Do politically active Christians understand the armor of God?

Do politically active Christians understand the armor of God? Judging by the words from Ron DeSantis and people’s reactions to those words, I’m sad to say that, in far too many cases, the answer is no. In fact, I’ll go further and say that politically active Christians who support DeSantis and the words coming from him don’t understand Christianity. They don’t understand some core statements from the Bible on Jesus or what He commanded His followers.

Do politically active Christians understand the armor of God?

Before we get into what he said, let’s look at the adjacent image, and make some statements about it.

First, the armor of God is most decidedly not actual armor.

Neither is it putting our adversary physically on the ground.

And it’s not about driving a physical sword through them.
Not even about threatening to do such a thing.

And let’s end with the reality that it’s not even about fighting against people.

There is more. We’ll get into the details as we proceed to look at what DeSantis has said. Over a period of years. Sadly, to the delight of too many Christians. Even, I’m very sorry to say, some Christian leaders.

Ron DeSantis says he’ll put on the full armor of God

Back on June 23, 2021 a CBN News headline read, “Ron DeSantis Says He Will Put on ‘Full Armor of God’ to Fight Leftism: ‘Our Rights Come from God'”.

The article started off with:

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said over the weekend he is prepared to put on the “full armor of God” to fight against leftism.

That’s right, he’s going to put on the full armor of God. There’s no reason to expect non-Christians ro know what this refers to. It’s directly from the Bible. We’ll get into it shortly, but it’s not what non-Christians probably think it is. And Christians should know perfectly well that it’s not at all what DeSantis spoke about.

The popular governor made the comment during his speech Saturday at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s “Road to Majority” conference, where he received several standing ovations.

The name, Faith and Freedom, should tell us a lot. Christian freedom isn’t about freedom from the alleged tyranny of the left. It’s about freedom from the tyranny of sin. Freedom from the “wages of sin”. Freedom to spend eternity in Heaven, rather than the Hell everyone so clearly deserves. That’s what the Christian Bible says. More on that will follow.

The fact that DeSantis got standing ovations tells us even more. The people giving that standing ovation clearly don’t know, or don’t care, what the Bible they claim to believe and follow actually says. In His life, Jesus didn’t ever turn to the government for any kind of assistance with His mission to spread the Gospel.

Nor did Jesus ever mislead anyone about what the Bible said. Neither did Jesus ever try to get people to become a government majority, with the goal of forcing His “Way” on people.

What does DeSantis say putting on the full armor of God is about?

The article also included:

“It ain’t going to be easy,” he said. “You got to be strong. You got to put on the full armor of God. You got to take a stand — take a stand against the left’s schemes. You got to stand your ground. You got to be firm. You will face flaming arrows, but take up the shield of faith and fight on.”

“So I look forward to joining with you in the battles to come,” the governor continued. “I can tell you that, in the state of Florida, I’ll be holding the line. I’ll be standing my ground. I won’t back down, and I have only begun to fight.”

In reality, this is a line-by-line, blow-by-blow statement to anyone who understands even a little bit about the armor of God, that DeSantis has at least one problem.

  • Maybe DeSantis really doesn’t understand the armor of God.
  • Maybe he does understand, but is using it anyway to get people riled up.
  • Maybe he does understand, and uses it anyway, substituting his own purposes for those of the Christian God whose people really should know is wrong.

What did CBN say about DeSantis and his take on the armor of God?

Would you believe, CBN, Christian Broadcasting Network, reached no conclusions about what DeSantis said?

The article closed with this:

“We need a renewal of American civics back in our public school system and in our schools,” DeSantis said. “People need to be taught why America was founded, what the principles that made our country unique were. They need to be taught that our rights do not come from government; they come from God.”

“They need to be taught American history,” he explained. “It needs to be factual, needs to be honest, need to talk about, of course, many great achievements — many, many great lows, many triumphs, many tragedies, but that needs to be done honestly. And it cannot be infected with ideologies like critical race theory.”

Given that this was the close, and nothing else was said either way, CBN’s silence has to be considered as an endorsement of DeSantis’ words. I don’t say this blindly, or without reason. The logo at the top left of the website page says, “CBN News – The Christian Perspective”. The reality that they didn’t say anything against it, when they should have denounced it, is a ringing endorsement the way I see it.

What is the full armor of God? The real Christian Perspective.

I’m going to do something unusual, at least for me. Namely, let’s start at the end. Then we’ll circle back to it.

A reference point for the armor of God

Eph 6:19 Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

This is how Paul concluded the passage on the armor of God. There are some things to make note of before we look into what Paul wrote about that “armor”.

  • whenever I open my mouth – not just sometimes, but whenever. Not only on Sundays during service, but every day. And not just in some circumstances, but always, no matter the circumstances.
  • words may be given me – not Paul’s words about his own wishes, desires, wants, Etc. Instead, inspiration from God. About what God wishes, desires, and wants, in order to accomplish what comes next:
  • so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel – the earlier points were about Paul being able to truthfully, with God’s help, spread the good news of Jesus. Notice, truthfully and from God. He does not want to add in anything of himself, or from other people. Or make his message what people want to hear, as opposed to what God has to say.
  • for which I am an ambassador in chains – far from preaching a message of human freedom, Paul’s message is made known whether he is free or in prison. There are examples of his successfully preaching not just to other prisoners, but even to the Roman guards.

So now, let’s look at the passage, with those points in mind.

Whose power and strength is involved in using the armor of God?

The Armor of God

Eph 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

Notice, right away, what Paul wrote about strength and power. Be strong in God. Use God’s power. Not our own strength or our own power.

While we’re doing that, we need to remember, and to understand, something Jesus said.

Ask, Seek, Knock – Matthew

7:7-11 pp — Lk 11:9-13

Mt 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Mt 7:9 “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

We love to read the first verse and claim Jesus will give us whatever we want. There’s just one problem with that thinking. It’s wrong!

First off, we must realize, and remember, this passage is part of the Sermon on the Mount. It’s part of Jesus’ overall statement on His earthly ministry. We cannot take portions of it, ignore the rest, and have any hope of understanding the words we extracted.

To that end, here’s one commentator’s view of the first two verses.

7:7, 8 If we think that we can live out the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount by our own strength, we have failed to realize the supernatural character of the life to which the Savior calls us. The wisdom or power for such a life must be given to us from above. So here we have an invitation to ask and keep on asking; to seek and keep on seeking; to knock and keep on knocking. Wisdom and power for the Christian life will be given to all who earnestly and persistently pray for it.

Taken out of context, verses 7 and 8 might seem like a blank check for believers, i.e., we can get anything we ask for. But this is simply not true. The verses must be understood in their immediate context and in light of the whole Bible’s teaching on prayer. Therefore, what seems like unqualified promises here are actually restricted by other passages. For example, from Psalm 66:18 we learn that the person praying must have no unconfessed sin in his life. The Christian must pray in faith (Jas. 1:6–8) and in conformity with the will of God (1 Jn. 5:14). Prayer must be offered persistently (Luke 18:1–8) and sincerely (Heb. 10:22a).  [1]MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments (A. Farstad, Ed.; p. 1228). Thomas Nelson.

In other words, when we ask, seek, knock for something where our will matches up with God’s, we will receive it. But even then, receipt will come at a time that also aligns with God’s will. After all, we’re not God. God is God. We’re the ones who promised to follow Jesus, to bring glory to God. It’s not about us, our selfish wishes, or our glory.

Already, we should be questioning DeSantis and those who call themselves Christians while they cheer him on. We haven’t even gotten to the armor of God yet, and already DeSantis is way off track with the passage in the Bible. This should be obvious even to non-Christians. Sadly, maybe more obvious to those outside the faith than to those inside who are blinded by their own desires and the hope that DeSantis will bring them to existence.

Who are we “fighting” when wearing the armor of God?

Eph 6:11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 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.

If you haven’t yet realized we’re totally off the rails between DeSantis’ words and the Bible, maybe this will do it. Earlier, I said we’re not literally/physically fighting against people. It’s nothing like that image at the top of the page.

No – this is the battle between good and evil. A spiritual battle. Against the devil. Maybe you don’t believe in the devil? You should check out If you don’t believe in the devil, then … .

By the way, if you truly don’t believe in the devil, then the armor of God has no value for you. As I said, it’s not for use against people. And we cannot, no matter what we might want to believe, use God’s armor for any purpose other than that which He says is OK. Worse yet, if we think we are using the armor of God for some other purpose, in some other fashion, then we are actually being used by the devil and are using his “armor”.

If you’re not Christian, that last part may be too much for you at this point. And that’s OK. I do pray you’ll take the time to learn about it though. However, if you are Christian and don’t believe this, then you really need to take time to learn about what you claim to believe. Why? Because DeSantis is totally, completely wrong about what the armor of God is for. The reality is, people on both the left and the right, as can be clearly seen in our political environment, are not interested in God. Not unless “interest in God” is defined as using God to obtain their own power.

In any case, we must view government the same way Jesus did.

Jesus Before Pilate

18:29-40 pp — Mt 27:11-18, 20-23; Mk 15:2-15; Lk 23:2, 3, 18-25

Jn 18:28 Then the Jews led Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness the Jews did not enter the palace; they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?”

Jn 18:30 “If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed him over to you.”

Jn 18:31 Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.”
“But we have no right to execute anyone,” the Jews objected. 32 This happened so that the words Jesus had spoken indicating the kind of death he was going to die would be fulfilled.

Jn 18:33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

Jn 18:34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”

Jn 18:35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “It was your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”

Jn 18:36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

Jn 18:37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

Jn 18:38 “What is truth?” Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him. 39 But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?”

Jn 18:40 They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” Now Barabbas had taken part in a rebellion.

Notice what Jesus said in verse 36. “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

If we truly are followers of Jesus, our interest must lie in the Kingdom of God. Our goal must be to enter into the Kingdom of God. And if we place the kingdom of man, Democrat, Republican, whatever, above God, then we cannot and will not enter God’s Kingdom. Remember something else Jesus said.

The Greatest Commandment – Matthew

22:34-40 pp — Mk 12:28-31

Mt 22:34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Mt 22:37 Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Again – ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. When we do that, we’ll know what the armor of God is truly about. What it’s for, and what it’s not for.

How/why do we put on the full armor of God?

OK. stay with me here. Usually, people go through the details of the armor of God. Things like what each piece is for. And the historical reason for those pieces, which came from the Roman army. And it’s all good stuff. It’s important to know.

But let’s do something different here. Let’s look at the forest, not the individual trees. Let’s look at the big picture, rather than looking at each piece of the full armor of God. Just so we’re on the same page, here’s that portion of the passage.

Eph 6:13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 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 saints.

Now, here’s the big-picture question. What is the purpose of the full armor of God? Answer the question, not from DeSantis’ point of view, but from the point of view expressed by Paul. After all, Paul’s writing is the inspired word of God, according to a basic tenant of the Christian faith. And Ron DeSantis’ point of view is, well, the point of view of Ron DeSantis.

It’s quite simple, really. The passage even follows today’s writing structure.

  1. Say what you’re going to write about.
  2. Write about your message.
  3. Say what you just wrote about.

According to that structure, the items are as follows.

  1. Verse 13.
    • 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
  2. Verses 14-17.
    • 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
  3. Verse 18.
    • 18 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 saints.

What is the full armor of God about?

Christians should put on the full armor of God to stand firm against evil. Notice though, it’s not about attacking people. In fact, it’s not about attacking at all. The full armor of God is to prevent us from, in Star Wars type terminology, turning to the dark side. Furthermore, it’s spiritual not physical. Finally, it’s about prayer. Why Prayer? Because we are not to do the “fighting”. God will do that. The full armor of God us to fully protect us and keep us on the narrow path laid out by Jesus. And, by the way, full includes understanding what the armor of God is for and how it’s to be used.

And why does that description make the DeSantis approach invalid?

  • He goes on the attack, which we should not.
  • And he goes against people, while our defense should be spiritual against Satan and his fallen angels. As mentioned earlier, while it’s not exactly in vogue to believe in the devil, we must consider that Jesus spoke of him frequently. And even modeled how we should deal with him. And it wasn’t by attacking.
  • He made it about himself and other people in the so-called religious right. God is mentioned only in relation to the armor of God, which is then used for a purpose other than what the Bible tells us it’s for.
  • The freedom that comes from the armor of God is the freedom to not get off the narrow path that leads to the Kingdom of Heaven. Not only is DeSantis’ use of the armor of God invalid and 180 degrees opposite from what the Bible tells us, those same things actually take us off the narrow path to Heaven and onto the wide path that leads to the place meant for the devil and his fallen angels.

What should be we like when we wear the full armor of God?

If God is love, and we are really trying to be more Christ-like, then our lives should be evidence of God’s kind of love. Paul wrote a wonderful description of it.

Love – 1 Corinthians

And now I will show you the most excellent way.

1Co 13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

1Co 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1Co 13:8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

1Co 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

I’m curious. Just much much alignment is there between DeSantis’ behavior and Paul’s description of love? When we support any political candidate, DeSantis or anyone else, do you think we’re actually following Jesus – His way of life, His teaching, His commands to us – when there’s little to nothing of God’s kind of love in the person we support? Especially when we do it because we think we’re being “good Christians”?

Paul’s closing to The Armor of God

Eph 6:19 Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Paul asks others to pray for Him. Just like we pray for others. And as we should ask others to pray for us. However, we need to remember that Ask and you will receive doesn’t mean we always get what we want!

Conclusion – Do politically active Christians understand the armor of God?

After all this, do politically active Christians understand the armor of God?

Honestly, I don’t know what goes through people’s heads. It’s very possible that some do. And yet, from what I see on the news, what I read from middle-of-the-road news sites (no extreme and no social media), I have to question that.

Every political party makes claims to entice Christian voters. Sometimes they do things that appear to support Christians. But the question should come up – do the ends justify the means? Should we make a deal with the devil to gain any level of “support” for Christianity? Did Jesus ever do that? Uh – no! So why do we think it’s OK?

My goal here, as with many other articles on the site, is to get us to think.

Christians really need to think about things from Jesus’ perspective. For instance, no matter how great the result might appear to be, is love, God’s kind of love, involved? There’s an important reason I ask that question about love. Do you know/remember about the Church in Ephesus, in Revelation? Here’s what Jesus told them:

To the Church in Ephesus

Rev 2:1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:

These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands: 2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.

Rev 2:4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5 Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. 6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

Rev 2:7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

The bottom line here, to cut to the chase with the imagery, is that Jesus told this church they’re in danger of losing their status as a church of God! That’s incredibly bad. And do you know why? Because although they continued to do a lot of the “right” things, they did them with no love. The kind of love Paul wrote about was absent. So Jesus told them they need to get it back.

I think that’s something for all of us to consider, especially in times like this where Christians are so involved in so many things that will absolutely cause us to compromise our faith. And because of all those compromises, we will lose the ability to show the love of God.


Image by Jiří Pohlídal from Pixabay


References

References
1 MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments (A. Farstad, Ed.; p. 1228). Thomas Nelson.

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