When I was in high school, I wanted to be in the pep club.
But I needed a pep club outfit.
So my mom gave me the money to buy a pep club sweater. She bought the material to have a pair of pants made.
After that, I joined the club, sitting with the other girls and cheering on our football and basketball teams.
Funny thing, I don’t remember ever watching much of the games.
I was too busy talking with other people around me.
But the point is:
I had the outfit needed to be part of the club — just like our football and basketball players had their uniforms.
As Christians, we have a uniform, too.
We know it as the armor of God, which the Apostle Paul talks about in his letter to the Ephesians.
Found in the New Testament, this powerful book of the Bible reminds us of the spiritual battle we face — not to make us afraid, because we have the Lord on our side — but to show us what we’re up against.
Paul even writes this: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
Our battle isn’t against some troublesome person in our lives or someone who hurt us.
It’s against the enemy of our souls, who wants to cause division, strife and resentment.
The enemy is sneaky, often creeping in when we least expect it.
But we have a mighty God, who raised Christ from the dead.
Can you imagine how much strength that took?
The Scriptures also say the same spirit who raised Christ lives in his children.
I’ve learned that we can’t depend on our own strength, but God can empower us, giving us what we need for whatever we face in life.
Are you facing a financial, health or relationship crisis?
God is here.
He can give you the strength you need.
And he provides some great pieces of equipment, which according to Ephesians 6:14-18 are:
The Belt of Truth.
- In the worst times in my life, I’ve needed God’s steadfast, stabilizing truth at my very core — reminding me at gut level that he is faithful, loves me, sent his only son to die for me, won’t ever leave and has good plans for me.
The Breastplate of Righteousness.
- Like a soldier’s armor, this breastplate can protect our hearts as we choose to live — relying on the Lord — with integrity.
It pays to do what God says. It can keep us out of so much trouble and heartache.
The Shoes of Peace.
- Like the studs on the bottom of a pair of football cleats, these shoes can help us stay upright on slippery ground. It’s peace that can keep us grounded when we’re tempted to slide down into the mucky soils of fear and despair.
The Shield of Faith.
- Like a huge Roman shield, bold faith can help fend off the enemy’s attacks. Those fiery arrows intended to hurt us can be deflected — instead of digging deeply into our souls — when we remember that God loves and will take care of us. God knows what he’s doing.
And I’ve learned that God can help us hold up that big shield as we depend on him.
The Helmet of Salvation.
- In the book of Romans, Paul talks about us renewing our minds. We do that by reading and studying the Scriptures. I can’t count the times the Holy Spirit has brought a Bible verse to my mind — right when I’ve needed it most.
As Paul also said, we must take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). So if a thought that we’re ugly or our situation is miserable creeps into our brains — we kick it out, just like a soldier captures an enemy and takes him away. Ask God to help you stop thinking those bad thoughts. Then replace them with good thoughts.
Dwell on: whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)
The Sword of the Spirit.
- This is the word of God, the Bible. We need to know God’s word. I like to write down Bible verses and put them where I can see them. Memorize them. So many times when I’ve been downhearted, I’ve repeated Scriptures — often out loud — so I could hear them with my ears and my heart.
Here are a couple of Scriptures that help me: “I can do all things through Christ”* or “…they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”*
Although not listed as part of the uniform, prayer is crucial. It’s the pipeline to God.
It’s important for us to know about these Scriptures.
So this month, our Citywide Women’s Bible Study will begin “The Armor of God” video Bible study by Priscilla Shirer.
A gifted Bible teacher, Priscilla delves into these precious passages of Scripture.
I’ve learned so much — part of which is listed above — from her.
Women, who’ve taken some of her other Bible studies, know she gives incredible, down-to-earth analogies that help everyday folks like us better understand Bible truths.
The Bible study, open to people from throughout the area, starts on Feb. 23 in Full Life Church, 2380 Seaton Ave., in Fremont.
I will serve as moderator.
Those interested in the study are asked to register by Feb. 12 so workbooks can be ordered in time. Workbooks are $18.50 each — that cost includes postage and handling.
People may register at www.fulllifechurch.org or by calling the church at 402-721-1010.
Payments can be made at the time of the first class, but please let the office know you plan to buy a book when registering. If you don’t like written lessons, you don’t have to get a book, just come.
My hope is that we can all grow in our faith and trust in God and learn about this Godly armor.
I’m grateful to my mom who bought me that pep club outfit years ago. Our family didn’t have a lot of money and it was an added expense.
But we don’t have to buy the armor we get from God.
He provides this sturdy uniform and gear — for free — when we believe in him, repent (turn from) our sins and ask Christ to come into our hearts.
We just need to know we have this armor. And unlike a pep club or sports uniform, we never take it off.
It’s permanent press, wash-n-wear, heavy duty armor that can carry us through life’s battles until we reach heaven — that place where no fiery trials exist.
And where my mom won’t have to find someone to sew a pair of pep club pants for me.
*Philippians 4:13 and Isaiah 40:31