Integrity


To be undefeated, you must be undivided.





For three centuries, the Roman army conducted morning inspections. Each soldier put on his armor and stood before a Centurion. The Centurion would look over the soldier and then strike the breastplate over his heart. The Centurion listened for two sounds. The first was the distinct ring of well-kept armor. The second was the reply of the soldier, "Integritas." 





Integritas is a Latin word that means wholeness, completeness, entirety. We now use the word integrity to speak of a person of good character. A person with integrity is morally sound. He is undivided.





By the late 4th century, the laziness of Roman culture also crept into the military. There were no more morning drills. Because the soldiers rarely wore it, the armor started to feel heavy and cumbersome. Inspections became infrequent. Soon the soldiers chose to wear less armor.





In 410 AD Rome was sacked by the Visigoths. The Roman army fell to an inferior enemy it had successfully held off for 400 years. Why? One historian wrote that the soldiers fought without hardly a helmet or a breastplate. They were easy prey for the enemy's archers. They lacked integrity. (John Di Frances, Reclaiming the Ethical High Ground (Reliance Books, 2002), pp.103-106)





To be undefeated, you must be undivided.





We have a powerful, spiritual enemy (Ephesians 6:12). In and of ourselves, we have no power to defeat them nor withstand them. But God supplies His people with armor. 





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 . . . (Ephesians 6:13-17).





Each piece is important





Integrity requires that all of the armor is worn. There is no room for laziness or compromise. There are no shortcuts to the "whole armor of God."





Truth. Righteousness. Salvation. The gospel. Faith. The Spirit. Prayer.





For many a disciple, it has been death by devotional. We want a short, quick fix of inspiration rather than deep meditation on the Word of God. 





Paul begins with the "belt of truth" because the armor fits together and works together. Integrity is important.  





Each piece is spiritual





Paul uses the image of a physical soldier to convey spiritual truth. Our enemy is spiritual, so we do not cover our head in metal but in salvation. 





There is no breastplate hanging in our closet, but there is no excuse for lacking spiritual discipline. We pray, read, and meditate on God's Word. And we do so daily! Truth and prayer are potent weapons in a spiritual war. 





Each piece is front-facing





We do not retreat. God has called us to stand. He has not called us to hurry. 





Notice in the armor that there is plenty of protection for the front. There is protection for a retreat. 





A return to the past makes you easy prey. Face forward. 





Stand behind God's shield. Wield God's Sword. Rest in His righteousness. Keep it all out front.





Integritas!





Bible Study





Read Ephesians 6:13-20.





  • List the commands in this passage.
  • What does this passage teach us about practicing daily spiritual disciplines?
  • What does this passage teach us about prayer?




Challenge





Work through each piece of the armor of God. Read about spiritual disciplines at https://bible.org/illustration/spiritual-disciplines. Look for connections between the armor of God and spiritual disciplines. What kind of daily spiritual habits would help you to apply the whole armor of God?




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