The armor of God (Eph 6:10-18) is to protect very specifically the conviction we have as Christians that God’s blessings are present and irrevocable.

This conviction comes under attack in many ways, but we see it clearly in the case of the persecution of Christians under Islam. While we pray, of course, to protect such Christians from physical harm and its consequences, that harm is transient and bearable — especially when they identify with the suffering of Christ. What is arguably more important is to pray that they not lose sight of the blessings of God. We are very vulnerable in our minds — through our thoughts and emotions — and this is an easy way for Satan to attack us. In other words, our prayers should be focused on them putting on and maintaining the armor of God so as not to suffer fear and despair (fiery darts) in the midst of their physical suffering.

What is the armor of God and how does it do this?

  • We gird ourselves with the belt of truth; we “hike up our tunics” and secure them so as to be ready for the battle by standing firm in what we know to be the truth of reality. We pray for those persecuted to stand firm in this same conviction, that reality is the unbreakable promises of God that rise far above the persecution they face — no matter how terrible that persecution is.

  • We remember we have the breastplate of righteousness, the protection for our hearts, that is nothing less than the righteousness of Christ that He gave us on the Cross. Persecuted Christians may feel they are being punished through their persecution, but we pray that they not forget that God considers them to be sinless and righteous in His eyes.

  • We prepare ourselves for life, for whatever may come, by putting on the footwear of peace that enables us to stand. This peace comes in the form of, a) peace that emerges from our understanding of truth, and b) our subsequent reflection and extension of that peace to others. We pray that persecuted Christians stand firm in this peace no matter the vileness of the persecution they face.

  • We raise the shield of faith to resist Satan’s fiery darts. That is, we trust God implicitly no matter what. God promises that trust will quench those fiery darts. Persecuted Christians are particularly susceptible to shakeable trust since their persecution often is a manifestation of the untrustworthiness of people. We pray their trust in God remains unshaken.

  • We put on the helmet of salvation to protect our minds from the delusions and resulting despair of Satan’s lies. We focus on the sure knowledge that God’s plan of salvation — His assurance that He will bring about a complete restoration of creation through Jesus Christ — will prevent us from deception. Persecuted Christians are not immune from delusion. How easy it is for God’s promise of the restoration of creation through Christ to fade when friends and family are treated mercilessly and killed! We pray that they retain the clarity of God’s plan of salvation.

  • We wield the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God. We don’t rely on our own devices to repel untruth, we rely upon the eternal truth of God’s Word to do this as only truth can dispel untruth. We pray that persecuted Christians never abandon the Word of God — and don’t shirk from it — as they face unspeakable physical and mental torture. Persecution produces delusion, and God’s Word of truth pierces through the lies.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn
Share this post on your networks