Saturday, November 28, 2009
In his letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul wrote, "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore, take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand" (Ephesians 6:11-13). Paul continued his letter by telling the Ephesians what they needed to do in order to stand tall in difficult times. Paul listed several individual body parts and how to protect them. I found the order of his list to be very interesting. The first body part named by Paul was the loins: "Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth" (v 14). The loins represent virtue, chastity, and creative power. They are located in the lower back and are protected by a sash or belt, which represents truth. Truth is knowledge of things as they were, as they are now, and how they will be (Doctrine and Covenants 93:24). Truth is a standard by which we can measure our conduct. Truth can protect from unseen attackers. Truth can make your truly free. The second item of armor named by Paul is the breastplate: "… and having on the breastplate of righteousness" (v 14). The breastplate protects the heart, which is the source of feelings, attitudes, and conduct. Knowing truth gives one a measure to judge right and wrong. One's conduct will be measured by that which one knows. Paul then explains that the feet must be protected also: "And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace" (v 15). The feet represent movement or direction one is headed - one's goals in life. The "gospel of peace" is the gospel taught by Jesus Christ. One's goals should be based on gospel principles. The last item of armor mentioned by Paul is the helmet: "And take the helmet of salvation…." (v 17). The helmet guards the head, representing the need to guard one's thoughts. A helmet of salvation will guide one's thinking throughout life. Keeping one's thoughts clean and pure is necessary to be truly saved. Paul's armored man carries a shield in one hand: "Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked" (v 16). Paul also suggested that the armored man carried a sword in his other hand: "… and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (v 17). There are no weapons more powerful than faith in God and a knowledge of His word as found in the scriptures. Everyone can prepare for battle with evil by obtaining and developing the proper armor and carrying powerful weapons: 1) Truth to safeguard virtue; 2) righteousness to keep conduct right; 3) gospel of peace to guide the course of life and to set proper standards, goals and aims; 4) a goal of salvation or returning to the presence of the Lord to guard our thoughts; 5) faith in God, the most important part; 6) knowledge of God as found in the scriptures and from living prophets. A modern day prophet, the late Gordon B. Hinckley, taught: "We are involved in an intense battle. It is a battle between right and wrong, between truth and error, between the design of the Almighty on the one hand and that of Lucifer on the other. For that reason, we desperately need moral men and women who stand on principle, to be involved in the political process. Otherwise, we abdicate power to those whose designs are almost entirely selfish" (Stand A Little Taller, p 15). I encourage all of us to become more involved in the political process by educating ourselves about the Constitution and what it means, by gaining information about politicians, by supporting only worthy politicians who will safeguard our freedoms, and by going to the polls to cast votes.