One of the interesting things about wrestling is that it is dependent upon throws and grips, grabbing and tussling. The is true of Greco-Roman wrestling or its modern variant, Judo. So, when the Greeks would wrestle they would wrestle nude, because they didn't want to give the opponent anything to grab on to. However this was not the only reason they wrestle nude.
"sodomy of a man with a boy," c.1600, from French pédérastie or directly from Modern Latin pæderastia, from Greek paiderastia "love of boys," from paiderastes "pederast, lover of boys," from pais (genitive paidos) "child, boy" (see pedo-) + erastes "lover," from erasthai "to love" (see Eros).
Historically the Ancient Greek society found it acceptable for grown men to be sexually attracted to young boys. While the older gentleman were teaching the younger men the arts of war, competition and manhood, they were also checking them out. Thus, the idea of Greek nude wrestling carried with it the undercurrent of an socially acceptable and yet Biblically inappropriate relationship or attraction.
So when the Bible says " we wrestle no against flesh and blood..." there is the implication that demons have an intimate interest in seeing us in what the Bible would call depraved, immoral relationships, behaviors, thoughts, and intentions.
Think back a little bit with me...back to Genesis 3. When Adam and Eve ate the fruit the Bible says they knew they were naked and hid themselves. "Now Jason", you may be saying, "the Bible in Genesis 2 says that they were naked and unashamed. So what's your point?" The Bible does say that they were naked and unashamed. The word used to describe them there carries the idea of a nakedness that is appropriate to one's age and maturity. However, the nakedness described in Genesis 3 carries the idea of a return to prepubescent hairlessness, or being nude. There was a vulnerability and shame attached to this type of nakedness, and Adam and Eve knew it. This is why they made fig leaves.
Satan is vulnerable. He and his angels desire that were should be as vulnerable as they are. In order to wrestle with Demons, one must spiritual, intellectually, emotionally, step down from being above them in Jesus. When we step down from Jesus who is our covering, we are as nude and vulnerable as they are. Once we do this, and engage them on their terms and turf, our behavior will soon follow. We will wallow in the mire of our depravity until, like the Prodigal Son, we remember that our Father is standing up waiting for us, hoping for us, looking for us.
Ever time Paul in Ephesians says Stand!, it is related to armor. Why so? This is because Paul does not deny the warfare we exist in, and yet he does not want us fighting on demonic terms. Thus Stand! is follow by the command to Gear Up!
Our Gear is called Armor, which informs us that we are to fight this war very differently from Satan and his foes, as well as others who don't know Jesus. We are not wrestlers. We are soldiers.
Girdle of Truth: This girdle is the most intimate thing on the body, as it covers the genitals. Where as a wrestler lets all his body be seen by the public, the soldier does not. He cannot afford to let his vulnerability be so easily accessed. Thus, the Christian soldier hides vulnerability in the Truth. What does God say about you? What does the Bible say about you?
Is it possible to have feelings contrary to the truth? Sure
Is it possible that wearing God's truth is so foreign to me because the lewdness of wrestling has been my life's norm? Sure
Is if possible that I look and/or feel awkward in God's truth for a while as I learn how to live as a soldier. Sure.
These are the things Satan and his demons use to get us, and keep us, out of the truth. Put on truth anyway!
Breastplate of Righteousness: The breastplate protects the vital organs of the body. It is the holiness of Jesus that protects our heart, which it is easily swayed and tricked. This righteousness covers me. It is not mine. It was given to me, made for me, and does not come from me.
Many of us want our own righteousness. We want to be able to stand waging war in our own skin, and be fine. However, that is not possible. Just as Adam and Eve needed the skins of another after they fell to cover them from the elements now affected by sin, so also we need the life of Another to cover us from the attacks of sin.
This breastplate speaks of Christ's life for mine, covering me and hiding my flaws, protecting my feelings with the holiness of Jesus. Nothing of my past can be used against me unless I take off this breastplate.
Shoes of the Gospel of Peace: "justified by faith, we now have peace with God...." What a relief it is to be at peace with God! To no longer be an enemy, to be reconciled from all things sinful and vile! To be part of the heavenly Family, free from all restraint, constraint, and addiction! We can look God in the face, come boldly before the throne of grace, for get the thing that are behind as we press forward in our spiritual race! Peace with God!
I work in a hospital. One of the first things I was taught as a chaplain is that I am to be a peaceful presence. Thus, even when I walk to Code Blue, I walk slower than others. I am not in a hurry. I am not frantic. I am restful and peaceful in my movements, so i can be restful and peaceful in my presence.
The Shoes of the Gospel of Peace tell us that as Christians we are no longer rushing to prove something, to gain something, to earn something, to be something. When we receive Jesus, we are able to move at a restful gait, with a peaceful presence, knowing that we walk before God clean and pure.
Shield of Faith: This is one place that we need to slow down. This is a subsection within Gear Up! I like to call Group Up! Many times when we read this passage, I think the picture in our minds is of a lone soldier with his gear defeating the hordes of evil and temptation in the name of Jesus.
In reality however, Roman soldiers didn't fight alone. They were known as the little men who carried doors to battle, because their shields were so big. When they fought, they fought as a unit, each one's shield interlocking with the those to the left and right, creating an impenetrable wall. Those behind would lift their shields on top creating a roof above the unit. They even had a "turtle" formation in which the entire unit was surrounded by shields.
The point here is that no one wins alone. There are no Christian superheroes. We are a team, a family, or we are nothing. Within team is accountability, authenticity, dependency...I need you on my left and right to watch my weak spot, and you need me to defend yours. Wearing our shoes of peace, we can stand firm, confident, deliberate, as a unified team, for wherever we place out feet it is already conquered territory.
Helmet of Salvation: The helmet protects the head, the brain. The head sees and understands the enemy. The head decides the course of action for the rest of the body. This is saying that the protection for my head and the guide of my living is the reality of the salvation I am living under. I am not resisting to evil in oder to be saved, but because I am saved.
The Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God: The non-Roman tribes, or Barbarians, would go into battle against Roman legions carrying small shields and huge swords, like the one Mel Gibson carries in Braveheart. In many cases the Barbarians had a section of their armies called berserkers, who went to war wearing nothing but war paint, carrying their big sword or battle ax. The Romans would march in with their big shields, and short swords. The large weapons of the Barbarians could not penetrate the Roman shield wall, and if one got too close to the advancing Roman Legion, they would simply hack you to pieces with their short swords. Once one was with in their range, the large weapons were ineffective.
We are not to chase Satan down. We are to Stand! our ground as a unit, and if Satan and his minions get too close, we are to stay behind our shields of faith and hack them to pieces with the Word of God. None of Satan's weapons can penetrate faith, and once close a naked demon is defenseless against the Word!
Rom 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light!
Rom 13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof!
Gal 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ!
This is our armor. All this armor talk is really telling us to never cast off our dependency and relationship with Jesus for some form of self-determination, self-help, self-identity, attempting to prove we are christians by engaging in the spiritually emotional wrestling match with beings whom Jesus has already defeated.
#StayClothed #StayCovered #StayArmored #StayontheTeam