s crazy, I can’t imagine anyone doing that!!!
Yes, exactly, that’s what the enemy will whisper in your ear…… he says;
That’s crazy!! Nobody will do that!!
You’ve got to realize that the enemy is a liar and he is going to tell you the opposite of what Jesus is telling you.
Jesus says, you want to have peace with people, take the high road.
Taking the high road means: doing the right thing even if you don’t feel like it, even if others aren’t doing it, even if it’s difficult.
The low road is dropping to their level and seeking revenge.
Jesus says; take the high road.
The enemy says, That’s crazy, nobody does that!!
32 If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them.
33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that.
34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full.
Notice how He’s uses the word ‘sinners’.
He’s saying even the unsaved, even sinners do good and help and love those who love them, that’s easy, but you are different, and I want you to treat people differently, I want you to take the high road.
How? Then He tells us in v35;
35 Love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
Jesus is saying;
I want you to be kind to the ungrateful, that person who never even says thank you.
I want you to go the extra mile for the difficult people in your life.
I want you to forgive that person who hurt you.
I want you to take the high road.
Again the devil is whispering; are you crazy, nobody does that!
Do you see what’s happening? There’s this battling going on.
Jesus says; Love your enemy, take the high road.
The devil’s saying; That will be the day!!
He’s trying to take your shoes of peace.
If you don’t have peace with people, you don’t have shoes of peace.
Maybe this sounds very easy to you because you don’t have any difficult people in your life at the moment……well bless you!!
But for most of us here we have at least one person who’s taking our peace.
Maybe that person is in this building……sitting next to you.
If you’ve ever had to deal with difficult people you’ll know that there’s always something that we wish they would change;
If they would be a little bit more considerate,
If they would be a little less bossy or less opinionated,
If they would be less critical, less demanding less judgmental.
If they would just make a little bit of an effort, they would change, they would be much better people, and everyone would just love them.
The bad news is, you can’t change them, you can only change yourself.
But there is something that may trigger change in them ……. when you start changing
My change may trigger their change.
When I start treating them better, there’s a good chance they’ll start treating me better.
When I start being more positive toward them and encouraging them, there’s a good chance they’ll be more positive about me.
Proverbs 15:4 Gentle words bring life and health…
It’s amazing what a few gentle words can do, One of the easiest ways to win an enemy is through kindness, words of encouragement.
Peace with God, peace with others and peace with ourselves.
If the enemy can take any one of those, he’s taken your shoes of peace.
Which one is yours? Identify the one where you need to get your peace back.
So let’s look at the last one –
Peace with self.
Have you ever attended a party or a wedding or a work function where there were people you didn’t really like or people you didn’t really get along with?
What happens when you attend something like that?
It’s a looooong evening, isn’t it!
In the same way when you don’t like yourself but you’ve got to live with yourself – it’s not just a long evening, it’s a long life, because everywhere you go there you are.
You wake up in the morning and there you are.
You go into the bathroom and look into the mirror and there you are again!
Think about it, you never get away from yourself, not even for a second.
The most important relationship you have is your relationship with God.
Then your relationship with yourself, because out of that will flow your relationship with others.
Matthew 22:37-39 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all our soul, and all our mind. …….. and love your neighbour as yourself.
If you don’t love yourself you’re going to battle to love others.
If you don’t have peace with yourself you’re going to battle to have peace in your home, in your marriage, at work.
How you feel about yourself will affect every area of your life.
Think about that for a moment ……
How do you feel about yourself?
How do you see yourself?
How do you think others see you?
For some people, when they think of themselves their first thoughts are negative and even critical –
I’m not as smart as so and so,
I’m not as good looking or as popular or as talented as so and so.
I’ve found it’s just as easy to be positive about myself as it is to be negative and critical about myself.
I’m not saying that we can’t examine ourselves from time to time and say; Man I shouldn’t have said that, I shouldn’t have treated that person that way, or I could have done better there.
We can most certainly learn from our mistakes, it makes us stronger and more rounded individuals, but we don’t have to get stuck on our failures and our mistakes and get into a habit of being negative about ourselves.
Maybe you’re still mad at yourself about something that you did years ago, and you’ve asked God a 100 times to forgive you.
He forgave you the first time you asked…… it’s time to forgive yourself.
The apostle Paul says in Philippians 3:13 I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead…..
It doesn’t matter what you’ve been through, no matter what people or the devil have said about you, it hasn’t changed your value.
You are so valuable that God gave heavens’ best for you.
God never created us to be against ourselves.
He never created us to have a bad image of ourselves or to run ourselves down ……. that’s the enemy’s job.
The bible tells us that God loves us and that He has great plans for our lives, to bless and to prosper us.
Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
But the enemy has the opposite in mind,
he wants to limit your life,
he wants to stunt your spiritual growth,
he wants to minimize your influence and your success.
The way he does it is not by having a taxi run you over or a heart attack, it’s by taking your shoes of peace – your peace with God or with others or with yourself.
Paul says to us, remember you’ve got an enemy who wants to take you out. The way to stand against him is by putting on your belt of truth, your breastplate of righteousness, and your shoes of peace…..you’re going to need your shoes of peace ……..hold your peace.
Exodus 14:14 – “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Philippians 4:6-7 – 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.