Teaching Men How to Fight Like a Girl
"Put on the full armor of God that you may be able to stand firm..." Ephesians 6:11
Putting on armor and standing firm are two parts of the same order. Orders are meant to be obeyed. They are not suggestions, advice or counsel. They carry the clout of authority from above expecting compliance from soldiers down the line. To ignore orders is to invite disaster. Disobedience to orders is treated as treasonous behavior. In the case of spiritual warfare, it is crucial for the soldier to put on the armor and to stand firm in the face of the enemy. To obey one or the other is not sufficient. When a soldier in the army of God does neither they are an agent of sabotage. They become a weak link in the line, inviting criticism of their commitment and creating conflict, chaos and confusion in the lives of others.
Those who put on the full armor of God need to take a good look at what they are getting into. The weapons of this warfare are defensive in nature, and serve the wearer best when they are facing the enemy. They provide no protection for those who cut and run and turn their exposed backs to the missiles fired by their attackers. Three times the words "stand firm" are inseparably connected with the armor of God.
- "Stand firm against the schemes of the devil." Eph. 6:11
- "Resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm." Eph. 6:13
- "Stand firm, therefore..." Eph. 6:14
When the armor is put on, but the soldier does not stand firm, then the armor offers no protection. Roman soldiers were Paul's prototype for the weapons he mentions in this passage of scripture. The individual soldier could be defeated one on one. They were merely men, and held no personal superiority over their enemies. Their legions became invincible when these ordinary individuals conformed themselves into an extraordinary fighting unit. Roman commanders gave the order for soldiers to stand their ground. Seasoned veterans knew that their best chance of survival came from facing the enemy. Their armor was not made for retreats. When they put on their full armor it protected them only for a stand against the enemy. It gave cover to their flanks and the back of the other soldier next to them in their ranks. The Romans were known for their armor, but their armor prepared them to to take a stand. One without the other was not going to lead them to victory over the enemy.
"Stand firm, therefore, "HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH." (V. 14) The enemy hits below the belt. It will sucker punch or strike without warning at any time of the day or night. The enemy is a great stalker and owns the night. The person who wants to stand firm will have to strap themselves up good and tight, especially when they are in the dark. A special warning to men here. Don't ever go into battle with cancer without your cup on. Don't think it is a sign of strength to take on this enemy all by yourself. To have dust on your Bible and give yourself a pass on prayer invites the enemy to kick you a swift kick in the groin. Any man who has ever experienced this has already instinctively winced at the remembrance.
Jesus knew the enemy very well. His take on the devil should give a pause to anyone who doubts that there is a person who lives to inflict harm on those who take their stand with the Son of God. He often encountered religious people who had sold out to the lies of the enemy camp, and were no friends of His. "You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie he speaks from his own nature. for he is a liar and the truth is not in him." (John 8:44)
When Dana was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer the first scene of battle was in the mind. The forces of evil began to flood my mind night and day with lies that would come right out of the pit of hell. As her fight with cancer required lengthy series of chemo treatments, it began to impact her body in ways that caused me to wonder if we were doing the right thing. Her energy was sapped. Her hair fell out, and her sleep patters were turned upside down. I thought I was handling all these expected consequences of chemo pretty well. It was the unexpected that caught me off guard.
Throughout the six months of chemo, and the additional six months of herceptin treatments Dana's sleep schedule was radically altered. We were like two ships passing in the night. I would try to stay up with her, but could not hang on. I would head to bed around midnight, but she would be wired with restless energy until about five in the morning, and then she would call it a day. I would get up shortly after she went to bed, and get hit with a missile from the enemy. I would be shocked at what I saw. In the pale moonlight that filtered into our bedroom she looked like a corpse. He face was drawn, her head was bald, and her skin was cold to the touch. I could not tell if she was breathing. I would stand over her bed side in a state of fear and break out in a cold sweat. I started hearing a voice in my head shouting, "She's dead!" I would start down a road that only took seconds to take, but would leave me exhausted from the journey. I found myself thinking, "So this is how it happens." "I didn't even get a chance to tell her goodbye." "So this is how I find out!" "How am I going to tell the girls." "What am I going to do now?" On and on the missiles of the enemy would come flying into my mind and leave their mark. Eventually I would get on my knees by her side and pray. I don't know what I prayed. I just fell on my knees and asked God for help. As I look over my journal notes for that period of time, I can see that I often scrawled across the page the words, "Help me!" It is a safe bet that I was probably repeating that phrase when I realized that Dana was alive, and that the fight was still on. Once again, I had been lied to by the father of lies. I had allowed him to intimidate me with the way things looked.
One of the enemy's most reliable strategies is the use of the intimidation of the immediate. This swift kick from out of the dark knocks the breath and the fight out of a solider who has forgotten to put on a very vital piece of protection...the Truth. Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life." (John 14:6) He was not playing name association games, but giving His followers insight into His character. Jesus personifies the truth. The devil personifies the lie.
Prayer provided me the courage to face things the way things looked with a confidence that God would give me the strength to deal with things the way they really are. F.E.A.R. has been defined as False Expectations Appearing Real. Dana only looked dead. She was very much alive, and was filled with the fight she needed to win this battle. I was taken to my knees by the way things looked. God invites us to come to Him in prayer so His Son can show us the Truth...the way things really are. Fear, when it arrives, should be in and of itself a signal that it is not of God. You don't have to take my word for it.
King Solomon would say, "Do not be afraid of sudden fear nor the onslaught of the wicked when it comes, For the Lord will be your confidence, and will keep your fought from being caught." Prov. 3:25
Paul would tell his readers, "For God has not given us a spirit fear, but of power and love and discipline." 2 Timothy 1:17