When contemplating the armor of God listed in Ephesians 6 on one occasion, it suddenly occurred to me that all of the protection it provided faced forward. It seemed that armor provided no protection for its wearer’s back. This seemed strange to me since a sword in the back will kill you as quickly as a sword in the front. As I usually do whenever I don't understand something in Scripture, I asked the Lord about it. Suddenly I saw something I had never seen before. I had always seen the passage on the armor of God as Ephesians 6:10-17, ending with “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” Now the next verse jumped off the page.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. —EPHESIANS 6:18
I heard the voice of the Holy Spirit in my heart. You are your brother’s back armor. And suddenly I saw it. We are supposed to have each other’s backs. We are supposed to be praying for each other and looking out for each other. This is part of the armor God intended. This means none of us are intended to go into battle alone. We need our brothers and sisters. But unfortunately we often see Christians stabbing the very backs they are supposed to be protecting. I believe this grieves the heart of God and makes all of us more vulnerable to the enemy.
There are two important takeaways from this. First, it is important that you are plugged in to a spiritual community. You need the support, accountability, and love of the body of Christ. You need to be submitted in love to your spiritual family and be loyal to them. This is one of the best safeguards you can have in spiritual warfare.
I watched a nature documentary recently that followed a pride of lions hunting in the Maasai Mara in Kenya. As the pride approached a herd of wildebeests, the frightened animals began to run together as one, almost as though they were being directed. The massive herd caused the earth to rumble, and the lions, moving as a unit, found no opportunity for attack. Then on the edge of the herd one lone wildebeest separated itself from the group. It decided to make a run for it all on its own and began running a different direction. Immediately the pride focused in on the lone wildebeest and ran him down.
We are called the body of Christ, the family of God, and the ecclesia, or the assembly. All of these names describe a group. There is a great lesson here. This thing we call Christianity is intended to be done in community with others of like-minded faith. There is safety in numbers. Those who separate themselves and strike out alone become easy prey for the devil, who walks around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
The second takeaway is this: make sure you are looking out for your brothers and sisters in Christ the way you want them to look out for you. Rather than gossiping and slandering, uphold your spiritual family in prayer. Fight for them. Be loyal to them. Be generous, be kind, be patient, and above all be loving.
Daniel Kolenda appears this Tuesday and Thursday on LIFE TODAY. This is an excerpt from Slaying Dragons by Daniel Kolenda. Copyright ©2019 by Daniel Kolenda. Published by Charisma House. Used by permission.