"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. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
"And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints...." Ephesians 6:10-18
God's armor brings victory because it is far more than a protective covering. It is the very life of Jesus Christ Himself.
"Put on the armor," wrote Paul in his letter to the Romans, "...clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 13:12-14)
When you do, He becomes your hiding place and your shelter in the storm -- just as He was to David. Hidden in Him, you can count on His victory, for He not only covers you as a shield, He also fills you with His life.
"I am the vine; you are the branches," said Jesus. "If a man abides in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:5)
Since living in the safety of the armor means oneness with Jesus, we can expect to share His struggles as well as His peace. Remember, God offers us His victory in the midst of trouble -- not the absence pain. So "do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you, but rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ..." (1 Peter 4:12-13)
Committed Christians who face torture for their faith continue to testify to the supernatural strength--even joy--that enables them to endure unthinkable pain. They affirm with Paul--
"that in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.... For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers.... will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:37-39)
This wonderful truth has become reality to all who believe and follow Jesus. When you put on His armor, His life surrounds you and keeps you safe in Him. He is your precious friend, and you are His! So "put on Christ." (Galatians 3:27) He is your victory!
I was in the locker room waiting on coach Brett Stubbs of the Monroe Hornets to address his men before taking the field on Friday night against the Eaton Eagles.
Each player was in his own mental place, meditating on the task at hand. The only sound was an over sized "boom box" blaring out some rap music, laced with profanity, "F Bombs" and the likes.
I happened to look to my left and there was this one player reading scripture to himself. As he closed the book and lowered his head to pray, I snapped the picture.
Jake Centers is a special young man. A good kid with a loving Mom, who is at every game Monroe plays. The struggles he has had to overcome, may not be that foreign in today's cultural landscape but they are his own mountains none the less.
Becoming a born again Christian this past year has given him a new found strength to deal with life's pressures. It has also caused him to have to deal with another sort of adversity. The kind of adversity from friends who don't quite understand his new walk.
When I became a new born again Christian there were many who poked fun at my new lifestyle choices. They routinely challenged me on the steadfastness of my new found faith and wondered how long the fad would continue.
That was some 20 yeasr ago. And while I still screw up and still make many mistakes that would be considered "Un Christian Like", many of those who proved to be real friends, came to respect my choices and appreciate the fact that I did not pass judgement upon them as non believers at the time.
Today, many of those friends are now born again belivers themselves.
So how does one "Put on the armour of God"?
This life in Christ begins with knowing and trusting each part of the armor. The first part is TRUTH -- God's revelation of all that He is to us, all that He has done for us, and all that He promises to do for us in the days ahead. This wonderful, everlasting TRUTH is written in the Bible, revealed by the Holy Spirit, and realized through Jesus Christ.
It cuts through all the world's distortions, deceptions, and compromises. When you study, memorize, live, and follow TRUTH, He enables you to see the world from God's high vantage point. For He is the Truth! Putting on the first piece of the armor means feeding on truth through daily Bible reading and making it part of yourself.
Posted by photographer Vincent Rush, Cincinnati Sports Photography and Dayton Sports Photography of Monroe Ohio. Vince Rush can be contacted by phone at (877) 858-6295 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://CincinnatiSportsPhotography.com