For just over three months we have been reading through William Gurnall’s A Christian in Complete Armour together. For me it has been an encouraging experience and I look forward to some day reading through volumes 2 & 3. Today marks the conclusion of that series with a simply review of what we have learned.
The Christian life is one of constant discord. From the internal battle between flesh and spirit to the external battle between man and God, a spiritual war is being waged around us. So prominent and prevalent it is that a denial of it is a denial of current cultural circumstances.
Every generation thinks that the generation following them has drifted further than their own. With this mindset it is nothing less than intriguing then to read a book about spiritual warfare that is so relevant . . . yet it was written over 300 years ago! Compared to many other influential puritans, there is little known about William Gurnall. However, his book, A Christian in Complete Armour provides one of the most relevant and practical expositions of Ephesians 6:10-20 to be found.
Upon reading volume one of Banner of Truth’s wonderful three volume abridged version, I find it profitable to look at four major takeaways.
- Engage with God’s Battle: Fear often paralyzes us, so much so that we often evade engagement in the spiritual battle rather than encounter engagement in the spiritual battle. Having the assurance of God’s Word and character in conjunction with the provision of tools from God, fear should not be allowed to incapacitate us.
- Engage with God’s Tools: God has prepped His army, providing for them equipment that is sufficient to not only engage with the enemy but to triumph over him and his forces. However, the tools are meaningless if they are not used. For the armor to protect, it must be put on. For the sword to slay, it must be used. Furthermore, as it is used, it will wear out. It is in constant need of repair. We must be vigilant to the weaknesses within it and prepare it lest we lave the slightest weakness that allows the enemy to strike us.
- Engage with God’s Word: Every soldier is dressed specifically, with each piece of the suit providing for specific actions in either offense or defense. However, it is meaningless if one does not know how to use it. God’s Word provides description of not only how to use the military garb, but also the strategy for the battle. It must be read, studied, and committed to memory.
- Engage with God: The Lord is our commander. It is He we look to for our guidance, encouragement, leadership, and instruction. We must be certain then that we constantly engaged with Him. Keeping short accounts, we understand what is necessary, after all it is His battle that we placed in, not ours. He not only has the strategy for us to win, He is the way in which we win. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that we remain in close confidence to Him.
A look at these four takeaways may initially not seem profound at all. Many of us could look at this list and come up with them ourselves without reading A Christian in Complete Armour. However, if it were so simple, then we must ask, “Why is the body of Christ in such constant need of reminder of it?” Because it’s really not that simple. That’s where God has used William Gurnall’s writing immensely. In his description and reminder of the spiritual battle, God has gifted Gurnall with an ability to use imagery to convey the importance of the task, while also motivating believers to take action. It is not only a matter of understanding the truth God has given us, it is a matter of applying God’s truth. This is where the book has been so engaging for readers like us.
I trust you enjoyed this reading through the book and look forward to continuing fellowship with you with another book in the future. Check back in a couple of weeks to see what our next project will be!