by Rev. Joda Collins
One of the most well-known and often quoted Bible passages relates to the Armour of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). It is a word-picture of the battle-ready Roman soldier with each part of his equipment (belt, helmet, sword, etc) assigned a spiritual implication for Christian service.
The Armour of God is Phase Three of Christian growth (maturity).
In the first Phase, we are introduced to spiritual gifts. Every Christian has at least one spiritual gift. A spiritual gift is a manifestation (revealing) of the Holy Spirit in our lives for the purpose of helping others in their walk with Christ. Spiritual gifts are listed in Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, 28 and Ephesians 4:11. We are confronted with the reality that we have a spiritual mandate to minister to others in the name of Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit.
In Phase Two, we realize we lack the "ability" to implement our spiritual gift or gifts. To a large degree, we lack the character to be good ministers of the spiritual gift or gifts supplied to us. God starts to work, with great diligence, on our character. He begins to build the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. The fruit of the Spirit is "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance." (Galatians 5:22-23).
If we have only the mandate to minister to others but not the character to be good ministers, the Apostle Paul calls our ministry just a lot of meaningless (ineffective) noise (1 Corinthians 13:1).
Once we have an understanding of our ministry role (gift or gifts) and enough of the fruit of the Spirit to be successful in ministry, we enter Phase Three of God's "ministry" plan for our lives. God tells us to put on His Armour so when we march into spiritual ministry we will defeat the demonic forces that come against every Christian who attempts to use his or her spiritual gift or gifts.
Phase One is discovering your spiritual gift or gifts. Phase Two is allowing God to develop His character in our life so we have the "heart and endurance" for successful (meaningful) ministry. Phase Three is putting on God's Armour and stepping out in faith into ministry that is empowered and protected by God.
What Phase are you at in your spiritual journey?
Rev. Joda Collins
I make no claim that my theological opinions are shared by anyone else.