“You have a target on your back!” These are the words spoken to me by my youngest child. “Don’t forget,” he said, “That the enemy’s goal is to steal, kill, and destroy. And he’d love nothing better to destroy you and the rest of this family after dad’s death. Don’t let him win.”
Well, the enemy was doing a really good job of destroying my hope, my faith, my joy.
So, since my husband passed away, I’ve discovered that the enemy will settle for nothing less than to destroy my hope and ability to live an abundant life. He does this by speaking lies to my mind and heart every day. Every. Day. I remember the heavy weight of grief keeping me in my bed, head under the covers. There were a few days I couldn’t see past the pain of the moment. I couldn’t believe that there was anything worth living for. The pain was just too great. I’m so thankful that God, my God, is so very near to the brokenhearted. That’s what Psalm 34:18 promises. Because in that moment, His Spirit swept in that room and saved me from myself. He kept me from going under. It’s true - the enemy would have reveled in destroying my life after Brian’s death. He would have enjoyed taking away any opportunity for this tragedy to be a story of redemption - one that actually was a tool used to bring hope to the hopeless, and maybe even draw someone nearer to God. Unfortunately for Satan, I’ve discovered some things that protect me from his tactics to take me down. One of them is putting on the whole Armor of God that is described in Ephesians 6, 11 through 17. It is a game changer!!! Nothing can stand against or penetrate this Armor. It’s supernatural. Before introducing this Armor of God, the Apostle Paul says, “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.” He’s saying You can be strong. You have the strength of God’s might. And this is how you appropriate it - by putting on the whole Armor of God.
You know, this reminds me of a story I heard about an older woman who froze to death in her apartment one brutally cold winter. When she was found, they discovered her electricity was cut off and she didn’t have appropriate clothing on for the winter, or heavy blankets to warm her. She was wearing worn out clothes and socks with holes in them. When her family settled her estate, they found out that she had more than a million dollars in her bank account. Yet, they always remembered that she never seemed to have enough food in the pantry, and sometimes would have her electricity shut off because she wasn’t paying the bills. The problem wasn’t that she didn’t have enough money to buy food, pay her electricity bill, or get new clothes. The problem was that she didn’t withdraw the money that she had - that was hers - in order to live and thrive. She had money but she didn’t appropriate it. And it killed her.
And just like this woman, we have something that is set up for us - but this is something supernatural. And again, like the Apostle Paul said, it is our strength and our might. And all we have to do it appropriate it! He says that taking up the Armor of God will enable us to withstand in the evil day. Hey, I don’t know if you’ve ever felt it, but that day that I was in the darkest hole of my life, the dark night of the soul, some call it, I knew it was an evil day. A day planned by the enemy himself. But with the strength and might of the Armor of God, we are told we can stand firm against the schemes of the devil. We are told it is powerful and effective. So why, friends, are we not regularly appropriating it? Why aren’t we making a big fat withdrawal from this supernatural bank? Sometimes we can’t understand the power or something until we’ve experienced it. I get that. We’re humans forged with brains that look for the logical and reasonable to guide us. But backing up to verse 12 in Ephesians 6, we are told that we are not wrestling against flesh and blood - that our struggle, our fight, our battle is with spiritual forces of evil we cannot see. Therefore, our weapons must be spiritual in order to be effective. So maybe you already know this, and that’s so great. But my question for all of us would be, do you put on the armor after you’ve already on the battlefield? Is that what our nation’s military does? Wait until the war has already begun and they’re standing on the battlefield - then they pick up their armor and put it on? No, obviously. So, why do we - usually - wait to put our armor on after the battle has already begun? What do you think the outcome would be if we put on our armor first before we ever stepped onto the battlefield? For example, what if I have fortified myself before I let the words of the enemy barrage and overtake my mind? What might have been different about that day? So, yes, I’m saying we must put on this armor every day. Every. Day. Before the enemy tries to attack us. The Word clearly says that he has schemes of evil against us, to destroy us, to devour us.
So, what would that look like then? Well, following the guidelines of Ephesians 6, this is what I pray:
I put on the Helmet of Salvation that I received through the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ, Yeshua. The helmet guards and protects my mind. I have the mind of Christ. It is sound, keen, and stable; open for knowledge, understanding, wisdom, and discernment. God guards my mind through my salvation. My mind is not a playing ground for the devil. He has no rights or authority here.
I put on the Breastplate of Righteousness. It covers and protects all my vital organs, but particularly it guards my heart. My heart is attended to by God through the righteousness I received when I became a child of God.
I put on the Belt of Truth. And The truth is that God, Yahweh, Jehovah, is the One true God. He is Triune in nature: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He reigns over all of Heaven and all of earth. He is in control of all things; Sovereign, mighty, able to keep me safe and secure in my salvation. And this God is my Father, the One who cares so tenderly for me. He’s the perfect, flawless Father, and because of this he must care for me so perfectly!!
I put on the Shoes of Peace. The peace these Shoes possess allow me to travel this road that is full of sharp rocks, shards of glass, shifting sand, and uneven ground. They allow me to walk much further on this journey than I otherwise could. These Shoes also give me traction in order to run away from anything or anyone that tries to harm me along the road, as well as traction to stand my ground and fight if necessary. These Shoes are shoes of peace. They allow me, as I’m walking this journey - this journey to healing, to hope - to share the same with others. They cover my Achilles heel, the place of my weakness - the sin that so easily entangles me.
I raise up my Shield of Faith, which covers me head to toe, side to side. All around, I am protected from the fiery darts of the enemy because of my faith in Christ Jesus. I am safe in this Shield, and as in an invisible cloak I am hidden.
I take up my Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God; a two-edged sword designed for close combat with the enemy. It is made for defense when he flings his nasty lies at me, and for attack when he encroaches on my territory. My Sword is an effective and deadly weapon.
And then I end by declaring that I am protected by the Armor of God, and no weapon or scheme of the devil shall prosper against me.
Whew, friend, did you feel that power? I did, just saying it here today. That’s because there’s supernatural power in it - a power that is not of the human element - but of the Spirit. God’s Spirit. By stating this, out loud I might add, all of the spiritual forces in the heavenly places are put on notice. Declare this, friend, and let the enemy know, “You may have set a target on my back, and you may want to take me down and render me ineffective, but I have a weapon greater than anything you could ever come at me with, and that is the Armor of the One True God.”
Okay, who’s ready to take a big fat withdrawal of all that’s laying up for you today and appropriate the strength and might that God says is yours in His Spirit. I know I am. Friend, Let’s do this.