I probably don’t need to tell you about my obsession with motorbikes, if you have spoken to me for any length of time, I have probably bored you with talk of Ducati’s and MV Agustas. I am also more than a little obsessive about something else connected to motorbikes, wearing the right protective gear. That’s a picture of my motorcycle gear, my crash helmets (affectionately known to bikers as a “skid lid”) leather jacket with body armour built it, leather trousers armoured around knees and hips, back protector, winter and summer gloves with carbon fibre protection for knuckles and fingers, Kevlar jeans with armour, leather boots, with armour protection for my shins and ankles.
I understand that motorcycling can be dangerous, so I get geared up when I ride. Having scraped some bikers off the road as a cop and having had a pretty serious accident on a bike when I was younger, I get a cold sweat when I see riders on motorbikes or scooters wearing shorts or thin trousers, jackets or trainers. When someone dressed like that on two wheels draws up beside me at traffic lights, I have to resist the temptation to shout GET GEARED UP!
The Apostle Paul doesn’t hold back he shouts, not at bikers, but at believers GET GEARED UP!
11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 8 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6
Paul reminds us that living for Christ means that we can be in danger and need the right spiritual protective clothing. That protection doesn’t come from leather, Kevlar, carbon fibre and fibreglass but from the truth of the Gospel, righteousness, peace, faith, the Word of God.
On my bike, I face danger from other drivers, bad road conditions and my own overconfidence but Paul says the church and the Christian face danger from a formidable but not invincible enemy.
We are told three basic things about this enemy that poses us danger, the Devil and his demons are
- POWERFUL … “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly”
- CUNNING …. “can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”
- EVIL … , “against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Maybe it’s pictures of the war in Ukraine but I have found myself reflecting a great deal on this passage recently. I have become acutely aware this powerful, evil and cunning foe is on the offensive right now.
Personally, I think that the powers of darkness are on the offensive against the Body of Christ more viciously and persistently than I can remember. It feels like we are under attack in so many different areas.
Many churches have been left divided following COVID, setting believer against believer. In other congregations, church leaders talk about a wave of apathy that has swept God’s people. Many would rather stay at home than join God’s people in worship, mission and ministry. There appears to be a sense of pervading discouragement and defeat in many congregations, perhaps including ours?
Marriages are under attack, so many relationships are at breaking point, while others have actually broken, seemingly beyond repair. Sexual sin, unforgiveness, abuse and a lack of love have all contributed, as we have been reminded, our enemy is cunning, he knows how to undermine a marriage.
There are many of us whose mental health feels like it’s been under attack, we feel stressed or depressed and struggle to shake those emotions off.
I think we need to hear Paul’s call in Ephesians 6 and get geared up, get in the battle and protect ourselves, our church and each other.
How do we do that? I like what John Stott says
“Equipping ourselves with God’s armour is not a mechanical operation: it is in itself an expression of our dependence on God, in other words of prayer. Moreover, it is prayer in the Spirit, prompted and guided by Him, just as God’s Word is the sword of the Spirit which He himself employs. Thus, we are reminded that Scripture and Prayer belong together as the two chief weapons which the Spirit puts in our hands.”
So, how’s your prayer life? How consistent have you been in reading God’s Word?
I want to shout at myself, and to us as a church GET GEARED UP, AND GET IN THE BATTLE
Put on the armour of God, pick up the weapons of prayer and Scripture and get in the fight, defend yourself, defend others, take the attack to the enemy, stand against him.
How will we know if we are doing that? Our prayer gatherings will be a good indication, will they be a depleted platoon or a well-prepared company?