Peninsula Community Church
Ephesians – Dressed for Success: Wearing the Whole Armor of God
May 10, 2015
Ephesians 6:13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
I have entitled this message “Dressed for Success, Wearing the Whole Armor of God.” This may seem like a strange Mother’s Day message, but I hope you see where I am going with this before too long. Scientific studies have shown time and again that what one wears effects their attitude, how they respond to life, and how they respond to those around them. One study completed a number of years ago showed that one’s attitude about life and their personal concept of self is changed depending on the clothes they wear. For example, people were asked to wear white lab coats who normally did not wear such coats. What they found is that the subjects who wore the lab coats tended to speak more intelligently, carry themselves more professionally, and act as if they had something important to do. The only difference was what they wore. Spiritually, dressing for success in this world by wearing the whole armor of God is critical because it sets us apart and it positions us for greatness in the kingdom of God.
As we look at this passage this morning, let me, by way of reminder, review what we looked at last week as we focus our thoughts particularly on moms, today. First, as we noted last week, we must realize and moms today, specifically, must realize we have an enemy. He is a real foe and he has a real desire to take us out. As a mom, he desires to neutralize your role as a mother, a wife, and whatever other roles you may serve.
Secondly, we must remember that the battle we face is not against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces. These forces include but are not limited to mindsets about motherhood, thoughts that hinder our growth, reminders of our failures, regrets about decisions, missed opportunities, forgotten dreams and so on and so on. The enemy is good at reminding us of what we have done wrong and where we have failed. These schemes present a real and present danger, if we do not counter them with the whole armor of God.
Thirdly, Paul in our text, today, challenges us in verse 11 to take up the whole armor of God and in verse 13 to put on the whole armor of God. When we leave the house, none of us would leave half dressed, or at least any sane person would not do so. What Paul is saying is that we need to put all of the armor on before we begin our day. To forget to do so, sets us up for an unnecessary assault from the enemy. You see just wearing one part of the armor is insufficient to sustain the attacks of the enemy and it diminishes our ability to be victorious over his schemes.
The first thing to notice about the armor of God is that it is God’s armor which He has supplied for our use. As many of you know, I have joined the Selbyville Fire Department. I finally went on my first call with them on Tuesday. I must admit, I answered the call in part because I was curious about the call, as it was the house fire across the street from where we live. When I arrived at the station, my first assignment was to dress for the fire. I put on my gear before I got on the truck. I had on my boots, I had on the fire suit. I had my the helmet and gloves with me in case I was needed to pull a hose or help carry anything to assist the firefighters who where fighting the blaze. Without the suit, I would be setting myself up for injury. The second idea presented in this illustration was that I was assigned a set of gear by the fire department. It is not my gear, it belongs to the Selbyville Fire Department, but I have the privilege of using it. In fact, it is mandatory for me to be dressed for action when we respond to a fire or car accident. We too need to realize that the armor of God has been given to us by God for our use against the enemy. But unfortunately, the armor of God has been too underutilized to have any effect in our lives.
The second thing about the armor is that it has to be put on. God has given it to us but, we must utilize it for it to be effective. The armor does not do us any good unless we put it on. The fire suit would not help me if it were still at the fire station or on the truck. By the way, the way Paul words this means that putting on the armor of God is a choice we make. The armor does not just appear on us. We are not somehow magically clothed but the command is to take up and put on the armor. We must choose to be clothed in the armor God has provided. We can also choose not to be clothed, but we will suffer the consequences if we make such a choice.
So why is it necessary to put on the armor. To be honest, it is necessary because it is a matter of life and death spiritually. One of the things we learned last week is that the enemy loves to create an atmosphere where we are weakened and we begin to believe the lies that he has spoken to us. He also uses his schemes to attack us in other ways. Without the armor of God, we are more prone to an attack than without it. Let me give you some examples.
First of all, we are more prone to attack when we are tired. This is why I believe that after we are dressed for battle, Paul states that we are to stand firm. When we are tired, we can make bad choices and we can respond negatively to things that would not usually bother us. It is when we are tired that our minds often run amok. We begin to believe things and feel things that are not true. When we are tired, upset, or exasperated we are more easily offended. It is for that reason we must put on the helmet of salvation and the belt of truth. On a side note, sometimes the best spiritual warfare we can do is take a nap.
Second, we are prone to attack when we are alone or we experience loneliness. Note that we can be in a crowd and still feel lonely. The enemy loves to isolate us and separate us so that we feel alone. The enemy knows that we are more vulnerable when we are alone or the feeling of loneliness comes over us. In the wild, the predator knows that it must isolate its prey to kill it. Our enemy also loves to isolate us. So, when you are walking through a difficult season be careful and do not isolate yourself. The fact is we need each other. In this regard, remember that we are a part of an army of believers who make up God’s army.
Third, we are more prone to attack when our expectations have not been met. When this occurs, we can begin to feel that we are a failure and that we or the people in our life are not what they ought to be. The problem is that we begin to try harder and worker harder to be a success or to solve problems. It is not wrong to have expectations, but there is a problem when we allow unmet expectations to control how we respond to others and how we react to circumstances in our life. It is here that Paul commands us to have our feet shod with the gospel of peace. One aspect of peace is contentment. When we serve God and dress for success, we will live in contentment and we will have our hearts filled with gratitude.
Fourth, we are prone to attacks when we begin to compare ourselves to others. The fact is we will always find someone who is more beautiful, skinnier, more popular, more intelligent, richer, who have better kids, someone with a better husband and so on. If allowed, this will cause us to be ungrateful and to lack a heart of thanksgiving. We must understand that each of us are a creation of God. We have been formed and shaped in His image. I can guarantee you that many of those you compare your self too are also comparing themselves to others, as well. And if the truth be known, they are not as great as you think they are. For this reason, we put on the breastplate of righteousness that protects our heart and how we feel about ourselves.
Fifth, we are prone to own the lies and half-truths the enemy presents us. As we said last week, we believe the lies that we are not good enough or smart enough. We believe that God does not love us. We believe that we are not a good parent, a good spouse, or a good friend. We beat ourselves up without merit, but we must take these thoughts captive to the glory of God. That is why we put on the helmet of salvation and the belt of truth so that our thought life will be surrendered to God and that the basis of our decisions and our emotions are in truth and not half-truths or falsehoods.
Paul in 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 had this to say. For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. So how does the armor of God play a role in all of this? To be dressed for spiritual success means that we are clothed with the armor of God which is truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, the word of God and the power of prayer. How powerful are these tools? They are mighty and powerful. They have the ability to counteract the forces that are at play against us. Rather than being neutralized, we in turn neutralize the effects of the enemy’s tactics, schemes and plans he has against us.
When we wear the whole armor of God, we can be assured that no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD and their vindication from me, declares the LORD” (Isaiah 54:17). But remember, it is our choice to be dressed for success. So today, take up and put on the whole armor of God and dress for success. It is worth it.
For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/media.php?pageID=14
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