We are not quite done with our study on Elijah, but I wasn’t really sure exactly which direction The Lord wanted me to take the last little bit, so today we won’t be talking about Him. Instead, I am just doing a reworking of something I have published before, but it seem appropriate at the moment. So, here it is!
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Who We Get It From
This is just a brief study of the Armor of God described in Ephesians Chapter 6. We will look at where we get the armor, why we need it, and the various pieces of it.
First will just be a brief discussion of the source of the armor. It’s pretty simply, really; we refer to it as the Armor of God. It is not our own personal protective suit, but His.
We are fighting an enemy, Satan, who we will discuss later . The Armor of God is an illustration of how we can fight that battle and win. The key issue for today is who’s Armor do we wear?
Verse 10 of our text lays it out quite clearly. We are not told to be tough guys and run out and confront Satan using the strength of our own powers. God does not just save us then throw us on the front line of combat with the enemy. We are to “be strong In the Lord, and in the power of His might.”
That should provide us great comfort in our daily lives. We can rest knowing that, even though we fight a battle daily against an enemy far stronger than us, we do not have to rely on ourselves. We know that, if we did, we would surely lose; in fact, we lose daily when we try to fight our daily struggle against sin under our own strength.
Turn the battle over to God and use the tools He has given us. Be strong in Him and His power and we can win!
Who We are Fighting Against
Who do we struggle against? Well, our text clearly tells us that. It is the Devil of course; it is Satan and his minions of demons under his command.
Why does Satan attack us? Satan hates God, therefore he hates us. Due to his pride and jealousy, Satan was ejected from Heaven and God’s presence at some point in time. Satan hates God and would love to destroy His work. Satan, however, is not powerful enough to assault God directly. We are another story, however; we are far weaker than Satan and his demons. Since he cannot launch a direct attack on God and hope to win, he attacks God’s children instead.
Satan and his demons are real, and they are organized. Verse 12 of our text gives us some idea of the organization of the evil we struggle against. We aren’t here to do an organizational chart of Satan and his crew, but they have one and it is well organized.
Is is vital for believers to understand that our enemy is real. We often have a tendency to dismiss and minimize the presence of Satan in the world and in our lives. That is just how he would like it. In the world of real warfare, armies tend to only prepare to fight an enemy they know about and believe is a real threat. That is true for us as well. If we don’t recognize we even have an enemy, why would we bother preparing ourselves to fight him?
Yet, God made it clear to us, through the Apostle Paul, that our enemy is real and that we need to be prepared to engage in a struggle with him.
Stand and Put It On
Previously we have discussed the fact that we have a real enemy who seeks to destroy us and the work of God as well. We also discussed the fact that God provides us what we need for this battle. He has given us what we term the Armor of God; and this armor is His and the strength and power that comes with it is His as well.
We aren’t off the hook, however. Although the armor is provided by God, we have to do our part. Note the imperative verbs the Apostle Paul uses in our devotional verses: Put on, take and stand. God has clearly communicated to us here His expectation for our role in this battle we fight.
It is not different than a real suit of armor available to a real soldier in a real war. Even that soldier must physically take up and put on the armor, or it does him absolutely no good whatsoever. His army may have provided him the protection he needs, but he remains responsible to take it, put on on, learn how to use it and then stand against the enemy when the time comes for battle.
The same is true in our spiritual war we fight. God has certainly provided what we need to be successful, but action is required on our part. We will illustrate this more clearly as we go through the rest of our text. We have to take the armor God provides, put it on, learn how to use it and then stand against the enemy.
Girt Your Loins
Soldiers of the time that Paul wrote this epistle dressed in a particular way as they lived and worked in their daily lives. They did not wear pants like we would today, but rather wore something like a long flowing tunic which would cover them from top to bottom. This was an effective way to cloth themselves, but presented problems as a soldier would go into combat. A long flowing covering might have been useful and easy to wear for daily life, but likely would be an extreme hindrance as a soldier would take part in the hand to hand combat of the day. Therefore, prior to combat a soldier would “girt their loins.” This was no more than tucking their flowing garment tightly around their legs and into their belt so that it would not get in the way. The important thing is, this action was performed before the battle began.
This girting about with the truth can be looked at a couple of ways; however one looks at it, one will see that this part of the armor requires action be taken prior to beginning our combat mission. So, what is the belt of truth?
One view is that the truth represented here is the truth of God’s Word. In other words, correct doctrine as the Bible teaches it. Here the belt of truth means we must know Biblical truth in order to stand against the teachings of untruth. If one looks at it this way, obviously the pre-battle preparation needed is time in God’s word reading, studying and meditating on it.
Another view is that the belt of truth here represents and attitude of truthfulness on the part of the believer. One might say an absence of hypocrisy. Like the soldier gathering up his garments to get them out of the way, we too must get rid of the things which would get in our way as we go into battle. Here, truth would mean a truthful life, not going into battle weighed down by our own sins. This view also, means preparation must be made before the battle begins. It too, requires reading, studying and finally prayer to get our lives true.
Are our loins girt with the belt of truth? Do we know what truth is? Do we live a truthful life? If not, we will surely be defeated in our battles with Satan and his soldiers.
Don Your Breastplate
Now we are discussing the breastplate of righteousness. A Roman soldier going into battle would wear a breastplate made of primarily leather pieces put together which would cover most of him other than arms, legs and head. Obviously, this was designed to protect the soldier’s vital organs from injury.
What is the breastplate of righteousness Paul refers to here? We will briefly discuss what it is not, then a couple of ideas on what it is.
It is not a breastplate constructed from any self-righteousness we might come up with. This would be a shield composed of some “holier than thou” attitude we sometimes assume when dealing with the world around us. The truth is, we are all lousy and have absolutely no righteousness of our own. If that is the best we can come up with, that we are somehow better than others, then defeat at the hands of Satan is just around the corner.
It could be a reference to the imputed righteousness we all possess the instant we are saved by the Grace of God. This would be a breastplate constructed from the knowledge we are 100 percent forgiven by God and declared righteous in His eyes at the moment of salvation. One of Satan’s favorite tactics is to make us doubt the goodness of God and our status with Him. The assurance of our salvation would certainly be protection when that attack comes from the Evil One.
It could, and likely is, a reference to the daily righteousness we have from living in daily obedience to God’s Word. If we strive to learn and obey the Word of God daily, then we will be able to stand before both men and God daily knowing we are protected from any condemnation from either.
As before, however, this requires action on our parts. We must know what God wills for us in order to put on the Breastplate of Righteousness. Again, prayer, reading, studying and meditating are they keys. In this case, it also requires a willingness to take what we have learned and put it into action in our daily lives.
Put on Your Shoes
Obviously, A Roman soldier had to have protection for his feet. All transport in that day was by foot, and a barefooted soldier would soon be out of commission. Additionally, a Roman soldier’s foot wear would often be impregnated on the soles with nails or studs to provide additional grip and traction as they walked and fought. Without proper footwear, a soldier would certainly stumble and fall along the way.
A soldier’s shoes provided him an anchor point as he waded into combat. What is our anchor point? Well, our salvation in Jesus Christ of course!
This one is quite simple, really. The Preparation of the Gospel of Peace is the knowledge that we are at peace with God through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ, and that He is on our side.
Are you saved? Do you have full assurance of your salvation? Are you at peace with and reconciled to God? If you do, then you need not fear stumbling and falling as you go into combat with The Enemy. If we have that, all we need to do is stand, and we can have victory.
Hold Up Your Shield
Roman soldiers often carried two shields. This particular shield probably refers to the large, almost body sized, shield they would carry to protect themselves when an enemy would launch flaming arrows into the air as part of their attack. A soldier could almost literally hide under or behind this shield and be safe.
What are the fiery darts of the wicked? Well, those represent the temptations Satan fires at believers daily. What is the faith about which Paul speaks? It’s not “The Faith,” as in true Christian faith as a system of belief. Here, Paul refers to our own personal faith in God and His strength and ability to protect us.
Our personal faith in God’s word and his promises are what protect us from the temptations Satan launches at us. We have to understand that the promise of pleasure temporarily that Satan offers is far exceeded by the promise of life and joy eternally which God offers.
Don’t Forget Your Helmet
The need for a helmet in a soldier’s armor seems fairly self evident. The head is both one of the most vulnerable and most visible targets on any human. A sufficient blow to the head is almost certain to be fatal. Our head, or more precisely, our mind is also one of the parts of us most vulnerable to attack and injury.
What are these attacks on our minds? Satan wants us to doubt that we are eternally secure in our salvation in Jesus Christ. If he can divert us into a constant effort to maintain our reconciliation to God, then he can render us useless in our service to Him.
Since Paul was apparently speaking to believers in this passage, he is probably not referring to the Helmet of Salvation as the fact of being saved itself. He seems certain to be referring to the hope which we have in the salvation we already possess.
Our salvation is eternally protected by God, and the Helmet of Salvation is simply the assurance we have it no matter the doubts Satan may cast in our paths. Don’t let his doubts and discouragement turn you away from the things God really wants you to concentrate on!
Sharpen Your Sword
What makes the sword unique among all of the items we have discussed in this series. The sword is the only actual offensive weapon. Everything else has been for purely defensive purpose, while the sword is an offensive weapon.
It is the means by which the battle is carried to the enemy. In one sense, we kill untruth and lies with the truth of God’s Word.
Our sword is an offensive weapon in another very important way. Our sword, the Word of God, is the only weapon we have available to carry the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world.
Are our swords sharp? Do we know the Word of God well enough to carry it into the world as our weapon? If it is sharp, do we actually pick it up and carry it into battle?