Standing unafraid in the presence of God is not for weaklings. If my strength of character is diminished by the parasitic losses of sin or acquired weaknesses of any kind, I am unfit for the full armor of God. If I spend my energies in fearful defenses against my accusers, my strength is not available for the work of God. If my mind is always occupied with worldly fears and concerns, it is not prepared to speak the word of God or even to know His will for me.
This is often our predicament, is it not? From those sublime moments of inspiring worship or study, and prayers of deep devotion we quickly turn again to the burdens of our heart that demand our full attention. Instead of the cross of Jesus, we reload with a great cargo of oppression. Our spirits groan a familiar dirge. We turn inward to nurse our tender spirits that are constantly stressed and chafed by guilty knowledge of our sins.
But wait, Dear Child of God, your sins have been forgiven. Did you already forget? Your sins are being forgiven while you live in Him. You know that.
Do you, as do I, forget so quickly? Why is that, do you suppose? Do you love and crave that guilty pressure? Or is it a self-destructive habit? Believe me, the enemy of Jesus Christ is a denier of your forgiveness and salvation. He is a tenacious tormenter that does not relent. He is a schemer and a liar, but he lies so convincingly that your faith is shaken.
You and I need the strength of God to withstand the wily schemes of the devil. In fact, no other strength can withstand him. Do you believe you need such strength? You know you do, but do you feel that deep desire, that hunger for the confident assurance the Lord bestows upon his faithful followers?
Let’s begin with that armor of God that the Apostle Paul prescribed in Ephesians 6:10-18. Keep in mind the contextual circumstances of his epistle, as well as the perpetual and eternal circumstances that pertain to us in our time here and in the world to come.
Paul said, “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power, put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” The full armor is necessary. The pieces you like will not suffice because the wiles of the devil are constantly shifting to attack your weaknesses.
Paul goes on to describe a fearsome panoply of enemies whom the children of God face, not just flesh and blood, but rulers, authorities, powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. All that’s enough to be afraid of, isn’t it? No wonder we hide behind our guilty weakness and declare ourselves unworthy, for that is what we do if we refuse to accept the purity of our reborn spirits.
So, put it on! Put on the full armor of God, so that you may be able to stand on the day when evil comes. Put it on now, because evil can and does come for you every day! Put it on and stand your ground. Trust in the Lord to make you able. Trust in the Lord to justify you and gird you with a wide belt, the truth of His word. Let His beskar breastplate cover your heart. Let the gospel put wings on your feet and let faith be your shield against the slings and arrows of the enemy that would dishearten and defeat you. Finally, take up the sword of God’s word and pray in the Spirit of God living in you. Be alert and aware of all the saints serving God with you so that you may render assistance in word and in deed.
May God bless you richly in these hard times, may he strengthen you and lift your spirit to serve Him! In Jesus’ name, Amen!