On the way back from our trip to Maine, my wife and I decided to make a quick stop in Plymouth, Massachusetts and check out some of the historical attractions. It is a beautiful town on Cape Cod Bay. We enjoyed a nice walk around the bay and saw Plymouth Rock, where it is believed that the first passengers landed and stepped off the Mayflower in 1620. There is also a replica of the original Mayflower docked and available to explore. The other main reason to make this pit stop was to see The National Monument to the Forefathers. It is only a few minutes drive from Plymouth Rock and tucked around a small forest of trees. It is an impressive 81 foot tall granite statue created to pay tribute to the Pilgrims dedication and sacrifice to pursue faith and freedom at Plymouth Colony.
The monument is designed with exquisite detail and provides a matrix of liberty based on 5 principles that ultimately lead to the foundation of America. The 5 Principles are:
1. Faith – True faith in the living Word of God.
2. Morality – Redemption through Jesus Christ.
3. Law – The Bible is the source of truth and all moral principles and precepts contained in it would form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws.
4. Education – Family teaching the youth how the world works from a Biblical perspective.
5. Liberty – Jesus brings internal personal salvation and external political freedom.
Now those are some well thought out and Biblically inspired pillars to live by! This was our instructional manual on how to build a nation. As I stood there and let those ideas resonate in my heart and mind, I couldn’t help but ask, as I’ve done many times before and I’m sure you’ve done at some point, “How did we get to where we are today?” Our nation has strayed so far away from our founding principles and it seems like there are no signs of going back. This answer can be long and complicated, but it boils down to this: spiritual warfare. It’s all around us whether we realize it or not and it’s not just at the top, but has permeated into our day to day lives. It affects us all. How can we continue to live a Christ centered life in a lost nation and world? Paul answers this question in Ephesians 6:
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 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.
14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
Paul’s reimaging of a soldier’s battle dress as the armor of God is directly inspired by the prophet Isaiah’s words from centuries before. We are in a battle, not against flesh and blood, but against a spiritual darkness. Yes, it’s a battle, whether we like it or not, and we’re in it. Paul lays out the whole armor of God that we are to wear:
1. Belt of Truth
One of the devil’s favorite weapons is lies. Often, he distorts the truth so that it can be hard to distinguish fact from fallacy. But if we ask, God will give us discernment, the wisdom to know His truth above all the other noise.
2. Breastplate of Righteousness
Satan also tries to undermine our self-worth and question our place with God. Anyone who struggles with self-esteem can fall prey to these tactics. But when we listen, we’ll hear our Heavenly Father remind us of His unconditional love and our position in Christ.
3. Fitted Feet of The Gospel
The enemy wants to keep the people of God quiet. So, he tries to plant seeds of doubt in us about how well we speak, or if anyone will listen. But if we pray, God will provide the strength and boldness we need to give our testimonies and to praise Him publicly without worry.
4. Shield of Faith
The devil’s plan to derail our faith can include using situations and even other people. Our personal weaknesses can leave us open to temptations, discouragement or wrong behavior. But when we admit our need for His help, God will make us tougher to make it through those trials.
5. Helmet of Salvation
The struggle with Satan often starts in our thought life. Any faulty ideas, anxieties or fears we may be holding onto can be amplified and used against us. But if we call on Him, God will renew us so that our eyes and minds will stay focused on Him throughout the day.
6. Sword of the Spirit
The enemy hopes to neutralize the power we have through Christ. He aims to confuse, intimidate or scare us, hoping we’ll forget God’s Word. But if we seek Him, God will fill us up with the confidence to declare Scripture and claim His promises for our lives.
Satan desires to cut off our prayer life. He knows that without it we are less aligned with our Father, and less alert or prepared for attacks against us. But as we set aside time for fellowship with Him, God will supply us with all we need to make a positive impact for Him.
As we continue to go about our everyday lives, let us clothe ourselves daily with the whole armor of God, let us allow The Holy Spirit to direct our steps, and let our light shine for all of the world to see so that our Father in Heaven is glorified!