You’ve been faithfully pursuing God’s purposes, design, mission, and heart for the church, constantly praying and seeking His wisdom and power. Yet, you’re still encountering obstacles. Your church growth efforts may be under spiritual attack and need God’s protection. Remember:
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Eph. 6:12)
This is a battle you can’t fight on your own. You need spiritual weaponry to “take your stand against the devil’s schemes” and to “stand your ground” (Eph. 6:11, 13).
God’s Protection Found in the Full Armor of God
Most of God’s armor is of a defensive nature, to keep the attack from penetrating.
All of that is held together with the belt of truth and made even more impenetrable by the shield of faith that blocks the flaming arrow of the evil one from even making contact with these already protected parts.
So equipped, we will be able to resist the devil and stand firm. Yet, there may be times we must be on the offense. The only piece of armor by which we are to counterattack is the sword of the Spirit, God’s Word. As seen in Jesus’ example in Matthew 4, we counter the temptations with truth from God’s Word.
Why Putting on the Full Armor of God Matters in Church Growth Efforts
Satan has a full arsenal of flaming darts with which to attack us. He’ll attack us with the intent of:
pulling the focus onto ourselves by appealing to our pride or insecurities, leading to unhealthy comparisons and competing with other churches
pulling our faith off of God, leading to reliance on facilities, technology, methodology, and programs
pulling our foundation apart, leading to compromise of truth and integrity breaks
All of that will affect true spiritual growth and health so God gives us the protection we need to stand firm rather than be pulled away:
- belt of truth so we won’t be deceived into compromising and being led astray from sincere and pure devotion to Christ (2 Cor. 11:3)
- breastplate of righteousness so we can’t claim that the end justifies the means as process matters
- feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace so we don’t minimize of the work of Jesus on the cross, emptying the cross of its power (1 Cor. 1:17)
- shield of faith so we don’t give in to discouragement when under persistent attack
- helmet of salvation so we don’t lose hope but rather maintain the right perspective
- sword of the Spirit so we don’t stand against the devil’s schemes in our own authority but rather through the infallible, powerful Word of God
We have what we need, the full armor of God, always available, but we must put it on, finding the strength to do so in His mighty power (Eph. 6:10). You’ll find two different Greek words as to how we’re to appropriate this armor:
v. 11 – endyo – It’s like putting on clothing we sink into, wearing it like it’s a part of us.
v. 13 – analambano – It’s like taking up or taking to oneself something we receive, not something naturally a part of us.
We persist in our church growth efforts when under attack through divine intervention (2 Cor. 10:4). We get so acquainted with the resources God provides that we’d feel naked if we proceeded without them.