“Fighting the Good Fight”
Armour plated Righteousness – (Ephesians Chapter 6 Verses 10-20)
The heart needs to be kept, protected, “keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23). We need the breastplate of righteousness (v14b). For sin, prises open the links of the chain-mail. And the cracks expose us to danger the lurking enemy is waiting for any opportunity to pounce (1Peter 5:8). He will seize upon anything that he can use to charge us with wrongdoing, he is not called the accuser of the brothers for nothing (Revelation 12:10). A fault perhaps that we can only plead guilty to. For he will use it to torment you night and day, he will plague you with it. It would be his pleasure that such guilt would dominate and spoil your peace and your Christian life. You’re every conscious and waken moment until he has you paralysed in regards to any Christian activity and service. This is the reason some don’t read the Bible because it opens them to his accusations, they are convicted. They no longer pray, attend the meetings, or witness to the Saviour, their armour has been breached. The righteousness of Christ must lead to a righteousness of living, else the enemy will cripple you. This is the very nature of the warfare the Christian is called into to. You have been drafted into the King’s army, but the warfare is spiritual. It is not like the wars of the world, that can be explained by worldly and historical causes. Our aim is not a natural one, it is not pointed at or desirous of the conquest of some world-power. The weapons we use are not physical, material, “for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:4). We fight by the power of faith, the sword of the Spirit, God’s word. The battle is the Lord’s, not man’s. We look to the Lord to supply everything necessary for this fight. This is the reason men are bidden to count the cost of discipleship before they begin, or else, “what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So, therefore, anyone of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:31-33).
So we look to Jesus our Captain, our mighty warrior God (Isaiah 9:6). He refused help in his darkest hour but trusted himself to God, forbidding his men the use of carnal weapons. “Then Jesus said to him, “put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels” (Matthew 26:52-53)? Muhammed’s clan of thugs made no progress at all in the sixth century until they started using the sword. Muhammed is termed the prophet of the sword. And still, to this day it advances its cause by the sword and terror. The kingdom of God and his Christ are not advance in this way. But by spiritual means, the prayers of the saints, the preaching of God’s word, the power of God’s love captivating and drawing men’s hearts. The fiercest battle Jesus ever fought was upon the cross, paradoxical it may seem compared to the world’s wars and Islam’s, he conquered in death. He conquered sin and death and hell by his own death. In spite of people’s misunderstanding, it was the same in the Old Testament too. Israel of old was a type of the church, she was hated by the surrounding nations, i.e., the world. Their hatred of Israel was spiritual because she was God’s chosen nation. The wars that Israel fought were fought on spiritual terms, “how could one have chased a thousand, and two have put ten thousand to flight unless their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had given them up” (Deuteronomy 32:30)? In faith they had to look to God for the victory, it was when they failed to trust God they faced defeat. The New Testament is no different. The battle is between light and darkness (2Corinthians 6:14). It is a spiritual battle fought in the midst of the world, the family, the school, the workplace. As God’s people seek to live out the principle of their new birth in Christ in accordance with the word of God. This, the sword of the Spirit, the word of God is our only weapon. Our defence is his righteousness (v14b).