By Heather Mellott
Something that is so overlooked in the church is equipping God’s people with the Armor of God. After our recent study of Ephesians, specifically chapter 6, God has made it apparent to us that this is so important to Him. That is why Paul talked about it and gave detailed instructions on how to wear and use the Armor of God.
The Lord wants to build us up to stand firm in our faith and be strong in Him. In Jesus’s name we wear this armor to fight the battles that only God can win. It’s our duty to stand firm and God will do the rest. What better illustration than this depiction described in verses 10-18.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes (vs. 10-11).
The enemy is not something to joke around about. We should have a healthy understanding that the devil has power and the ability to mess things up in this life. Is he anything close to God, no, but he does not want us to carry out our calling and purpose in life. He does want us to feel shame, guilt, defeated, and ultimately us to give up when times are tough because it prevents us from living in the truth and fullness of God’s promises, plans, and loving grace of Christ. When we put on the armor of God daily, we become a force to be reckoned with because of God’s mighty power and authority that can be used through us in this broken world. We should live out this truth in our life!
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (vs.12).
Remember that people are not our enemy. The enemy uses people to carry out his schemes and destroy, just as God uses us, the body of Christ, to carry out His plans and purposes. We are not struggling with the flesh of this world, but the spiritual realm which is something we do not fully understand and honestly, we will never fully understand until we are in the presence of God. God wants us to rely on Him and remember that when you are under attack, it’s not about you, it’s about Christ. Persecution is bound up with Christ’s persecution and it will always lead back to Christ (Matt 10:16-25; 2 Tim 3:12). People will tell lies, will tear you down, will gossip, and hurt you, that is why Paul says to stand firm. Be planted firmly in your faith because when you experience this, it won’t shake you when you are rooted in the knowledge of who you belong to.
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand (vs.13).
I want to make sure you understand this part is so important. Put on the FULL armor of God. Don’t forget one piece of this! It is important to have each part of the armor on because of each role each play has in this. Again, Paul is pointing out “so that you may be able to stand your ground”. God is giving us instructions on how to stand our ground and after we have done everything, to keep standing. When we have the full armor of God, God will keep us standing! We won’t be shaken in the storms of this life or the schemes of the enemy.
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace (vs. 14-15).
Again! Stand firm. Keep on standing with the Lord. The belt of truth is important because truth holds everything together, all of the armor, all of our identity in Christ, and everything God has done for us! The belt of truth is our personal commitment to truth and to living a life that is upright, transparent, and without deceit. Integrity and honesty are vital to the Christian life. People should know that they can depend on you to be a person of truth and principle, especially in a world that screams the opposite.
Truth helps us fight the lies from the enemy. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). These truths the Lord has given us through the word of God set us free.
The breastplate of righteousness is important because it covers our hearts and shields it. It covers some of our other vital organs as well. The Bible says, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23). This concept is what Christ’s righteousness does for you every day. It protects you against all of the enemy’s accusations, lies, and charges. This righteousness is not made up of the good deeds you do. Don’t forget that the Bible is clear that none of us are righteous in ourselves (Romans 3:10). It is only through Christ alone.
The breastplate of righteousness is entirely the righteousness of Christ. Jesus gives it to us freely when we accept Him as our Savior (2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 2:8, 9; Philippians 3:9). It is Christ’s righteousness—not our own—that covers and protects us daily.
In Roman culture, the context in the history of this text, references to the first steel-plated shoes that were worn by Roman Soldiers to avoid the spike and traps of their enemies that were plagued with disease. Many of the Roman Soldiers died after stepping on one of these spikes because of infections that spread to the blood and body. When we are fitted with the gospel of peace, we are ready for God to take us to wherever He is calling us. The enemy will try to place obstacles in our path, but with the strength and power of God, we can walk forward, obeying Him, and advancing the gospel.
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one (vs.16).
In listing the different pieces of the armor of God, Paul says, “Above all, take the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish or put out ALL the flaming arrows of the evil one. When the enemy attacks with doubts, our shield of faith turns aside the blow. I don’t know about you but I am tired of being hit with arrows to the face and body. Our field of faith is important because not only does it allow us to stand our ground but it allows us to take new ground and territory that God has given to us. When temptations come, faith keeps us steadfast in following Jesus. We are able to withstand all the devil’s fiery darts, because we know who we believe in (2 Timothy 3:12). Keep walking with the Lord and your faith will continue to grow. You will find yourself will less flaming arrows making an impact on your peace, joy, hope, and strength.
Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (vs.17).
The helmet protects our head and our mind. This is one of the most vital parts of the body, since it is the house for our thoughts and minds. When we have a sure knowledge of our salvation, we will not be moved by the deceptions of the enemy. When we are certain that we are in Christ with our sins forgiven, we will have a peace that nothing can disturb.
The sword of the spirit is another one of our tools to advance the ground and territory. It is listed in the armor of God so we know our offense against the enemy. It is the one and the only thing that works when fighting a battle in this world against the spiritual principalities of this world. All the other parts of the armor of God are defensive in nature but equally important. God’s word, the Bible, is described as “living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12). Jesus used the word when Satan tempted Him in the wilderness. To each of Satan’s efforts to lead Him into sin, Jesus replied, “it is written. . . “ and proceeded to quote Scripture to destroy Satan’s temptations. God’s Word is truth (John 17:17). That is why it is so powerful. That is why it is so important that we study the Bible and become familiar with its truths and its power. David wrote, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). The sword of God’s word both protects us and destroys our enemy—the enemy and his temptations.
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people (vs.18).
This is by far one of the most overlooked concepts of this passage. Most churches skip past this because they don’t understand or are not equipped in teaching this. God wants us to pray in the Spirit on ALL occasions with ALL kinds of prayers and requests. Nothing is too small for God and He wants to be part of ALL things in our lives. Prayer brings you into communion and fellowship with God so that His armor can protect you and take you to levels of your faith and walk with God that you may not have even known were possible.
I challenge you today, to step out in boldness and practice this in your mind, prayers, and physically if it helps you. When you wake up every morning, before your feet hit the floor, pray. Pray in the Spirit and pray for the Armor of God to be upon you. Practice this so that you are intentional with your time. Practice this and see where God takes you. Practice putting on ALL pieces of the Armor of God to see what areas of your life have been exposed to the flaming arrows and attacks from the enemy.
If you have never prayed in the Spirit, I encourage you to pray for the Holy Spirit to come upon you. Praying in the Spirit is a gift to be received through faith in Christ Jesus. Not everyone will receive the gift of tongues but Paul makes it clear that we are ALL to pray in the Spirit. Praying in the Spirit is a lifestyle. It is necessary for us to advance in our walk of faith, to let God use us to protect and intercede, and to grow as an individual and church.