|Posted by rjagilbert on December 15, 2013 at 8:15 PM|
Part 6 of the "wrong" armor.
The Demon Armor I address in this work is based on the Biblical “Armor of God” as listed in Ephesians 6. Most Christians are familiar with this passage and the spiritual trends represented. Few Christians, in reality, adhere to these spiritual traits. One or more of them have been replaced by the cursed armor-pieces I discuss here.
The Sword of Condemnation.
Finally we come to the cursed weapon that has conquered civilizations from the dawn of history. Prior to the days of Abraham, Egypt was ruled over not by the soldier class but by the priesthood. Modern-day nations in the Middle East still give power to religious leaders based on the fear of spiritual condemnation.
The ancient, demonic trend of this sword is the assertion: “Conform or die.” I have had it wielded against me as “Fall on your knees and beg for forgiveness,” or “How dare you question the Lord your God!”
External condemnation is different from the condemnation we feel in our hearts when personally confronted by the Holy Spirit. External condemnation is generally political in nature, spoken by one individual to shame another into conformation. “Shame on you for not doing what I think you should do!” In contrast, spiritual condemnation is a shame we need no one to voice because we know we are not doing what we should.
Political condemnation has been historically used to manipulate the masses, although any individual claiming religious authority over another (a husband or parent, for example) is tempted to use it to induce service or conformation. Sadly, this external condemnation often causes its recipient to grow numb to the accusation, eventually rendering the technique ineffective. Over-spanked children and pets often learn to ignore the pain of their punishment and pursue wrongdoing despite the consequences. Over-condemned individuals become hard-hearted in much the same way.
True spiritual condemnation comes from the Holy Spirit, which God has placed in all of us. This condemnation is not a sword wielded for wounding, but a surgical knife used in healing. The Holy Spirit quietly speaks life-giving words straight to our heart. It identifies the spiritual flaws and weaknesses that can and will cripple or kill our ministry. Only then can we begin to cut away at these cancerous regions of our soul.
Unfortunately, the Holy Spirit’s soft words of truth cannot penetrate the defenses of the Demon Armor. The Shield of Legalism aids in excusing any surgical condemnation that might not be deflected by the Helmet of Self-Righteousness’ oblivious denial. This is no way to live. In fact, in the end, this is how this cursed armor destroys its own wearer.
Originally this essay was titled "The Demon Armor," and you will see that I used that term several times throughout. The moniker creates an image of grotesque, horned faces, jagged claws and fangs, bat-like wings, flaming skulls, and a menagerie of other images associated with the “Demons” of old. These creatures, studied but never seen, are better left in the imagination. They are not what I aim to expose. The nature of Demonology I address is not the study of other things which can be blamed for all of humanity’s flaws. Demonology, responsibly taught, is the study of our own human nature. Man does not suffer so much from the claws and tusks of invisible, winged monkeys as he does from the foolishness and the free will of mankind—both his own and those around him.
The demons I reference in this work are the presence of trends that have persisted and proliferated throughout history. They are immortal in that they have outlived all cultures from the dawn of history. They are, in fact, all that remains of the ancient world. They are evil in that they could be attributed for the downfall of each of those cultures in which they proliferated. Despite their destructive nature—and they are destructive—they have never been wiped out. They are formidable foes; though many would strive to defeat them in physical combat, few are willing to face them directly…because they are within us.
I have addressed many (though not all) of Christianity’s faults through this metaphor of Demon Armor. I will not, in this work, try to interpret Paul’s Armor of God for what Paul meant it to be. There are enough works out there that interpret “Breastplate of Righteousness” into modern context that I feel no need to do it here. This work was written mainly as a means to identify that which all true Disciples of Christ should be aware of.