When I was a street cop, I remember vividly what it was like to get ready for duty each night. I would stand in front of my locker at the police station and change out of my street clothes into my police uniform. I remember wearing jump boots – the kind paratroopers wear that keep your footing sure in the dark shadows of the night. I wore a bulletproof vest under my uniform shirt that could stop a handgun round.
Those big black duty belts that police officers wear are called “Sam Browne” belts after some officer name “Sam Browne” who invented them. On my Sam Browne belt I carried Mace, handcuffs, extra handgun ammunition, my nightstick and my Smith and Wesson Model 19, .357 magnum revolver. On top of carrying around all this gear, I stayed in top physical condition and studied martial arts. I was about as ready for battle as a cop could be.
It never crossed my mind that I did all that training and wore all that gear so that when some threat would come my way I would just stand there and think that what I was wearing would somehow save me without me actually using it. Where did some well-meaning believers ever come to understand Paul’s words in Ephesians 6 to mean that we are to put on all the armor of God and take up the sword of His Word and the shield of faith and then, in the heat of battle, just stand there and let the devil take us apart?
God's armor and weapons were never given to us to only possess, wearing them like some religious mannequin. There were given to us for aggressive and violent resistance to evil. "Therefore, put on every piece of God's armor so you will be able to resist in the enemy in time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm." Ephesians 6:13
According to Paul, only those who engage the battle will remain standing after the fight. If we don’t fight we won’t survive. Marriages will fail, ministries will fall apart and destinies will never be realized unless the fully equipped believer stands their ground and engages the threat with the overwhelming force of Christ’s death and resurrection.
I have come to realize that spiritual warfare is a violent series of actions that play out in real life and death scenarios. Don’t ever let someone tell you that you can go to your spiritual locker and put on all the things a believer should possess for battle and then just stand still in front of the devil and his minions and expect a victory. Paul said it well, “Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.” Battle requires an engagement.