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… (Eph. 6:13, 14)
As we studied in a previous chapter, God has called us to live in strength and victory. We read over and over in the New Testament that it is not really an option to live a life of weakness. If we do, we are living under the standard of living God gives us. We need to be strong. But how?
Paul dives right into how we live our daily lives in the strength of Jesus Christ by prescribing the Armor of God we are to wear. He used the Roman armor as an analogy because so many of his readers were well acquainted with it. This armor was a vital part of the Roman soldier’s life and something the readers would have seen daily. Like any armor, it kept soldiers alive during the many battles, but unlike other armor, it was unique to the wearer and held surprises.
Integrity is vital to everyday lives. Living without it or disregarding it almost cost King David his kingdom. David was a defeated man, and he didn’t know it until Nathan showed up and revealed the truth about his heart condition. Psalm 51 shows us an image of David’s heart when he discovered he had actual without integrity:
Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my transgressions,
And my sin is always before me.
Against You, You only, have I sinned,
And done this evil in Your sight—
That You may be found just ]when You speak,
And blameless when You judge.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me hear joy and gladness,
That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
Hide Your face from my sins,
And blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.
Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
The God of my salvation,
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise. (Psalm 51:1-17)
David was found out in his sin and became an honest man when he confessed it. He put truth back into his life. His integrity was restored with God. When we rationalize and don’t acknowledge the sin in our lives, the actions we committed are protected in a fortress or stronghold of evil. The devil has authority there. Our confession, our acknowledgment of the sin blasts that fortress apart, and the devil can no longer operate there. We have a choice: act in integrity and confess our ways or live with sin and its actions being vulnerable Satanic influence and attack. We need to trust God enough that when He exposes our lies and sins in our lives, it is not to kill us, it is to help us heal and get better. It is to destroy Satan’s influence in our lives. His discipline is for our advantage—it gives us the power to stand in battle. The writer of Hebrews put it this:
For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:
“My son, do not despise the ]chastening of the Lord,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.”
If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:4-11)