As he puts his suit on, he focuses on protecting the most important part of his body. The part of him that is the most delicate and important. He has made his armour so that this part of his anatomy is safe and protected. He has spent every moment of his journey preparing his suit of armour for battle. He makes sure it is strong. In any battle. For EVERY battle. Tony Stark has super human strength. He is Ironman. But ONLY when he wears his suit of armour. Without it, he is an ordinary man with weaknesses and struggles. However, he does have a strategy for battle. He has a plan with which he will succeed. Without it, he is just a man. We know that the story of Ironman is created by Marvel, purely for entertainment. But it is still a story of a battle between good forces and evil forces. A story about controversy. A battle for allegiance. A spiritual battle.
The Bible tells us of spiritual armour that is more powerful, durable and protective than anything Tony Stark could ever invent.
The war against the enemy is so brutal that we need strong, heavy-duty armour. Armour that can withstand the barrage of the enemy’s attack from every angle (gossip, jealousy, greed, drugs, sex, alcohol, selfishness, pride, anger etc). And guess what the coolest thing is about this armour? It’s already made to fit you—and it’s FREE! We don’t have to design it, build it, tweak it or test it. This armour is 100 percent enemy proof. Just as Tony Stark built his armour to protect his heart, God’s armour does exactly the same—and more! God wants to shield our hearts from the enemy, from his attacks, from his plans to ruin our lives. But if we suit up with God’s armour we are in the prime position to engage in the fight, and ultimately win.
So now that we have our armour, how do we use it? This is exciting! So here is how we do it.
s of Engagement
Simply Give up!
Ummm pardon? Sorry—what?
James 4:7 puts it simply: “Submit to God. Resist the devil. And he will flee from you.” That’s right!
Submit To God
First. Submit all that you care about, your worries, temptations and weaknesses to God. Understand that God is in charge and cares about all of these things. Put Him first. Keep Him first. Before we even think about facing up to our situation or problem we MUST give it to God first! Submitting means that we wear His armour. For Gods armour protects, shields, withstands, and endures. Unlike Tony Stark, who has to constantly return to his suit of armour to tweak, modify and adapt its characteristics to better suit his enemies’ attacks, with God’s armour, there are no modifications, no tweaking necessary. It’s built to last!
Resist The Devil.
We can only do this when we submit to God. Complete step 1 in order to complete step 2!
Watch the devil flee!
The one and only armour that is timeless and everlasting is the armour of God.
TIPS to maximise your armour
What metaphoric or literal signposts are you putting up to protect yourself from being in a tempting situation? Below are some examples:
a. Don’t go to the party. You probably won’t feel the desire to be involved in what others are doing.
b. In some cases, avoid contact with that particular person if the behaviours they draw out of you aren’t the ones you want to portray.
c. Don’t go to the shops if you have a tendency to spend money you don’t really have.
d. Avoid social media if it has a pattern of bringing out the judgmental or nasty side of you through pictures, comments or status updates.
Having the discernment to know when to use these guardrails and HOW to use them is crucial. Discernment is the “ability to judge well.” Spiritual discernment comes from a close connection with God, and awareness of His power in your life for giving clarity in moments of weakness. When you are spiritually discerning, you have a sense of what is right in the eyes of God and what is not. Despite the lure of temptation, you are actually put off by the devil’s efforts because you know that he is trying to tempt you with …[insert your individual temptation here].”
Practice using your guardrails. Practice discernment. For example (Chantal speaking), it’s not my favourite thing to politely decline when someone offers me something delicious to eat. Food is my weakness. While it’s not a life or death matter (yet), it’s still something I struggle to do. I LOVE FOOD. So to practice saying “No thanks” to a good brownie or some spinach and feta quiche is surprisingly tricky for me. Now, when someone asks YOU, “Would you like some …[insert tempting item here]”, it’s time to practice some self control and think about the long-term effect of the decision you are about to make.
So PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!
Maximising the use of God’s armour will minimise the moments we think of and regret in our future decisions. Use your guardrails, practice them daily (if applicable) and remember that the armour is already specifically designed for you. The right fit, the right size, the right everything. It’s there waiting for you—use it and see how strong you’ll be against the attacks of the enemy!
Thee ways people deal with TEMPTATION
ONE. Give in to it.
(“Ok I’ll try it, it won’t hurt . . .”)
TWO. Turn and walk away.
(“No, I’m ok I don’t want to . . .”)
THREE. Freeze and do nothing.
(“Umm, errrr, yeah dunno . . .“)
Find your STRENGTH here
“A life in Christ is a life of restfulness. There may be no ecstasy of feeling, but there should be an abiding, peaceful trust. Your hope is not in yourself; it is in Christ. Your weakness is united to His strength, your ignorance to His wisdom, your frailty to His enduring might. So you are not to look to yourself, not to let the mind dwell upon self, but look to Christ. Let the mind dwell upon His love, upon the beauty, the perfection, of His character. Christ in His self-denial, Christ in His humiliation, Christ in His purity and holiness, Christ in His matchless love—this is the subject for the soul’s contemplation. It is by loving Him, copying Him, depending wholly upon Him, that you are to be transformed into His likeness” (Steps to Christ, page 70).
How people from the BIBLE deal with TEMPTATION
Joseph. (Genesis 39)
Tempted by his master’s wife, but because of his relationship with God he had the will power to flee from her.
Samson. (Judges 16)
Tempted to trade the secret of his strength for a woman’s love, he ended up losing his strength and ultimately his life.
Judas. (Matthew 27):
Tempted by money and power, he rejected and betrayed Jesus and consequently ended his own life.
Jesus. (Matthew 4, Luke 4):
Overcame the temptations of Satan in the wilderness and is the ultimate Victor.
Ray and Chantal Moaga live in Christchurch, New Zealand, where Ray is the South New Zealand Conference Youth Director.