Up-Armored

Posted on Sun 04/24/2022 by

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It’s when we turn our back on the enemy that we tend to get “struck down,” because our armor is for offense, not defense. There’s no armor on our back.“ ~  

If my insurance agent ever saw me driving like this, my rates would go through the roof!” I thought to myself. I was a security contractor working on a State Department contract in Baghdad. As part of the training course, we had to master driving “up-armored” SUVs (no brand name endorsements here). It’s a whole different world of driving. The acceleration was better than I would have imagined, but that puppy doesn’t stop on a dime! You need to have good depth perception to make that bad bear stop before you hit something. Part of the course was teaching us how to spin a vehicle out by turning the wheel into the rear fender and accelerating at the same time, which is nothing like the movie chase scenes where they auto-slam each other without losing control. That was the video I didn’t want my insurance agent to see. (That, and the night driving without headlights.)

The most serious injuries from Iraq and Afghanistan came from IEDs — improvised explosive devices. Our vehicles had to be “up-armored” to deal with the evolving threat. Man of Valor, you need to know that the enemy is going to place innumerable IEDs in your path today and you need to get up-armored before you walk out your front door. The enemy knows that he can’t kill you, so his best bet is getting you off the battlefield.

The Apostle Paul opens the door of the armory for us:

“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. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” —Ephesians 6:13-17 (ESV)

The belt of truth (we called it a cartridge belt — holds canteens, a bayonet, and other items) holds your armor in place. Lying and dishonesty will keep you from connecting the components of your armor together. Your armored vest (breastplate of righteousness) protects your heart. Your righteous standing in Christ prevents the enemy from delivering a disabling wound to you. On your feet you will have boots (the Gospel of peace, the Word of God) that will give you traction on rough roads to keep you from falling. The shield of faith (think Captain America) will protect you from all the fiery darts of the evil one. Those darts come in many forms. He’ll whisper that God doesn’t love you, that you’re not worthy, that you are weak, all to make you give up and turn back. It’s when we turn our back on the enemy that we tend to get “struck down,” because our armor is all for offense, not defense. There’s no armor on our back. We are weak, we have failed, and we’re not worthy, but God loves us because we are in the Son, not for any worthiness on our part.

Lastly, we take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Many of those fiery darts mentioned above are aimed at our head, our mind. Helmet dynamics have changed significantly over the years, but God’s helmet surpasses them all. I am saved by grace, and all the lies of the enemy can’t change that. The Sword of the Spirit is our AR-15, grenade launcher, and heat-seeking missile rolled into one! Through the intercessory power of the Spirit, our prayers send a salvo back on the enemy that’ll blow him straight back to you-know-where.

God made a promise to Isaiah that is ours to claim as well. “No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD and their vindication from me, declares the LORD” (Isaiah 54:17). How can God say that? Because He has given us the best armor, the best weapons, and the best intelligence (God’s Word) on our enemy’s tactics. Better yet, He promises us that the victory is already won. We just need to enter in. We just need to get up-armored before we walk out that door this morning. What say ye, Man of Valor?

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