Previously in this series we have looked at:
- Lesson 1: we are not fighting for victory; we are fighting from victory. The battle has been won, Christ is victorious. But Satan is still around.
- Lesson 2: God is in control – he has Satan on a leash. And it’s a zappy one.
- Lesson 3: We are at war with Satan because we said “Yes” to Christ. When we identify as God’s and, more importantly, God identifies us as His, we represent Him and are fair game in the war.
- Lesson 4: We are the battle ground. Satan’s number is not 666, its 365. 365 days a year he stands before God and accuses the believers.
- Lesson 5: God knows and trusts us – God knows our limits and trusts us to hold–to stand–in battle; to consistently choose Him IS the battle.
- When we become Christian’s
- We get a new identity and
- We go through “basic training”,
- Our new identity – In Christ – is both our offence and defence.
- Through our basic training we are prepared for battle and equipped for the war.
- Our Lord leads us gently, teaching and revealing Himself to us.
- We learned He does not leave us stranded, defenceless or without hope.
Today we’re looking at part one of our defence in the battle.
When I say defence. What’s the first thing that comes to mind? It might be that joke, why couldn’t the soldier build de wall? They spent all their money on de fence. But, this very bad joke does kind of help us understand what we’re talking about today. That which stands between us and the enemy. De fence.
I have said that when we say yes to Christ, we receive a new identity, “in Him/Christ”. But we are also immediately equipped with armour. This is our defence in the battle—that which stands between us and the enemy.
But, before we get comfortable in our armour, we need to look at how it operates and how can we ensure it is most effective.
Before we have peace with God, we are opposed like like-poles of a magnet… an earth magnet. It is impossible to bring them together. But, when we receive the righteousness of Christ, and his gift of salvation, we have reconciliation with God; the poles are reversed on the magnet and we are so tight with God, the line that separates us is not only invisible, it is unbreakable.
And that’s just like the armour we wear—unbreakable. You see, the most important fact to note when looking at our armour—our defence in Spiritual warfare—is that it is God’s armour. Not ours.
How do we put it on?
The bible tells us that there is only one way we can say, “Jesus is Lord,” and that is by the Holy Spirit. When He enters us, he removes the scales from our eyes and we can see God for who He really is, the world for what it truly is, and ourselves in our wretched reality—separated like those magnets with the like-poles.
But this is when Christ comes and offers us a clean slate, a fresh start, and reconciliation with Him. If we say yes, the Holy Spirit begins performing his miracle of transformation. He moves fully into us, enabling us to then step into Christ. Here is where we find our new Identity—in Him.
We are now in Christ, we are now wearing God’s armour, because
Christ is the armour of God.
What do we do now?
We heard in the reading today, how as a teenager, David decided it would be a good idea to take on the giant Goliath. If he had gone out in his own armour, that is, his own identity – teenager shepherd boy—he would have been trounced in a heartbeat.
If he had gone out in Saul’s armour, that is, hidden behind Saul’s identity — trembling King of the Jews, he would have been turned into a tin can, then trounced in a heartbeat.
But he chose to go out in God’s armour, that is, encased in God’s identity — victorious warrior God. And David trounced Goliath in a heartbeat.
In God’s armour, David was God’s representative in the battle. God fought the battle, gave David the victory, and David gave God the glory.
It is no different for us. We too represent God in the battle. We too wear his armour for His glory.
How do we fight?
Like all warfare there are two main tactics. Offense and Defence. In Spiritual warfare there are internal warfare when we use offence, and external warfare where we utilise defensive tactics. This is what we’re looking at today.
On the battlefield we come under enemy fire and find ourselves in situations, suffering consequences and undergoing afflictions for reasons completely outside our control—the attack comes to us and we need to defend ourselves. Whoever or whatever is behind these situations, Satan uses them to tempt us to step out of our armour.
To do this he uses four main tactics to achieve his goal to recreate distance between us and God—put us back in our own identity where we suffer defeat. Today we’re looking at the first two.
Guilt – Breastplate
Guilt is powerful weapon. We know Satan is called the “Father of lies”. But, when he talks to us about ourselves, he actually tells the truth. Holding a mirror up he uses it to remind us of our shame and accuses us, pointing out everything we have done wrong then whispers in our ear. “For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God” and “The wages of sin is death”.
Which is true, but only the first part of the story. Because we don’t stand before God clothed in our righteousness, we stand God’s armour—in Christ’s perfect righteousness.
When Paul taught about Spiritual armour, he started with the Breastplate. He called it the Breastplate of Righteousness.
Righteousness is a relationship word. Putting it plainly, we could say righteousness is right relationship. Is God righteous towards us? Yes. 100%. Are we righteous before him? Well, at times. But definitely not 100%.
Analogies are great. But they work best when they’re relevant. So, since we no longer settle disputes with sword fighting, can we for a moment, replace the breastplate and insert a parachute, and call it a parachute of righteousness (Also useful for saving lives).
Whilst none of us would know what it is to pick up a sword to defend our lives. We have all, at least witnessed, people parachuting. If you invited me to jump out of a plane with my parachute of righteousness. I’ll tell you here and now, I’m not even going to the airport. Yes, I’ve got a holey—parachute, as holey as a fishing net.
Like you, I am not 100% Righteous 100% of the time and I am not about to defend by life before God, under Satan’s accusations wearing my holy parachute of righteousness.
But the good news is when we are wearing God’s armour that is, In Christ, we are wearing God’s righteousness when we jump out of the plane, or march into battle, or stand in the storm and the war rages around us.
When Satan accuses us and reminds us of our sin, we can remind him to finish reading the book. To read part two where we “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
That is who we were. That is not who we are.
When we say yes to Christ, we are not joining the battle, we are merely changing sides in the war. No longer an enemy of God, we come into the cross hairs of Satan. From the beginning Satan’s plan has been to create distance between God and His beloved children. What?
Through Christ, the Father has not only brought reconciliation, through the power of the Holy Spirit, he has ensured our protection and victory in the battle by providing us with unbreakable, impenetrable armour—His Son.
If we choose to stay In Christ, we are choosing to stay in the armour of God. So that, when Satan comes at us with shame and accusation, we stand in God’s righteousness—His right relationship with us. That is who I was, that is not who I am!
This is how we defend ourselves when Satan uses these two weapons against us. Next time we will look at the other two weapons he uses and how we defend against those.