Ephesians 6:12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
Right. Heard it. Read it. And,we know what comes next..."Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil." For many of us, this passage is as worn out as our acid washed 80's jeans. Little time passes between hearing it from the pulpit, reading about it in our self help books or being reminded of it by a friend when the going gets rough. It has "like totally" worn out its welcome.
Yet, I wonder...if for a moment we could have the eyes of a woman who has not seen the work of Jesus' hands...the ears of a woman who has not heard of His good news...the lips of a woman who has never uttered His Beautiful Name...the mind of a woman who has not pondered over Him. If, but for a moment, we could see this passage for the first time and open ourselves to what the passage holds for us - as women.
See, I believe a woman's battle is unique. Not only to her personally, but also apart from the battles faced by men. After all, we are made as differently as leg warmers are from parachute pants. Without trying to scratch the over played CD, let's visit the wardrobe, shall we?
Read Ephesians 6:10-17. Here Paul outlines the armor of God. But, friends, this isn't just a mere description of what the believer should have hanging from her pink padded hangers in her closet. It is a step by step action plan for developing a personalized strategy that helps us secure our victory over the evil one. Yes, our strategic plan must fit each of us personally. Since each of us are attacked based on our weaknesses, our vulnerabilities, our past, and our experiences, our plans are not going to look exactly like everyone else's. My strategy is going to be different than yours because my battle is different than yours. But, we can take similar steps toward establishing a game plan.
So, get dressed! We must purposely and deliberately put on the Armor of God. We must suit up for the daily battle, the daily grind. We must show the enemy that we are ready to stand against his tricks and schemes and deceptions. Some times he will look at us and say "Forget it, she's on guard already this morning. I'm not messing with her today. I'll move on." We have to show him we mean business and are ready to kick some enemy booty!
Start with your Belt of Truth. We are kicking this belt thing 80's style girls. Your Belt of Truth needs to be Texas sized big, bold, blingy and flashy! You want the enemy to be blinded by the shimmer of light before he even thinks about stepping on your high tops today. The belt of truth is one part living out the truthful Word of God in your life and one part being truthful with yourself and others. Be a woman of integrity. Choose God's truth about who you are and not the world's truth. The world's truth tells me one time I'm too skinny, then too fat, then too tall, then too short, then too foolish, then too brunette, then too involved, then not involved enough, then too educated, then too stupid. God's truth is all I need in me so He can live through me, and to be truthful is what others need, and what God expects, from me.
Next is the woman's breastplate of righteousness. This breastplate is filled with His righteousness, not my own. I might have been saved for umpteen years or seven and a half minutes, but guess what? I can't take any credit for that because I DIDN'T SAVE MYSELF!! God gets the glory. Anything I am, or have is because of Him. No amount of hard work, effort, self praise, or sacrifice gets me anything that God did not allow me to have. His breastplate tells the enemy to "Step off, I"m living for God."
Then, lace up those Reebok pumps and buckle those pink jelly shoes. Put on whatever your fave version of the Shoes of the Gospel of Peace is. Your feet determine the direction you will go. Your feet that are adorned with the Gospel - the GOOD NEWS - of Him! Of his life, His death, His resurrection and His coming again! The same good news we have been instructed to share with, well, the world, right? The Lord will lead you to the right people, the right places in the right time with the shoes He has fitted uniquely for you and He wants you to share the Good News of His salvation. You can't share it if you don't wear it!
Then, raise that shield of faith! My shield? My shield is about as pointless as a faded, stone-washed jean jacket. Because the enemy's arrows are laced with fear, worry, unbelief, defeat, self-doubt, lack of hope, lack of trust, depression, guilt, shame, worthlessness, rejection, you-can't-do-anything-right and you'll never amount to anything so why bother - I must have more protection than a pair of fingerless gloves offers. But, with God's shield we can protect ourselves from Satan's fiery arrows. Raise it up! Believe God has your back and all your other sides, for that matter.
After that, fasten the Helmet of Salvation over your Aqua-Net teased hair, which will help protect your mind from the trash the world tries to feed it. Sometimes I feel like I have to walk around in a bubble with blinders on to protect myself from the junk. Quit believing the lies that Satan tries to tell us about ourselves and how perfect everyone's lives look from the outside looking in. Get into God's Word and meditate on what He has to say about you. Kick the devil out of your thought life and renew your mind with the Word of God.
Then, my favorite, Draw Your Swords! Do you know what sound the sword makes when it's drawn from it's sheath? CHING! That sound effects you, impacts those around you and sends a shiver down the spine of spiney himself because the sound of a woman drawing unto the sword of the Lord, the Word of God, makes him shake in his pansy pants. Let God tear down those strongholds you have in your life by fighting the enemy with the Word of God. Pull that sword from it's case and send red ears packing.
So what? I'm dressed. Now what? I'm suited up, but the Bible does say this is an invisible war so how do I know exactly where to aim or when to raise my shield? See, because I am self acclaimed more-than-a-bit-klutzy and if I am constantly on guard, somebody, somewhere is going to be the recipient of an undeserved laceration from my sword.
So, what if I knew where the enemy was going to attack? Or, when? What if I had a plan and was as prepared as I could be for his wily schemes and underhanded methods of knocking me off my feet?
Well, maybe, just maybe I have some insight into this after all.
See, the enemy often targets those areas in our lives that are most important to us. So, first we must determine what is most important to us. If we identify what areas of our lives are most important to us, we may also have identified where the enemy can do the most damage and have the biggest negative impact on our lives. In doing this, we may prepare for the utmost protection available to us.
What is on your top ten list of what's important to you? Family? Marriage/husband? Children? Work/career? Volunteering/Service? Relationships/Friendships? Dreams/Goals/Destiny? Ministry? Heart/Mind/Soul? Health/Body/Physical Appearance? Education/Success/Accomplishments? Sisters, make a list and identify those things that are most important to you. These are the places where we should be the most on guard and the most watchful because they are the most interesting to the enemy. But, don't take your eyes off the back door! Just about the time we put all of our focus on the front door, good ole red ears sneaks in the back door and sneezes his sick head all over your dinner plate and before you know it you are down for the count and not able to pay attention to the front door anymore!
And what we have in our favor is that Satan's battle plan is flawed. See, he has a plan for us, too, just like God does, but God's plan for us is perfect. Satan's - not perfect, luckily for us. See, Satan's plan counts on catching God's woman warriors off guard, unaware and unarmed. His plan does not include meeting a woman dressed for the occasion - the battle!! After all, we dress for work, we dress for church, we dress for special occasions, why then, wouldn't we dress for the battle that the Bible tells us is going on around us at all times? Seems silly to me. And, the most awesome thing about it is that we dont' have to stand peering into our closet blankly not knowing what to wear with what. God has already done the hard work for us and has hand picked our suit for us!
“Because I am a woman of truth, I will put on the belt of truth. I speak and believe His truth, not the world’s truth and not it's lies. I will clothe myself with the breastplate of righteousness. I am a woman made in His righteousness, because of what Christ has done in and through me, not because of what I can do for myself. I am a woman of peace so I put on the shoes of peace so that I might share Christ with others and am always ready to move in the direction He has planned for me. I am a woman behind His shield. I will raise His shield of faith and ward off the untruths that Satan aims at me. I will rely on God’s shield which is interwoven with Faith. I will put on the helmet of salvation and protect and guard my mind from the lies that surround me and continually renew my mind with the word of God. I am a woman of the sword and I will "unsheath" the sword of the spirit and allow God to break down the strongholds in my life. Amen.