Did you ever buy an item of clothing, put it in your closet, and save it for a special occasion, only to find out months or years later when you pull it out that is no longer fit or had become damaged by time?
I remember a few years ago, I insisted I needed to buy a suit. I was convinced I needed a suit to have in my closet for when a special occasion came up or a big speaking engagement arrived. So I spent the money on a brand new, navy blue suit. I brought it home, put it in the back of my closet, and waited for a chance to wear it.
Months went by, and no opportunity to wear my new suit. Months turned into years. We don’t live in a suit world anymore. When I speak, I wear jeans and a polo. People don’t wear suits to church. I never got a chance to wear the suit.
Then my big chance arrived! A friend was getting married! I pulled out the suit to get it ironed and ready, only to realize that it had shrunk hanging in the closet for so many years!
Okay, so the suit hadn’t shrunk, my stomach had expanded…either way, I couldn’t button the pants, and the suit that I had hanging in the back of the closet no longer fit. The beautiful suit that was meant to be worn instead of stored away in the closet did me absolutely no good. I didn’t get my money’s worth. Why? Because I didn’t use it.
The moral of the story---some things are meant to be used, not stored away for a special occasion.
As I was pondering how we should wrap up our series on “Dressing for Victory”, I felt like the best way we could end our discussion is by pointing out that just its wasteful to save special items in our closets for use on special occasions, it’s wasteful to keep the Spiritual Armor God has given us tucked away without using it.
Speaking more practically, it does us no good to know that God has given us spiritual armor, to know what that spiritual armor represents, and how it should be used in our lives, unless we use this knowledge to put on our spiritual armor every day and wear it.
You see, one of the biggest misconceptions many Christians have about spiritual warfare, is that they treat it like it’s a special occasion. They act like the weapons God has given us are supposed to be stored away for the rare occasion when we come under Satanic attack.
Yet, nothing could be further from the truth. Reality is that every day we are in a spiritual battle with the enemy of our souls. The Spiritual Weapons God has given us are not meant to be understood and filed away as head knowledge, but they are meant to be a part of our lives every day so that we can stand our ground against temptation, evil, and the daily attacks of Satan. Maybe even more importantly, we are supposed to wear our spiritual armor every day to fight against the sinful nature that is inside of us---to help us fight the battle between our own sinful nature and the new man that wants to live as a follower of Christ.
But we’ve talked about all this.
We’ve talked about the fact that there is a spiritual battle. We’re in it.
Satan, our enemy hates us and wants to use all means possible to destroy us.
We’ve even discussed that fact that God will allow these attacks and battles to come our way so that we grow spiritually.
The only question left to ask is “What are you waiting for?”
Today, are you going to choose to “put on” the spiritual armor that God has given you or are you going to be a wimpy, defeated victim that falls into every trap the enemy sets for you?
This is where the rubber meets the road.
Will you put on the Buckle of Truth?
Will you choose to live your life in complete and absolute truth, choosing to reject the lies of our society, reject the lies about yourself, and living by the absolute truth as it is defined in the Word of God?
Are you going to wear the Breastplate of Righteousness?
Will you, as a Christian, make a conscience decision each and every day to choose to abandon sin in your life and live a righteous life?
Will you choose to do the right thing---the righteous thing---to protect yourself from the enemy’s plans to destroy and devour you?
Are you going to put on the Shoes of Peace?
As you enter into each new day, will you make a commitment to walk in peace and exhibit self-control, even when it seems like everyone and everything in the world is trying to steal your peace?
Will you make peace a priority in your life and your relationships, even if that meant that you don’t get your own way?
Will you carry the Shield of Faith?
Will you choose to daily put on Faith, and believe not only that that God exists, but that He is Who He claims to be in the Bible?
Are you fully convinced that there is Only One True God, one True Religion---Christianity---as it is taught in the Bible?
Each day, do you exhibit and strengthen your Faith by reading the Bible to learn about God and then applying what you’ve learned to your life?
Let’s take it a step further, do your beliefs about God influence every part of your lives until you are a radical follower of Jesus Christ?
Is it obvious to everyone that you are wearing your Shield of Faith because you are genuinely living your life as if God is a Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him?
Have you decided “take up” or “put on” the Helmet of Salvation by choosing to give Salvation and all that it means control and domination of our minds?
Are you training your brain to have every thought, every action, every emotion, and every behavior to pass through the filter of “Because I am justified by Christ, I will think or do….”?
Are you seeking deliverance from any demonic influences in your life that want to destroy you, your life or your family because Jesus you know that Christ provided your deliverance at the cross?
Are you living your life from an eternal perspective because your mind is wearing the Helmet of Salvation?
Is your #1 Accessory the Sword of the Word of God?
Are you following Jesus’ example and reading, studying, and memorizing God’s Word in preparation to use God’s Word as a mighty sword to overcome the enemy’s attacks?
You see, it’s the answers to these questions that tell you, “Am I dressing for victory or am I storing the weapons God has given me away in a closet to be used on a special occasion?”
Am I really obeying the Bible’s command to “Put on the full armor of God” or am I just pretending to be wearing the armor while I’m really storing it away in my spiritual closet?
Many of you may recall the old story called, “The Emperor’s New Clothes” by Hans Christian Andersen. If you’ve never heard the story, it’s basically the tale of a very vain emperor who was obsessed with wearing the latest, most fashionable clothes. Everyone in the kingdom knew that he wasted all of his time and money on such endeavors.
Then one day a group of swindlers and con men entered the kingdom and approached the king with the proposition that they could make him the finest suit of clothes ever—the only catch was that the suit was to be made of a fabric that was invisible to anyone who is unfit for his position or "hopelessly stupid".
Of course, the king agreed, but the problem was that as the swindlers went through the motions of designing, measuring, and creating the new suit of clothes, the king couldn’t see them. Not wanting to admit that he may be unfit for his positions, stupid, or incompetent, the king plays along, as do all of his noblemen. In fact, everyone in the kingdom goes along with the charade and pretends that the king is wearing a beautiful suit of clothes even though it was obvious to everyone that the king was buck naked---and making an appearance in a parade none the less!
Throughout the whole kingdom, there was only one child that didn’t get the memo to “pretend the king is wearing clothes even though he isn’t.” Not knowing any better, the child cried out, “The emperor is naked!” Soon everyone began to murmur the same thing and very soon all shouted, “The emperor is not wearing anything!”
Finally, the story ends with the saddest line of all: “The emperor realized the truth but preferred to believe that his people were stupid.”
What does this have to do with Dressing for Victory?
Basically this, as we wrap us this series, I believe it’s time that each of us examined our hearts and really asked ourselves the question, “Am I really putting on the spiritual weapons God has provided or am I imitating the stupid emperor and pretending to be wearing a suit while I’m really running around spiritually naked?”
Here’s a tip: The enemy of our souls knows the truth. He’s going to attack us in every area that we’ve left spiritually vulnerable. The only way to combat his attacks is to really and truly apply the principles we’ve learned about the Armor of God to our lives each and every day.
Of course, the choice is yours.
When the answers to the above questions or the challenges found in the various chapters of this series reveal obvious gaps in your armor, will you choose to make the lifestyle changes to wear the full armor of God or will you, like the emperor, choose to ignore the truth and remain spiritually naked?
You see, the question isn’t “Are the clothes provided?”
We’ve already established that God has given us everything we need to take your stand against the enemy’s evil schemes.
The question is: "Will you choose to take your spiritual clothes out of the closet and put them on?"
Will you Dress for Victory?
The choice is up to you.