Trucks, cars, guns/hunting, soldiers, cowboys, football, basketball, sledding, bicycles & motorcycles, hiking, the farm, the outdoors, the Word of God, the local church, The Wilds, evangelism, and strong preaching! That sort of sums up my boyhood years right through my teens. Just typing those words brings back some really great memories! These were some of the important ingredients of growing into manhood that my parents always gladly provided (except the motorcycle) and encouraged. There is so much I would love to share with you about each one. My background is one of the reasons I love Ephesians 6:10-20. Read it as a boy all dressed up in his cowboy boots w/ holster and six-shooter or as a soldier in your front yard with the neighborhood boys getting ready to take out the enemy or baling hay and stacking it up in the top of the barn on a blistering hot day or as it is so portrayed, putting on your shield, armor and sword and preparing for battle! Read it with some umphh in your voice; with gravel in your teeth; with heart pumping out of your chest; and sweat oozing from underneath your helmet!!
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 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. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
Are you ready for battle? Is your heart still pumping with vigor? Is this a manly passage or what? Wow!!! Men, I notice something that is so manly coming out of this passage that is a huge need in our lives today—-it is verse 18. I will say it now rather than lead into it by more verbiage—–you are no more a man than when you are in earnest prayer on your knees before God the Father!!! The dressing room for the armor of God is the prayer room. There you put on each piece which is Christ (Next Tuesday, we will examine each part of the armor). Oh, just look at those manly words in verse 18, praying always, being watchful to the end, perseverance. That’s the characteristics of a strong man, a man of truth, faith, ready for daily conflict, and ready to defend and protect!
Men, we must be men of prayer! For far too long, the ladies have led the charge when it comes to this awesome privilege. I am so grateful for a praying wife and a praying mom, but oh the sight I see right now is the many, many times I saw my dad on his knees weeping for lost souls within his family, church and city, crying out for revival among the saints, adoring his Heavenly Father through intercession and supplication, and praising God for all His goodness in answered prayer and for Who He is!!! Thanks, Dad!! The Tonka trucks and cap pistols are long gone—but the need for men of prayer remains!!!! How are you dressed today, men?