It is funny how so much scripture comes alive when the Lord moves us to look through the proper perspective. A perspective that doesn't seem complicated, just uncomfortable for my pridefulness. Drawing near to the cross and allowing God to make the gospel the center of my understanding and of my life changes everything. Today I was reading in Ephesians 6 about putting on the armor of God when I began with a desire to know Christ and Him crucified as Paul states.
I remember hearing this passage since I was a child. I still remember as a child Mrs. McNamee using a flannel board to illustrate the different pieces of the armor of God. But since really praying and seeking to go deeper into the gospel and to attempt to study God's word in the shadow of the cross, everything has changed. As I began reading it became so incredibly clear that what we needed to clothe ourselves in was Christ himself through our oneness with Him. We need to cling fast to the cross to the point it causes us to lay down our claim on our own lives and live for Him. Put on your 3D glasses approaching close to the cross and watch this passage come alive.
Here is the whole passage from Ephesians 6.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
I want to give you two verses from Chapter 5 that help to shape our understanding.
31"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." 32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.
Paul talks about the intimacy and connectedness of a husband and wife being a picture of the oneness we should have with Christ. We should be covered with oneness with Christ. Is there one who has done more to protect us from the schemes of the devil. I don't need a piece of armor, I need Christ.
As I began to look at these pieces of armor, I was reminded of the thought that God doesn't desire to give us just something, He gave us Himself. The belt of Truth...Jesus said in John 14:6 that He is the Truth. The greatest realization of Truth is Christ! There is no truth apart from Christ. The breastplate of Righteousness, I was reminded of 2 Cor 5:21 "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." There is also a reference to the Messiah wearing armor in Isaiah 59:17 "He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head;" Jesus does not put on and take off Righteousness! He is righteous! We become the righteousness of God in Him. I need for Him to take my sin and for me to be clothed in His righteousness. Well, His righteousness is not a garment. It is found IN HIM.
The readiness of the gospel of peace. It too is found in Christ. The gospel is the message that you and I can have peace with God by coming through, by trusting in, by being found in Christ. Being clothed in Christ makes your feet ready to go share about how incredible it is to be one with Christ. Intimacy and oneness with your wife makes you want to tell everyone how incredible your wife is as a precious and amazing gift from God. Oneness and intimacy with Christ makes your feet ready to go and share the gospel of peace.
The shield of faith. Faith is not a substance that exists by itself. There is an object of that faith. Faith is what you really believe to be true about that object. Our faith is in Christ. Our faith is really about Christ. The more we are clothed and covered with the reality of Christ, the less vulnerable we are to the flaming arrows that are directed at what we believe to be really true about Christ. The more oneness and closeness I have, the less vulnerable I am to exchange the truth of God for a lie.
The helmet of salvation...Is our salvation separated from Christ. Christ is our salvation, for salvation is found in Christ and Christ alone! I need my mind and thoughts clothed in oneness with Christ my savior. The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. John 1 tells us the Word was with God, the Word was God, and that the Word became flesh. The greatest sword is me being clothed in oneness with Christ. Look at Paul's request for prayer. 19 that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
It really is simple. When I have the greatest oneness with my wife, it is then that my marriage is least vulnerable to attack. It is when I have the greatest oneness with Christ that I am least vulnerable to attack as I am clinging to the cross of Christ, that He has taken my sin, bore it in His body, and in turn gives me Himself. That through my oneness with him, knowing Him and being known by Him deeply, He might be the armor that protects my very soul from attack. And through that same oneness my life might be used mightily as a sword in His hand!
Lord, I ask for forgiveness for so consistently desiring and pursuing so many things other than oneness with you. For often pursue religious things instead of intimacy with you as what I need most. I pray that you would stir an unquenchable hunger and thirst for your righteousness that would only be satisfied through oneness with you. Walking with you, Praying with you, and meditating on your every word spoken to me. Jesus, thank you for being my covering and for even desiring oneness with me!
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