A Knife to a Gunfight
By Pastor Aaron Adame
In the timeless movie The Untouchables, which stars Kevin Costner and Sean Connery, there is a scene where Connery’s character, Jim Malone, confronts an intruder who has come to kill him. Malone, while brandishing a firearm, mocks the intruder who, as Malone sarcastically puts it, “[Has brought] a knife to a gunfight!”
This famous line from the movie reminds me of the topic of the armor of God. It does because so often, we as Christians are not only fighting the wrong battle (each other) but even in the right battle (spiritual warfare), we are using the wrong weaponry (human wisdom and devices).
But before I go into that, let me first establish the somewhat obvious (but perhaps forgotten) truth: We are in a spiritual battle! The apostle Paul talks about the cosmic battle that is active all around us in Ephesians: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12 ESV).
Behind everything going on in the world—and in your personal daily activity—there is a battle going on for people’s souls. This reality should cause us to get over our petty differences and pursue unity against our common enemy. Nothing would delight the enemy more than to see us destroy ourselves while he sits by with a bag of popcorn. But even as we do unite together in this spiritual battle, we need to be sure we are not bringing a knife to a gunfight—we need the armor of God.
“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”(Eph. 6:13-17 ESV).
Many have assumed what Paul has in mind here as he describes these pieces of armor are the Roman soldiers that stood guard over him as he sat in house arrest. And while that may be a possibility, the more likely possibility is that Paul is borrowing language from the prophet Isaiah, who speaks of God as a victorious warrior. The following references speak of the Lord God!
Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,
and faithfulness the belt of his loins. (Is 11:5)
How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings good news,
who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,
who publishes salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” (Is 52:7)
He put on righteousness as a breastplate,
and a helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on garments of vengeance for clothing,
and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak. (Is 59:17)
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD;
my soul shall exult in my God,
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
he has covered me with the robe of righteousness.” (Is 61:10)
So what image does Paul imagine in his head with the armor of God in order to help the believer in the spiritual battle? The image is that of being clothed in God himself. In other words, it is “to put on Christ” as Paul wrote in Romans 13. You see, in Christ, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. In Christ, we march in triumphal procession. In Christ, we have a victorious warrior who killed death when He died and pulled the teeth from our enemy when He rose again. In Christ, you have an advocate with the Father; a mediator who is ever making intercession for you before the throne of God as your accuser makes truth and false claims against you continually.
As followers of Christ, we are not only meant to put on Christ once when we receive salvation—like a graduate would wear her cap and gown once only to have it sit in her closet and collect dust afterward. Instead, we are reminded to daily walk in union with Christ—our victorious Warrior.
Are you walking in fellowship with Christ? Have you forgotten the resources you have through faith in Christ? Has the enemy been attacking? Put on the armor of God! Your enemy has brought a knife to a gunfight—his power is nothing compared to the Lord’s! Now, stand firm and pray!