“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” (Ephesians 6.11-12 NLT).
My family and I spent our winter break in Colorado for some snow skiing in the Rocky Mountains. Being from South Texas where it almost never snows, getting ready for skiing was a laborious undertaking. We layered our clothes from long johns to snow pants and from sweaters to ski coats. Then we added all of the winter accessories: balaclavas, scarves, gloves, hats, boots, etc. And at this point, we still had all of our ski gear to manage: skis, poles, goggles and helmets. By the time we were ready to ski, we were unrecognizable under all of our gear!
As I got ready for our second day of skiing, I realized that almost all of the gear we were putting on our bodies were for protection from the cold and from injury. Only the skis and poles truly enabled us to glide down the mountain.
Preparing for the slopes reminded me of the Amor of God. All but one piece of armor listed in Ephesians 6.10-17 is used for protection. Only the sword is an offensive tool. The rest of the armor is used defensively, protecting us from the environment and attackers. I wonder how many Christians go into battle wielding the sword without one stitch of armor on. It would be like skiing down the mountain without a helmet, jacket, goggles, snow pants or gloves. A person wouldn’t last long in the treacherous conditions of the mountainscape, yet Christians go into spiritual battle naked and exposed against an enemy that feeds on their vulnerability.
I believe that before we can truly be decisive with the Sword of the Spirit, God’s Holy Word the Bible, we must learn to protect ourselves from the ugly elements of spiritual warfare. It may seem cumbersome at first, verbally claiming and employing each piece of armor every day, but the sacrifice will be well worth it once we see how much longer we can last on the slopes of life. We can meditate on what it means to be armored from God, so we can be ready when the spiritual attack arises. Only when we are fully protected with our defensive armor should we engage in a battle with our offensive swords.
1) We can put on the Belt of Truth: “Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness” (v 14).
Do we have any hidden secrets or motives? Are we walking in the Truth of God’s Word, exposed completely to His care and direction? Are there any dark areas in our lives that the enemy can feed on and control? Do we have the Inspired Scriptures and God’s promises fastened tightly to our lives, so we can distinguish the lies of Satan from God’s Word? We can stand firmly on God’s truth, trusting that our victory is achieved by our submission to God’s Word and Will.
2) We can put on the Gospel Shoes of Peace: “For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared” (v 15).
Are we ready to share the Good News of Jesus Christ when the opportunity presents itself? Do we have peace in our inner lives and the lives of our homes and family? It is very difficult to shine the Light of Christ to external world if we are distracted by our hurts, pains and bitterness in our inner world. We must learn to forgive quickly and give our hurts to God right away, so the enemy can’t fester in our wounds. We must fit our feet with the Shoes of Peace, so we journey with God on the destiny He has placed before us.
3) We can put on the Shield of Faith: “In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil” (v 16).
Do we have more faith in God’s Word and His promises than we do in the circumstances surrounding us? Do the waves and winds of hardship cause us to lose our focus on Christ or is our gaze steadfast on the Cross? The enemy knows how to throw darts of doubt and fear at us, but we must guard our calling and destiny at all cost by holding our steadfast faith in front of us like a great shield. Our faith in God’s Word and His promises will protect us from falling prey to hopelessness, bitterness, and sin. The enemy wants nothing more than to throw us off course, but our faith will pave the way for us to run the race to win.
4) We can put on the Helmet of Salvation: “Put on salvation as your helmet…” (v 17a).
Do we fully comprehend and claim the Finished Work of Jesus on the Cross and the Salvation we have received through the Blood of Jesus Christ? We have been made right with God and our sins have been forgiven because Jesus took our sins, died with them and rose again, leaving all of our ugliness behind. We receive new mercies everyday, and we have God’s power and favor that not only saves us from hell, but empowers us to live abundant and significant lives. Only when our salvation in Christ becomes bigger than our sins of humanity will we be protected from the lies and deceptions of the enemy.
5) Finally, we can grab hold of the Sword of the Spirit: “…and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (v 17b).
How do we use our Swords? We consume God’s Words and wield His Truth found in the pages of the Bible. Using our own words that are rooted in belief, we can change the landscape around us by praying, interceding, teaching, encouraging, ministering, preaching, admonishing, prophesying, evangelizing, discipling, discerning, healing, giving, exhorting, etc. The more Scripture we consume, the sharper and more accurate our swords will be. We must learn, receive and believe God’s Word, so we can use our faith-filled words to destroy the evil schemes of the enemy on earth. Our swords can do nothing unless we apply and activate God’s Truth.
“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere” (v 18).
There is no coincidence that there are five articles in the Armor of God. The number 5 represents God’s Goodness and Grace to humankind. This armor is a gift from God, and He gives us the grace we need to use this supernatural gear to achieve a life that has purpose and power. So let us no longer run into battle naked and exposed, wondering why we become easy targets for the enemy. Let us put on every piece of armor available to us, so we can wield our swords with confidence and accuracy!