You’ve heard this admonishment before: “People, get ready!” If we are living in the last days of earth’s history with all that entails, how do we arm ourselves on a daily basis?
In thinking about that question, I’ve often thought about the tangible versus the intangible. What I mean is better explained by thinking about the notion of “readying ourselves,” i.e., participating in something deeper and more assertive than just hoping we’re in the right group when the Lord returns.
In bracing ourselves against the winds of an often wicked world, I invite you to think seriously about what it means to put on the armor of God.
I’ve always been intrigued by Ephesians 6:12, 13: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 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.”
This verse makes me think about preparing for battle—but not in the physical sense, of course. There is good and bad in this world, and the author of evil is always about the business of ensnaring us in the most deceitful, underhanded, and often unexpected ways. So the struggle we gear up against is most certainly a mental and spiritual one. But thankfully, the Word of God is a toolbox readily available to equip and fortify us.
If a pair of pants fit too loose, you don’t leave the house without a belt. That belt has to hold things in place or there will be a mild disaster ahead. The same is true when you think about truth. The truth is anchored in two places—our hearts and our minds. So we must know the truth, love it, and seek to make it the foundation of our lives. We cannot be moved to falsehood easily.
The Word of God is a toolbox readily available to equip and fortify us. We just have to know how to use it.
Think about a medieval battle: a big part of a knight’s armor was the breastplate. It covered parts of the body that could not be speared or pierced without the knight dying. The heart—the organ that keeps our body functions moving—is vulnerable, and thus it must be protected. Our tender hearts (in the spiritual sense) must be protected at all costs. Seeking the righteousness of Jesus Christ on a daily basis is the way to guard our hearts against sin. It is a daily discipline.
We can’t run a race without proper footwear. Many of us can’t even handle walking on a pebbly beach without something protecting our feet from jagged edges and uneven surfaces. For us to be fully prepared for a spiritual and mental battle, our footing must be sure. That footing is the peace of the Lord through the surety of the gospel. When we have that and allow that peace to wash over and bolster us, we can stand equipped and ready with confidence for whatever is to come.
So, we’ve got a belt and a breastplate on and solid footwear. What else do we need? Something that protects even those things but can also move with an attack no matter where it comes from. We need a shield, and that shield is faith in Jesus Christ. Not just faith, but unwavering faith. With such faith, the verse above says: “Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one” (NKJV).1 I like how the verse says “all” the fiery darts, not just some or the really big ones. Faith can conquer all.
While the heart pumps blood through our body and allows for our organs to function as they should, if the brain is compromised we are in serious trouble. One of Satan’s favorite targets is our minds. Confusion, distrust, depression, anger, doubt, etc., are all part of his arsenal to assault our thoughts and weaken us from within. Belief in the precious gift of salvation—belief that this gift is not anyone’s to take from us—is our protection against the devil’s mental onslaughts. Wear that helmet proudly.
The sword—a mighty weapon of both assault and defense—is the Word of God. Anyone can say what they want to us, but we know where to go to prove our faith—His Word. It is all there for us, free and clear. The truth (and with it the power to convict us) all lies in what He has said. Delve into your Bible to know and believe that what God says is true and can be proven.
Our one-on-one connection to the Savior is personal and powerful. Through prayer we talk to the Lord; we receive peace, direction, and comfort. For me, prayer ties all the pieces of God’s armor together because it is unswerving access to the Creator of the universe.
If the bad that is upon us now, or will be soon, causes any distress or anxiety, turn to Romans 8:38, 39. This scripture helps me remember that we do not struggle alone. “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (NLT).2
Every prayer breathed in strength or weakness is precious to the One who has always promised to hold us up and help us through.
So ready yourselves and bravely go forward.
Wilona Karimabadi is an assistant editor of Adventist Review.