Dress For Success

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There’s a principle that my Dad taught me several years ago about how you dress. I was probably eight or nine and as a homeschooler I loved the fact that I could do my work in my pajamas. So I didn’t understand the big deal when my Dad expressed that he wanted my brother and I to get dressed before we started our school that morning.


But than my Dad explained that the way you’re dressed actually affects your motivation and your approach to work. My Dad wanted us to approach our school with intention and enthusiasm that way we had a success mindset. In a similar way, our Heavenly Father wants to see us succeed in the daily battles we face. And He also laid out how we can spiritually dress for success.


“Therefore, put on the complete armor of God, so that you will be able to [successfully] resist and stand your ground in the evil day [of danger], and having done everything [that the crisis demands], to stand firm [in your place, fully prepared, immovable, victorious]. 14 Stand therefore [hold your ground] having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having on the breastplate of integrity and moral rectitude and right standing with God,15 and having strapped on your feet the gospel of peace in preparation [to face the enemy with firm-footed stability and the readiness produced by the good news]. 16 Above all lift up the [protective] shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword that the Spirit wields, which is the Word of God.”

Ephesians


The first object mentioned is the Belt of Truth. While it may not seem so at first, the belt is a very significant piece. The belt was what helped to hold the armor together and held a warrior’s sword in place. But an interesting use I found when researching was that the belt was used to tuck in any loose “threads” or clothing that would constrict the warriors movements in battle. This six inch belt removed those things so that a warrior was free to run, fight, and maneuver himself with ease.When we walk in the Biblical truth of who we are and who God is, we are free to chase after God and we can better dodge the traps that Satan would try to ensnare us with. This idea is reflected in John 8:32 - “And you will know the truth [regarding salvation], and the truth will set you free [from the penalty of sin].”


Second, is the Breastplate of Integrity or Righteousness. Righteousness is described as being, “of moral conduct” and “right standing with God.” A breastplate is a crucial piece of armor because it protects your vital organs, one of which is your heart.

Our purity and integrity stem from what we allow into our hearts. What we let in, is what will come back out. If we protect it diligently, then when we find ourselves in a situation, godly things will come out of our mouth and will be displayed in our actions. Likewise, if allow other things to penetrate our heart, we will respond from the negative overflow.


 “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.”

Luke 6:45 (NLT) 


The third piece of armor listed is the Shoes of Peace. In a study by Blue Letter Bible, these shoes are described as “‘shoes thickly studded with sharp nails' … so as to ensure a good grip.” They go on to mention that, “the military successes both of Alexander the Great and of Julius Caesar were due in large measure to their armies' being well shod and thus able to undertake long marches at incredible speed over rough terrain.”

It almost sounds crazy! These famous battles were won in large part because of the shoes they wore?! This unique picture is fitting of this kind of peace especially because it’s described as “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding.” (Philippians 4:7) Above in verse 15, this peace related to the gospel. It’s the very truth of God’s promises through His written and spoken Word that give us firm footing in adversity. This peace isn’t the ignorance of our circumstance, but rather the knowledge and resulting assurance that our God isn’t limited by those circumstances. No matter what season or terrain we’re walking through, that peace allows us to stand our ground and it helps us to keep from slipping into doubt and fear.

Fourth, is the Shield of Faith. The shield mentioned here is a large, Roman shield that’s meant to protect the whole body. And when it was soaked in water, it would put out the flaming arrows that struck it.

The first thing I’d like to highlight is that we are going to get shot at. We live in a spiritual war-zone and we don’t get any passes from the enemy based on how we feel that day. When we walk in faith, we can get hammered by the arrows, but we will not be engulfed by their flames. An example of this in our life is when Satan comes against our health, or finances. We can take a hit, but we aren’t defeated by the flames; in faith we get back up and we keep fighting until our victory is won.

I read a prophetic word once that depicted a scene of a battlefield. In this battlefield many Christians were discouraged by the overwhelming forces of darkness that raged against them. Their shields drooped mirroring their optimism of success. Then God whispered in their ears to lift up their shields and look through their shields, through the lens of faith. When they raised their shields before them, the shields became transparent and when they looked at the battlefield through the shield, they could see that God’s Heavenly army far outnumbered Satan’s. This fresh revelation gave them new courage and zeal to fight again.

On a side note, I want to point out the fact that a shield isn’t used by your dominant or stronger hand. So don’t worry if it feels awkward to walk and declare things in faith. Operating in faith is a something we learn to do. Just keep pushing, and God’s grace will give you the strength to succeed!

Fifth is the Helmet of Salvation. We all know what helmets are for. Their meant to protect our heads. In a similar fashion, the power of God’s grace in salvation gives us protection for our mind. Protecting our mind is just as important as protecting our heart. In fact, Romans tells us that true transformation, whether salvation or breakthrough in other areas of life start with renewing our mind! (Romans 12:2)

When you think of the red “brushes” on top of ancient helmets, you immediately think Roman. Their helmet showed exactly whose army they belonged to. Likewise, when we received Christ into our hearts, we were immediately adopted into the family of God and we became warriors of the winning team. Our salvation is our new identity in Christ. God’s love surrounds us and welcomes us into the family regardless of whose team colors you used to wear. As a church, we should also mirror God’s love by extending grace to new believers, rather than pointing out who they used to be, just as God extended such grace to us.

Finally, we have the Sword of God, the Bible. God’s words are our offensive weapon against the enemy. When Jesus was tempted by Satan, He used Scripture to counter Satan's attacks. I think we’re pretty familiar with the idea of our Bibles being our best weapon. We hear it all the time. That’s why I love the fact that the Amplified Bible describes the Sword as, “the Sword that the Spirit wields…”

I don’t think we always realize the value of what we’ve been handed. We have been given the very same sword that the Holy Spirit uses! In these times, the king had the most magnificent sword. It was made from material of the highest quality. But those in the army didn’t have swords as nice as the king’s. A commanders was nicer than a foot soldier’s, but it didn’t compare to the king. Yet our King has given us the strongest, most exquisite sword available...His own.

This revelation makes it so much more meaningful! Think about it! If you had a famous baseball players bat, or a famous artist’s guitar or a famous writer’s pen, you’d want to use it all the time! And that’s exactly what God did! He gave us His very best sword and armor so that we could wake up everyday and claim victory. So be encouraged and fight the good fight! Our God is for us and has given us everything we will ever need!