Matt from Life Remixed has written a nice post on the Spiritual Armour mentioned in Ephesians 6. I have read and been taught some interesting practices about putting the Spiritual Armour on. There was a time when every morning I myself would go through the motions of putting on the imaginary sandals, wrapping an imaginary belt of truth around my waist, putting on the breastplate of righteousness, donning the helmet of salvation, hoisting up the two edged sword of the Holy Spirit and holding onto the shield of faith. Once prayed on, I would believe that I was armed and ready for battle.
Sigh. I hang my head in shame, looking back, where I once did such practices. For the armour of God is our lifestyle. Do we walk the walk? Do we live a life of truth? Do we accept Christ is our righteousness? Do we take an active part in taking our thoughts captive and making them obedient to God’s ways. Do we shield ourselves in the knowledge that God is for us and not against us? And do we fight the battles of life in the way God calls us to, and not the way the world expects us to?
The truth of the matter is that walking the walk isn’t always easy. Allowing love to cover a multitude of sins can be the hardest thing of all to do. But, lucky for us, we have Christ as an example to aspire to. And no matter how hard we try, we fail again and again. And Christ beckons us to pick ourselves up off the floor and come follow him once more. Paul tells us the real fight isn’t amongst ourselves. Rather its against the spiritual forces we are called to take our stand.
We are called to stand against our pride – which is ever so deceptive. Our self righteousness is what destroys relationships. Lack of intimacy and trust preventing true friendship. Thoughtless actions and reactions causing conflicts. And a spirit of self interest raises up over and above that of true community.
How then are we to survive such a conflict? For the battle that rages within our inner being is hard enough as it is, without adding to the equation; the lives of each other. Our perceptions of self and others are distorted by our experiences of self and each other. The motives of others are questioned, without a thought to our own. Often times, hurts builds on hurts, without us realising it. And hurting people hurt people. Wounded people wound people. How hopeless and hard it can appear at times.
Yet, not all is doom and gloom. Out of the ashes of despair, in Christ conflicts will be resolved. And this is the call we have to don the armour of Christ. Paul knew fully that in Christ all were accepted as family. The enmity of race, social class, age and gender was destroyed once and for all. And this is the spiritual battle that we fight against. The natural man fights for his survival. The spiritual man fights for unity of the spirit, which is shown forth through the keeping of the peace between the brethren. A unity of which, the enemy is constantly out to destroy.
And all so often, in the midst of our failures, heartache and pain, all we can do is beat our chests, hang our heads in shame and cry out to God. God forgive me, for I am a sinner, in need of your grace.