Monday, September 24, 2012

Putting on the Armor of God

Among my favorite topics to discuss with my fellow warriors are the scriptures teaching us the all important principle of putting on the ‘Armor of God(Ephesians 6:11-18 and D&C 27:15-18).  This is no small topic and one that can fill volumes with gospel discussions.  There are some key elements for Latter Day Warriors that I’d like to point out, then I’d encourage you to prayerfully study these passages to find the personal meanings for yourself.

Of course the real world metaphor is that any warrior going to battle would never do so without his armor. A good warrior knows the value of defensive/offensive armor. Failure to properly fit, maintain, and utilize armor would result in severe injury or loss of life.  Putting on armor is not just a one-time action.  It requires constant training, conditioning, practice and skill.  I can’t just hand you a sword, helmet, breastplate, shield, etc… and say “Go to battle!”  You must first practice with this armor, and practice a lot! (Alma 46:21 think about how the Nephites come RUNNING with their armor ON...what that means in terms of preparation...)  You have to keep your armor in good condition and be comfortable with its use. In a similar fashion, you can’t wait until a crisis strikes before you start to practice with your armor.  It must be a habit well before you actually need it. It is often said that the best warriors are the best trained warriors.  SEAL’s, RECON Marines, Green Berets…you name them, they all train constantly so that when the call to action comes they are truly ready. (I’ve read where SEAL’s train with real bullets because of the slight difference in weight, recoil and smell than blanks.  They go through more ammo in training than other units combined.  All to practice so that when they have to use it for real, they know what they are doing.)

One lesson to be taken from this scripture is that we should be preparing as warriors in a very spiritual sense on a daily basis, just like real world warriors do.  We can’t expect to win battles with our adversary without this knowledge and the daily practice of it.  As we strive to become warriors, a key element in this progression is to put on our armor and use it. How do we do this? Simply put, it’s living those basic gospel principles on a daily, weekly, monthly basis.  Daily personal and family prayer, regular scripture study, going to our Church services, being a Latter-Day Saint in all that we do, but this isn’t all…these things have to be done in earnest.  We can’t put in a half-hearted effort here, just like Navy SEALS in training, it’s all or nothing. It isn’t enough to just pray etc…but we must Search, Ponder and Pray.  We must ask questions and seek honest and sincere answers.  We must exercise our priesthood in a manful way and we must “walk uprightly before God” (Alma 1:1). In our daily actions.  In short…we need to be sheepdogs, actively looking for weakness and fortifying it with diligence, faith and conviction, putting down evil and wickedness wherever we go. Like true warriors, we must always be “ON” and ready for action.

How do we go about doing that?  That is something that I hope that we can explore together.  There is a lot to explore…more than can be covered in just one post.

To help illustrate this concept of putting on the Armor of God, I’m going to offer you something special.  A while back I took this idea and illustrated it with some ‘trading cards’ for each piece of armor.  I’m going to give you the images of these cards. (Please feel free to download them and use them in your teaching, and your personal lives.  I just ask that you do not modify the artwork, alter the cards or try to replicate them for other purposes without my permission)  I actually had some of them printed up into real cards so these files are not the full resolution images.  The full res images are way too big to download.  The story of the creation of these cards will have to take up another post…but here they are:

There are actually three sets of armor cards that I've made; Spartan, Mayan and Modern (I'll put the others up another time, until then, enjoy this Greek/Spartan armor).  Each card is designed to contain a small, self enclosed lesson about that piece of armor, what it really is and spiritual applications of it.  They were a TON of fun to make, and I hope they can be useful to you.

In creating these cards, I did a substantial amount of study and research into armor, it’s uses and advantages/disadvantages of each piece.  In future posts I plan to share some of that knowledge with you as I believe that as warriors, we should know as much as possible how we might fortify ourselves just as real special forces warriors must know how to use every kind of weapon, vehicle, etc. that they may encounter…so do we need to understand how we can best use the armor at our disposal to fight our battles.

Keep getting stronger, keep learning to fight those spiritual battles.