Don’t toughen up, Suit up!by Cynthia Jennings on August 11, 2021
Have you ever been told, “you just need to toughen up!”
There have been instances when I uttered those very words to myself after being unheard, misunderstood or referred to in unkind ways. In those past moments not only did I feel shamed by the words of others, but I also felt ashamed of myself for letting them crush me.
The desire to self-protect is a normal human reaction-especially in a world that can be so cruel.
Over time God had to show me that when I toughened up, I became cynical and less sensitive to His voice and the needs around me. He also showed me I was keeping people at a distance as I built up a thick layer of skin---insulating myself from some of the very people He wanted me to reach.
We all want to be used by God, but often are hesitant or tired of feeling attacked. So, how do we protect ourselves when hurtful things are hurled our way?
We must remember that people are not our real enemy. Satan—the father of lies, the deceiver, the accuser of us all is our true enemy (Ephesians 6:12).
We must also remember it’s not our job to protect ourselves by toughing up. Instead, we need to prayerful put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-11).
Putting on armor that we can’t see may cause some doubt when it come to the effectiveness of the armor. But remember the battle we’re in doesn’t take place in the flesh, although it may look as if it does. We’re fighting a spiritual battle, therefore it’s imperative to understand the importance of each piece of armor and how it protects us.
The Belt of Truth (vs14A): A soldier is only ready for battle when girded with their belt. The belt of a Roman soldier held all other pieces of armor together. To be fitted with this belt, meant the soldier was ready to face action.
Truth is the belt that holds the believers’ armor together as well. Truth is found in God’s Word and in the person of Jesus Christ (John 14:6). We must know this truth in order to protect ourselves against our flesh, and the lies of the enemy.
The Breastplate of Righteousness (vs 14B): The breastplate was the piece of armor that protect the Roman soldiers’ vital organs in the heat of a battle when he wasn’t quick enough to raise his shield.
We have no righteousness apart from that which has been given to us by Christ. Our breastplate is His righteousness. Being rooted in God’s Word is powerful in identifying things in our life that strength us and things that weaken us in order to protect our heart from the vices of the enemy.
Feet Shod with Preparation (vs 15): Roman soldier’s feet were fitted with sandals called caligae. These sandals with thick soles wrapped perfectly around their ankles to protect the feet from blistering during long marches into battle, as well as fashioned with spikes on the bottom to help them stand firm.
As Believers we stand firm by being rooted in the Gospel. Our hope is in Jesus Christ and we have peace in knowing we are secure in what Jesus has done for us, thus preparing us to spread The Gospel.
The Shield of Faith (vs 16): The Roman soldier’s shield was a complex piece of defensive armor; made of impenetrable wood, leather, canvas, and metal and could be doused in water to extinguish the fiery arrows of the enemy.
Faith is the primary defensive weapon of the Believer. Trusting in God’s power and protection is imperative in remaining steadfast. When the battle rages, we must remember that God works all things for good. He is always true to His promises.
The Helmet of Salvation(vs17a): The Roman soldier’s head is one of his most vulnerable areas. Without his helmet, that covers the entire head, facial area and between the eyes, one blow to the head would prove fatal. His armor would prove useless if he wasn’t equipped with his helmet.
The believer’s helmet of salvation is the most crucial piece of armor. Without the indwelling Holy Spirit that enters a believer at the moment of salvation, all other armor is useless. Salvation empowers believers to fight. It protects us in our weaknesses. Without salvation, there is no victory.
The Sword of the Spirit (vs 17b): The sword is the only piece of armor that’s used defensively and offensively. The sword, was a deadly weapon. In the hands of a skilled warrior, he could pierce through even the strongest armor.
The Believers sword is the Word of God, both the written and the incarnate Word. Every other piece of armor protects us against attacks. God’s Word can protect us from the lies of the enemy, as well as counter attack (Matthew 4). With God’s Word, we are truly able to fight and defeat all enemies.
The One who has won the war is with us in the battle. We will see victory when we fight in His power!
PEARLStoPONDER: God hasn’t called us to toughen up against people. He has equipped us to suit up against the true enemy. Remember we are surrounded by God’s love, covered by His armor and graced with His Truth.
Psalm 18:2: The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.