What exactly is the "armor of God"?" When you think of armor, what comes to mind?
- The plated armor of the European knights of the 16th and 17th centuries
- Batman and the Batmobile
- A bomb disposal suit
- A military tank or an armored car
- Some outrageous outfit worn by a fantasy game character
Regardless of your image, the one thing that all these have in common is protection. But how is armor relevant to the Christian life?
Warren Wiersbe wrote, “Sooner or later every believer discovers that the Christian life is a battleground, not a playground and that he faces an enemy who is much stronger than he is—apart from the Lord.”
He was referring to Satan.
Three Enemies of a Christian
As Christians, we face three enemies: the world, the flesh, and the devil (Eph. 2:1–3). And Satan is a powerful enemy (Eph. 6:10–12).
How can mortals protect themselves from the most evil being in all creation?
To illustrate our means of protection, Paul uses a first-century Roman soldier’s armor. And this metaphor describes standing firm in the strength and confidence in the Lord (Eph 6:10-11, 13-17).
Our Protection Against Satan
As Christians, the armor is always at our disposal. But it is our responsibility to put it on daily and urgently. Why? Because Satan is continuously attacking God’s kingdom and us.
As soldiers, we are to hold our ground. Our posture is defensive, not offensive, because Christ has already conquered Satan (Rom. 8:31).
Each piece of God’s armor serves a particular purpose, yet the whole armor is necessary to protect us.
1. Armor of God: The Belt of Truth
First is the belt of truth (Eph 6:14a). This strap keeps the other parts of the armor together and in place. The belt of truth is the Bible.
And when Scripture is correctly understood, it holds the Christian together. It integrates our beliefs with our behavior. Satan is a liar (John 8:44). Consequently, a life controlled by truth is the only way to defeat him.
How can we do that? By examining our lives in light of Scripture, we can identify our vulnerabilities (Matt 7:1-5; 1 Pet 5:8).
After that, we develop a biblical plan to overcome these spiritual weaknesses. For example:
- Faithful Bible study (John 8:31-32)
- Scripture memorization (Psa 119:11)
- Consistent daily devotions (John 8:36) that explicitly focus on our areas of temptation (1 Cor 11:31)
2. The Armor of God: The Breastplate of Righteousness
The second piece is the breastplate of righteousness (Eph. 6: 14b). A Roman breastplate was made of metal plates or chains. It covered the body from the neck to the waist, both front and back. And it protected the soldier’s vital organs.
Similarly, this protection is analogous to living righteously (Rom. 6:13). Specifically, our thoughts, words, and actions (2 Cor. 5:9) protect our heart (Jas. 4:7).
“Living righteously” also means identifying the circumstances that tempt us to live unbiblically. Then we can create a detailed plan to please the Lord and bless others. And we do that through our personal, professional, and public life. It is also essential to have an “escape” plan to flee unexpected temptations.
3. The Armor of God: The Shoes of the Gospel
Thirdly, are the shoes of the gospel (Eph. 6:15). What does Paul's phrase here mean? There are two options.
- In the first place, Paul could mean proclaiming the gospel that brings peace.
- Or conversely (and more likely), it refers to Roman soldier’s hobnailed sandals. And these sandals gave them a firm footing in combat. Thus, he meant standing firm in battle based on the gospel’s power.
This “standing firm” on the Scripture’s truth brings us peace with God (cf. Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:17) and other believers (Eph 2:14–15). Basically, it means studying the Bible and evangelizing in a culturally sensitive way.
4. The Armor of God: The Shield of Faith
Fourth is the shield of faith (Eph 6:16). The Roman shield was four feet by two feet, made of wood, and covered with sturdy leather. It protected the whole body from spears, arrows, and “fiery darts.”
The “faith” in this verse is not our initial “saving faith” (justification) in Jesus. Instead, it is our ongoing, daily “living faith” (sanctification). And this faith “believes in” God’s promises and power. It is this “shield of faith” that quenches Satan’s fiery darts of sinful thoughts.
Battle determines the quality of any shield. Similarly, it’s no different in our spiritual battle.
In essence, our ability to withstand intense trials is only as good as our shield of faith. Consequently, we must honestly answer the obvious question. “Is our faith in Jesus and Scripture adequate to overcome Satan’s challenges?”
However, the only way to answer that question is to have our faith “field-tested” in battle. That means we choose to believe in Christ and hold on to our faith during our suffering. And if we do, we become more Christ-like and learn to trust God more (1 Peter 1:6-7).
5. The Armor of God: The Helmet of Salvation
The fifth piece of armor is the helmet of salvation (Eph 6:17a). The Roman iron or bronze helmet protected the head and neck. This metaphor refers to bringing our thoughts into subjection.
In other words, we willfully choose to be obedient to Christ regardless of any emotion to the contrary (Rom 12:2; 2 Cor 10:5).
For instance, if we become more Christlike, Satan cannot lead us astray. Such protection comes from several sources. They include:
- Scripture study and memorization
- Relying on the Holy Spirit
These resources renew our minds, changing us into the image of Christ (Romans 12:1-2).
6. The Armor of God: The Sword of the Spirit
Sixth is the sword of the Spirit (Eph 6: 17b) is the only offensive weapon mentioned.
The Word of God is sufficient for every situation in life (2 Tim 3:16-17) when wielded effectively (Matt 4:1-11). And especially against the inevitable temptations and Satanic attacks (Heb 5:14).
But handling a sword takes practice and knowledge. So too, effectively using the Word of God means being both a student and a doer of Scripture. If you know Scripture, it will be easier to detect and reject Satan’s lies and avoid stumbling (2 Peter 1:10).
7. The Armor of God: Prayer
Seventh is prayer (Eph 6:18).
Now we stand fully covered by God’s armor. We are to pray at all times under the direction of the Holy Spirit. He knows what to pray for us. We are to remain diligently alert in prayer and petition on behalf of other Christians.
Staying Humble in the Face of our Adversaries
It is critical to realize that there is continual spiritual warfare around us (Eph 6:12). Remember that Satan’s schemes made godly men like Adam, Abraham, Jacob, David, and Peter fall. In light of that, we need to consider, who are we to stand against the devil alone and unarmed?
What Is Your Next Step?
Satan means “adversary.” Without a doubt, he is our most powerful enemy who seeks to destroy us (Eph. 6:10–12). Where do you need to begin preparing your armor to resist him?
- Are you drawing closer to God through spiritual disciplines?
- Do you need to help in memorizing Scripture?
- Are you living righteously?
- Is your prayer life all it could be?
- Are you standing firm in the gospel?
Begin today by first assessing where your armor is weak or non-existent. Then use some Binmin resources to help you withstand the devil and his schemes.
Instead of being afraid of Satan, let us daily and urgently put on the armor of God and fix our eyes on Jesus (Heb 12:2).
Studying the Bible: 3 Methods That Work by Dr. Bob Martin III
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