Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 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, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints-
In this passage of scripture Paul is explaining the importance of our spiritual armor to fight against the enemy forces. We are in constant spiritual warfare against the wicked spirits, powers of darkness, and tricks of the devil. Soldiers never go into battle unprepared, so we cannot try to fight the enemy unprepared. We must be in constant prayer, have on the whole armor of God, and be ready to fight the enemy at all times. We must attack head on, full force. There is no mention in the armor about the hinder parts or the back because we are expected to look the enemy in the face and not back down, not to turn and run like cowards. We must remember to charge forward, eyes wide open with full clarity. Besides that, God’s got our backs. Honestly, if we are using our weapons of defense and offense the Lord has provided we won’t have to worry.
Upon reflection of the armor of God, I believe it is important to take the time to understand the significance of each piece of armor.
The Scriptures state to take up the “whole” armor of God so that you may be able to withstand the evil day, and having done all, “to stand” and to stand therefore having girded your waist with truth. Throughout history there have been much evil but with the population as it is at the present moment, evil abounds in such a way that this truly is a very dark hour, with more corruption and widespread evil at an all-time high.
The first thing mentioned in the armor was having the loins/waist girded with the truth. This portion of the armor sort of sets the foundation. The legs have the strong muscles to lift, stand, push, etc. For the average person the legs are significantly stronger than the arms. Plus the waist allows bending, movement, assists in balance, and definitely strength. This would be a major area of hindrance if wounded. How hard is it to fight a battle if you are unable to stand or to bend? Try to hit something sitting down…then try doing the same thing standing up. There is a definite difference in the power while standing as compared to sitting. Not to mention that no one can truly fight lying down. It would be impossible to be of any threat in such a vulnerable position. Notice also that this armor piece is based on the truth. Knowing the truth, having the truth is the first fundamental part of enduring until the end. The Bible says that Jesus is the way, the TRUTH, and the life. The truth shall set one free. One can’t truly “stand” or withstand the evil day without first knowing the truth, God, Jesus Christ, the promises of God, His Word, His Spirit. You must know who you stand for and what you stand for. Also this area of the human body houses our organs of reproduction, so in essence it is protecting our ability to produce offspring, new life, and expansion.
Next is the breastplate of righteousness. Think about those vital organs that are protected with a breastplate. The heart and lungs are the two that first come to mind and both are crucial to sustain life. The enemy doesn’t want to attack that which is already dead but he preys upon that which is alive. Spiritually thinking, the devil attacks those who are spiritually “alive” and well to try every way to kill, steal, and destroy them. The breastplate guards our heart… The heart loves, forgives, cares, shares, pumps life blood through our body. The blood is life. Jesus is the blood. Why wouldn’t the enemy try to first keep us from knowing the truth, knock us down, and then try to disrupt the “flow” of Jesus in us spiritually? If you were trying to take someone down, wouldn’t you try to get them weak, then attack! Also, Jesus is our righteousness. We are to be holy and Christ-like but without the blood of Jesus, we could have no remission of sin. The blood of Jesus cleanses.
The next part of the armor mentioned in Scripture is having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Think about this portion of armor. This protects our feet: where we go, how we walk, what path we take. The feet give us stability, the ability to move forward while standing tall (not crawling). God wants to lead us, guide us in the right paths, being peaceful and peacemakers. He wants us to spread His Word and the Truth. We lead by example and it is so important to walk with integrity, being a light to all those placed in our path. The devil will try to detour all that he can onto a path that goes farther from God, to cause discord, disunity, distraction, destruction. It is the enemy’s goal to take us to places we don’t want to go and keep us longer than we would want to stay. It is very important to pray for your feet to go where Jesus directs so that you will remain in His will and do that which is pleasing to Him: witnessing, testifying, encouraging…being about the Father’s business.
The Scriptures say, above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. The more I thought about the shield the more it made total sense. I had read this many times and often thought how important it is to deflect the darts of the enemy. But, what is most important is that it protects the armor. The shield is held outward to keep the enemies’ weapons from penetrating the armor. For example, many have seen people playing paintball. The object is not to get hit as we well know. Even with the protective gear on the person feels the impact to some degree of the ball hitting them. Of course not as severe as a strike would be felt if they would have had no armor on but still they know because they feel the force and see the effects all over them. Our shield of faith is the same way. We may not be fully penetrated with the enemy darts but we often feel the impact or see some of the effects of the darts hitting our armor when we are not walking by faith. We get discouraged, down, feel defeated. The more hits, the more vulnerable areas the enemy could penetrate…the weaker the armor. I believe that is why it says “above all” take the shield of faith. It takes faith to move God. It takes faith to fight the good fight. It takes faith to protect ourselves from the tricks of the enemy.
The wonderful helmet of salvation is our head protection. I know some helmets only cover the top of the head but I believe this spiritual helmet is full protection! The brain is necessary to think, learn, to move, to comprehend, and function in a healthy manner. We can stay alive without brain activity but we can’t function in a healthy manner. The helmet will protect our thoughts, actions, motives, abilities. We know the devil wants to manipulate our thoughts and place ideas in our minds but if we keep it protected and deflect those thoughts that are not of God, and think on things that are pure, holy, true, and righteous, how much healthier would we be spiritually?
The eyes are protected so that we can see the truth and our ears so we can hear the truth, our mouths so we can speak the truth. These three areas along with our tongues can get us into a world of trouble if not under submission to the Lord. I am reminded of a little saying “be careful little eyes what you see, be careful little ears what you hear.” So very true!! Yes it is super important to guard your thoughts but it is just as important to guard all that the enemy wants to introduce into your senses, your portals…garbage in, garbage out, so to speak. These are areas that bring such temptation, the lusts of the flesh needing gratification. Temptation starts in the mind, then it speaks to the senses. That is the reason it is necessary to protect this area so desperately because if this is unguarded the enemy can and most likely will run rampant and sin will become dominate. Sin leads to spiritual death and a separation from God.
The last part of the armor of God is the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. This is our weapon of offense. The devil finds the Word of God offensive!! The devil doesn’t like us to uphold the truth, to know the promises of God. He doesn’t like us to be holy or speak the name of Jesus! More reason to do it often! He seems to never let up so why should we? Rebuke the devil with the Word of God and he will flee. It is true that we must defend ourselves when the enemy and his imps and evil forces attack but speaking the Word gives us victory over them. The Word puts the enemy to flight! What power!!!
But, it only takes the enemy a moment to attack us if our guard is down, if we lay aside any part of our armor. He waits for that very opportunity when we are tired or weak to attack. The enemy does not have any mercy. The devil is the most selfish being who ever existed so he could care less about how we feel. Actually, that is an understatement. He not only doesn’t care, he detests us. Knowing this information we must stay focused on God, not allowing the enemy any room to attack. We must guard our thoughts, walk in truth, and live as righteous as possible. It is necessary to keep faith in God, and it is absolutely imperative to know and speak the word of God as ammunition against the enemy. The Word is our sword, our weapon of offense. Through the Word, we can achieve victory!
So, as we start our day, let us begin with prayer and the placement of our armor. As we leave to enter the workplace, the school, the church, let our armor be even more fundamental than any other physical object. Even in the security of our homes, spiritual warfare abounds, though not always visible or noticeable, it is going on continuously and everywhere. Every day is a battle of warfare. Get yourself covered in the armor of God and stay suited up, we really can’t afford to be unprepared.