Paul first urges us to be strong. All that Christ has done has provided the grounds for us to stand firm and even to advance in the strength that he provides, anticipating success. Having said that, Paul then goes on to urge us to take up the armour which has been provided. The Christian life is one of joy unspeakable and full of glory, and also a life that requires you to wear armour! We must not neglect all that God has provided for our defense in times of enemy attack.
It is not impossible for us to be so gung-ho in pressing forward that we forget that we ourselves will come under attack from time to time. Joshua’s first experience of entering the Promised Land was one of extraordinary success. By faith, the walls of Jericho fell down, the army advanced and enjoyed extraordinary victory. Sadly the next chapter begins telling the story of an immediate failure, defeat at Ai! Having enjoyed glorious success in Jericho Joshua and his army became very vulnerable in the next battle.
If we don’t take seriously God’s provision we will leave ourselves open to sudden attack and failure. I well remember the English soccer team in the World Cup where many of the defenders crowded into the opposition’s penalty area in order to attack a corner being passed from the wing. Sadly the ball ricocheted out of the penalty area, the German midfield quickly gathered it, passed to their forwards who found it very easy to score into the undefended English goal. Where was our defense? Most of them had rushed into attack and irresponsibly left the back door open.
It is not unknown for high profile and public ministries to also experience public failure and tragedy because there has been no serious attention given to carefully applying the full armour that God has provided.
This post was adapted from the 2nd of three sermons on the Armour of God preached at Together on a Mission 2010