Starting in verse 10 of Ephesians chapter 6, we see some of the most quoted scriptures and statements of the Bible and all of Christianity. The armor of God! These scriptures are so important, because can you imagine going into battle without protective gear on? Without a weapon? Doing so would greatly effect your chances of survival. For us, we can definitely give Satan a foothold or a way in if we aren’t prepared or geared up. Let’s read Ephesians 6, starting at verse 10…
“A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
What is Paul communicating is in order to defend ourselves from attacks of the devil, we must rely on God’s strength. Satan has plan to attack/destroy us. It is his ultimate goal. It’s his purpose and I know some days, it can really feel like he is winning.
As I was studying this chapter in more depth, something that occurred to me this time that hadn’t before was to take this principle or perspective if you will, of the armor of God and apply it to the church as whole, not just as individuals. The church has to be able to protect itself in this way too, especially in our current society and culture. I believe Paul was giving this advice and counsel not just to the individual but to the body as well. The whole body has to be armed. If Satan knows the weak spots and know what to look for to attack us as individuals there’s no way he doesn’t know the weak spots to look for in the church as well. In OUR church and the big “C” church as a whole. We have to stand firm against the devil’s scheme to destroy us and the church. Like we just quoted Paul’s very strong warnings that we are not fighting against flesh and blood, but we are fighting against unseen rulers with mighty power but we know God’s power and the power that we have through the Holy Spirit is far greater.
SO, let’s take a quick look at the armor and what it is used for…
The Belt of Truth — Satan fights with lies and sometimes those lies sound a whole lot like truth. We as believers have God’s truth, which we can use to defeat Satan’s lies.
The Breastplate of Righteousness — Satan often attacks our hearts. Our heart is where we hold our emotions, our identity, our trust. God’s righteousness is the armor that protects our hearts and ensures us of God’s love for us, which He showed by sending His only Son to die for us.
The Shoes of Peace — I’ve always thought of the peace that is mentioned here as a feeling of peacefulness, but that is not necessarily what is being described here. It’s peace that comes from the good news of gospel! These shoes of peace that God gives us are to motivate us to proclaim the good news of Jesus, without fear. Satan wants us to feel like the task of sharing the gospel is too big or that we can’t make a difference as one person so we might as well not even try.
The Shield of Faith — The shield enables us to protect ourselves from Satan’s fiery arrows that fly at us from every direction. Whether they be in the form of insults, setbacks, temptations. With God’s perspective, we can see beyond our circumstances.
The Helmet of Salvation — I don’t think it is any coincidence that salvation and a helmet are paired together here. Our minds are powerful and complex and I think we all struggle in some capacity with our thoughts. Satan wants is to doubt God, His Word, and ourselves. We have to use the helmet to protect our minds.
The Sword of The Spirit — Every other weapon is a defensive weapon, except for this one. This weapon is offensive. It is for us to use to fight against Satan, it’s for us to use to march into battle against his attacks and schemes. God’s Word is the most powerful weapon we can use, and we have to trust in the truth of it. But we can’t use if we don’t KNOW it.
Although we ultimately know how the story ends, and we are assured victory, we are required to engage in this struggle called life here on Earth, until Jesus returns. We have to stand in faith against Satan with “firm courage” even when he throws his best at us. We need to be putting on our armor every single day. It’s so important in preparation for battle!
Paul ends the verses on the armor of God with this verse, “Pray in the spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” (in the Greek it’s for all God’s holy people). We are in this battle together…we don’t have to fight alone. We have the Holy Spirit and each other.