• P. Frank

Put on the Whole Armor of God

This will be the last devotional of the FEAR NOT! series. We hope that this has enriched your faith and helped inspire you to read God’s Word more. Continue to read His Word and be lifted up! “[May] the Lord bless you and keep you; [may] the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; [may] the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you [His] peace.” (Numbers 6:24–26). Amen!

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith.” (1 Peter 5:6–9a).

Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is a rather powerful read, one of strength and encouragement. The passage on the “Whole Armor of God” is one of the most well-known passages, but to better understand it we must dig deeper. Paul wrote this letter from his prison cell in Rome, so he saw Roman soldiers every day. This is likely why Paul’s analogous description of the spiritual Armor of God is accurately used in conjunction with Roman armor. Like Peter wrote, the devil is prowling around, seeking someone to devour. If we don’t put God’s Armor on every single day, we leave ourselves open and vulnerable to attack and spiritual destruction by Satan and his evil forces.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole Armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole Armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” (Ephesians 6:10–13).

Whether you like it or not, the reality is that the devil and his forces of evil are constantly battling for your soul. Ever notice how as soon as you take off God’s Armor, you blindly follow a temptation and fall into sin? Thank God that He has already given us His Son, Jesus Christ, to atone for all our sins. He has provided the perfect pathway to everlasting life through Jesus. All we must do is believe in Him and sincerely repent of our sins. The choice is ours. Satan is the best liar in the universe because he has had a lot of practice at it. He is very successful at catching us off guard without God’s Armor on, causing us to stumble back into sin. Without God, we could never hope to stand up against any of the devil’s schemes.

So, what is the whole Armor of God? “Stand therefore, having fastened on the Belt of Truth, and having put on the Breastplate of Righteousness, and, as Shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the Gospel of Peace. In all circumstances take up the Shield of Faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the Helmet of Salvation, and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” (Ephesians 6:14–17). For such a short passage in Scripture, there is a plethora of subtext meaning here. Let’s dive in.

Truth is exclusive. Truth is incompatible with lies and falsehoods. Truth leads to good and life while lies lead to evil and death. Satan is the “father of lies” and every lie – all the way back to the Garden of Eden – can trace its origin to him. (John 8:44). Every other piece of God’s Armor comes after fastening on the Belt of Truth. If you don’t begin with truth, the rest of God’s Armor is meaningless and you’ll never defeat the devil. The Word of God is that truth and Jesus Christ is God’s Word incarnate. Jesus is the only truth and the only way to salvation. “Jesus said, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” (John 14:6). So, every day fasten on God’s Belt of Truth through His Word.

A breastplate protects your vital organs during battle, especially your heart. If your heart is pierced, you will die. God’s Breastplate of Righteousness protects our hearts during spiritual warfare. What does it mean to be righteous? It means to be made right. This is not something we can do for ourselves; we are given Christ’s righteousness. “For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus, who was perfect and without sin, took all our sin onto Himself and to the cross. When His physical body died, our sins died with Him. You see, through Jesus’ death on the cross, He made us righteous – He made us right in God’s eyes. Whether we realize it or not, we experience spiritual battles nearly constantly. The devil tempts us with all kinds of sinful desires. Resisting temptation is only possible with obedience to God. So, every day choose to keep God’s Breastplate of Righteousness secured over your heart by remembering Jesus’ sacrifice for you.

The Gospel is the good news of the forgiveness of our sins and our salvation through Jesus Christ. Peace is an attribute of God and one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:22–23a). The Gospel of Peace makes us whole in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Paul reminds us to stand firm in our faith. Have you ever tried to stand firm on rocky ground without shoes on? It doesn’t feel too good and may even injure your feet. Through God’s Gospel of Peace, He puts His shoes on our feet, making us ready and able to stand firm in our faith on any ground. If you choose to refuse His free gift of His Gospel of Peace, the devil will easily be able to knock you off balance and you will fall down. Anxiety, worry, and fear are some of Satan’s favorite tools he uses to try to knock us down. So, every day choose to keep the Shoes of God’s Gospel of Peace on your feet. Stand firm by anchoring your feet in His Word and you will truly find His Peace.

The Roman battle shield at the time Ephesians was written was comprised of a large wooden frame and multiple layers of thick, tightly woven animal skins. To distribute the weight of a heavy shield, a soldier would latch it to his belt to distribute the weight. Much like this, we must latch our Shield of Faith to the Belt of Truth contained in God’s Word. “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17). The Roman battle shield was large enough to cover an individual soldier and also designed to be able to be form a defensive wall. This technique proved quite effective, resulting in fewer casualties. Likewise, we should link our own Shield of Faith to those of our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. That can only be done through the Word of God. Being active in a church that teaches and confesses God’s Word and Truth should be a priority in your life. “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17).

To keep his shield strong, the Roman soldier would have to rub oil on the skins daily. If they dried out, the shield would become brittle and weak. Likewise, you must daily allow the Holy Spirit to anoint your Shield of Faith with His oil of Faith to keep it firm and strong. If you neglect your faith and turn your back on God, your shield will become useless under Satan’s onslaught. Sometimes, before battle, Roman soldiers would even soak their shields in tubs of water until they became saturated. Back then, flaming arrows were a common intimidation tactic in warfare. But when a flaming arrow hit a waterlogged shield, the fiery arrow was easily extinguished. When we saturate our Shield of Faith through the remembrance of our baptisms and the Word of God, we too can extinguish the fiery darts of Satan. “If we have died with Him, we will also live with Him; if we endure, we will also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He also will deny us; if we are faithless, He remains faithful – for He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Timothy 11–13).

Your head is vital to your life. Our brains are an extremely powerful organ, yet very fragile. Your skull is a great barrier to protect your brain, but it can still be fatally damaged in battle. The Roman soldier had an excellent helmet to protect his head from his enemy. The top of the helmet was rounded to aid in the deflection of arrows or other weapons. When looking over his shield, the top of the soldier’s head was completely exposed if not protected by a helmet. Jesus Christ placed His Helmet of Salvation on your head for you. He achieved our salvation by dying on the cross and rising from the dead, ultimately defeating sin, death, and the devil once and for all. Just like the Breastplate of Righteousness, the Helmet of Salvation solely rests on Jesus Christ’s sacrifice to atone for all our sins.

Our minds are where spiritual battles are fought between us and Satan. Thanks be to God that Jesus Christ covers our heads and minds with his free gift of salvation, putting an impenetrable barrier between Satan and our minds. All we must do to keep His helmet on our heads is believe in Him and repent of our sins. We must make a constant, conscious effort to neglect temptations that lead to sin. Temptations are not sin in and of themselves. But knowingly pursuing a temptation and therefore committing a sin is where we fail and remove His Helmet of Salvation and His eternal protection. Temptations do not come from God; He is perfect and blameless. But He does know all about them and gives you all the tools necessary to defeat them. “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13). The way of escape is the Word of God.

God did not give us just defensive armor against the devil and his evil forces. He also gave us offensive armor: the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. “For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrows, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12). Swords can both be used defensively to block incoming strikes and offensively to slay enemies. Jesus modeled this for us during His 40 days in the wilderness when Satan tried to tempt Him into sinning. In response, Jesus cut the devil down with the Word of God. When the devil comes to tempt you, the most effective weapon God gives us is His Word – His sword. You can use God’s Word to block incoming blows from Satan and to strike at the devil’s throat. When the devil hears the Word of God, he flees. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:7–8).

Paul concluded his advice about putting on the whole Armor of God with prayer. “Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.” (Ephesians 6:18). You cannot have God in your life if you never talk to Him. He is our heavenly Father and He wants us to talk to Him. Supplication means to humbly and earnestly beg. He wants us to rely on Him fully. He loves us more than we could ever imagine. Thank Him for all He has done for you and ask Him to protect you from all harm and danger. Regardless of whether He gives you physical protection (we will all die at some point), He will never forsake your soul.

Consider what King David wrote: that our God is a mighty fortress, “our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1). The imagery of Psalm 46 is like God sitting in the center of a mighty city filled with His worshipers as enemies encircle it. Then God goes out of the city to strike them down. In the midst of Him destroying the enemy, He calls us to the walls of the city to watch Him destroy them. And while He is destroying them, He tells us, Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10a).

“Thus says the Lord, … ‘FEAR NOT, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are Mine.’” (Isaiah 43:1). “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:14). The same God that created the entire universe has and will go to war for you and for me! So, daily put on the whole Armor of God, believe and trust in Him, sincerely repent of your sins, and be still. God always wins!

Soli Deo Gloria!