Last October I posted a blog about spiritual warfare called “Armor of God – Part 1.” Satan will look for any opportunity to separate us from God and inflict misery on our lives. Spiritual Warfare is real. I hope this blog series can help you learn how to recognize and guard yourself against spiritual attacks. In Ephesians 6:10-17, Paul uses the imagery of a Roman soldier’s armor to demonstrate how to protect yourself from spiritual attack. In the same way, your climbing gear can remind you to dress for battle against the enemy.
Finally, 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. 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. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. – Ephesians 6:10-17
Climbing Harness – The Belt of Truth
“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist”
A Roman soldier’s belt was the central part of his uniform, keeping the rest of his armor in place. Similarly, a climber’s harness is the central part of her climbing armor. When you climb, your harness holds the end of the rope, which keeps you secure and prevents you from falling to the ground. The harness also holds the rest of your battle gear, such as quickdraws, cams, slings and rappel device. These items ensure you have what you need to climb safely and successfully. Like the belt of truth, your harness holds everything else in place. Let your harness remind you to make truth a central part of your life both in actions and thoughts. Paul reminds us that truth must be central in our lives for our faith, perspective and hope to remain strong. The Bible tells us Satan is the father of lies. If we do not live a life based on the truth of our word and the truth of who God is, the rest of our armor will not remain in place.
You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. – John 8:44
A commitment to truth goes beyond mere words and actions. Truth is also essential in our perception of our circumstances. I went through a season where I allowed the past to cloud the way I perceived my husband’s view of me. I believed I was inadequate and a disappointment. As a result, the father of lies took a foothold in my thoughts. I pulled away and a seed of bitterness started to grow. After a lot of prayer, and tears, I shared with my husband how I was feeling. As we spoke truth into our marriage, I began viewing our relationship through clear lenses. Lenses that revealed how much my husband unconditionally loved and cherished me. I walked away from that experience realizing I still had areas from my past that needed to be laid at the feet of Jesus. How can we view our circumstances based on truth? The only way is to settle our identity in Christ, stand on His Word and on who He says we are. That comes by letting go of our past, giving our hurts to Christ and resting in the truth of His promises. When we do this, we begin to see our circumstances through the Spirit and the truth of who we are in Christ.
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. – Ephesians 1:13-14
Personal Anchor System – Breastplate of Righteousness
“with the breastplate of righteousness in place”
The Roman soldier’s breastplate covered his body from neck to the waist. Its primary purpose was to protect vital organs, particularly the heart. The breastplate protected the soldier from certain death in the event of an attack. Whether it is cleaning a top rope anchor, multi-pitch climbing, or setting up a rappel, a Personal Anchor System (PAS) is as essential to a rock climber as the breastplate is to a soldier. A PAS protects me when I must untie from the rope, leaving me vulnerable to a fall. My PAS reminds me to anchor my heart in righteousness and faith. Just as with the breastplate, doing so protects my heart and my life. The dictionary defines righteousness as, “the quality of being morally correct and justifiable.” In a world where morality is relative and contrary to Biblical teaching, this concept can be confusing. What society considers moral and just may not align with God’s standards. Thankfully, God provided an instruction manual for righteous living. His standards, laws and commands are laid out for us in the Bible. Righteousness simply means to do what is right in the eyes of God. As we study God’s word and apply it to our lives, righteousness and living a life of obedience becomes second nature. Without it, we are separated from God, leaving ourselves vulnerable to death.
My tongue shall speak of Your word, for all Your commandments are righteousness. – Psalm 119:172
Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. – 1 Corinthians 15:34a
When we sin, it means we are living contrary to His commands. Sin is acting in disobedience. It separates us from God and leaves our heart vulnerable to the lies and accusations of Satan. As a result, we drive a wedge between us and God. Continued disobedience widens the distance, leaving our heart unprotected and vulnerable to attack and death.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil. – Proverbs 4:23 – 27
What does it feel like to live righteously? The best way I can describe righteous living is one word, peace. When we walk obediently, in union with the Holy Spirit, there is a peace that fills our hearts, even in the most trying of circumstances. With this kind of peace comes rest and a unique kind of joy that can only come through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:7
When I reflect on the topic of obedience and guarding my heart, I realize that I am the most vulnerable to sin when I am lacking in my prayer life. I tend to get busy, distracted and lazy. If I am not purposeful in carving out time for regular devotions and prayer, my heart is weakened and susceptible to attack. However, if I spend time in prayer, meditation and studying His Word, my heart’s connection to the Holy Spirit strengthens. As my bond deepens with Christ my spirit is more in unity with God’s will for my life. The more I walk in His designed path for me, the less vulnerable I become. In order to keep my faith strong and avoid separation from God, I must always remain anchored in His word.
I love how Paul gives us visual reminders of how we can protect ourselves from Spiritual attack. I hope that in the future you will remember your harness of truth and PAS of righteousness for your own spiritual protection. God never promised us life would be easy. He did promise that He would never abandon us. He is always there, walking through the fires with us, guiding us through and desiring the best in our lives. Next time in, “The Armor of God – Part 3,” we will explore the next two items in our armor, “your feet fitted with readiness,” and the, “shield of faith.” Until then, study God’s word and keep your eyes focused on His path, not your own.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6