The Strongman Armed and Armored
Soldiers of old used to wear armor in battle, however today it happens to a lesser extent. In the days of the kings of Israel, the kings usually had their armor bearers going with them into battle because they went with their men into battle and was usually also at the battle front, encouraging their men. The Bible speaks in Isaiah 59:17 of the Lord putting on righteousness like a breastplate and the helmet of salvation, which is also repeated for us in the New Testament that we should do the same.
Then Jesus says in Luke 11:21-22 KJV “When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armor wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.” In other words, Jesus says that armor was something people put their trust in. In Bible times, you had to have protection like armor in battle, otherwise you would not stand a chance when attacked, and you could lose all your goods as spoil to your enemy. This scenario has much application spiritually for us as Christians, even more so than the obvious physical application.
Armor protects a soldier, that is its purpose and in battle, it can mean the difference between life and death for a soldier. That means only a soldier, protector or defender, someone who has an offensive job wears armor. That statement is very significant to people who consider themselves Christians. Christians are told to take up their armor, which means whether you know it or not, when you decided to become a Christian, you unwittingly also joined an army; if the one who led you to God did not tell you that. As you will see in this article, God calls us to put on our armor for a very definite purpose. That means God expect you to be busy with the work He called you for and that He knew that you will be attacked in your work and that you will need armor. However, if you are not wearing His armor as a Christian, you are open for attack and will probably fall more often as a Christian and you will be more prone to discouragement as a Christian.
Why is a Christian told to put on armor? It is obvious that we are not called to a physical battle; therefore, the armor we will be putting on will not be a physical one. The Bible says that we should not just put on armor, but put on the whole armor of God, let us quote the Bible here:
Ephesians 6:10-18 MKJV “ Finally, my brothers, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God so 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 world's rulers, of the darkness of this age, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Therefore, take to yourselves the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Therefore stand, having your loins girded about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Above all, take the shield of faith, with which you 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 to this very thing with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”
We have an enemy that we should withstand in the spiritual arena. He is wily, which means he fights dirty. To come up against an enemy you cannot see and one who has vast amounts of experience more than you or me, we need to protect ourselves. Paul suggests that we should “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might”.
If you do not know what that means, it means you do not have the strength through your own capabilities to fight the spiritual fight of faith. It is not that you are incapable of fighting; it is just that you do not have the weapons or the defense system to fight with. That is why Paul suggests some equipment to you.
The equipment in today’s language:
The belt of truth
The bulletproof vest of righteousness
The boots to carry the gospel to where it is needed when it is needed
The shield of faith to believe God’s Word when you cannot see it coming to pass
The born again helmet so that those who see you know to which army you belong to
The sword of the Spirit/ The Bible
The belt of truth: A belt keeps your clothing together. In the days of Paul the Roman soldiers wore over their under garments a short tunic which was girded about with a belt otherwise it would be flapping around in the wind or would be caught in something if it was not girded fast. The belt also held their swords. In application, truth should keep you together because lies abound and differ. In your life, are you being blown about like a loose tunic, not being able to distinguish what is right? People should find their way in life through truth. However, many believe they have the truth, but then it is not the truth according to God, but some flight of fancy somebody thought up.
In today’s terms, truth must keep up your pants as it were. Therefore, if you are not girded with the truth you will look foolish in public. As a belt keeps clothes together, truth must keep your life together, however it should be a very particular truth as we said, let us quote the Bible:
John 1:17 KJV “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ”. Therefore, whatever Jesus says you should be doing, you should do. Then Jesus says in the Gospel of John, John 8:32 KJV “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”. With knowing the truth in life you will be truly free in this world. Everyone wants to be free, however Jesus says that only His truth makes free. That means the world believes a lie and is bound in many ways to lies and therefore rejects Jesus Christ. How will we know the truth? John 14:16-17 KJV “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” Jesus promised the Spirit of truth to us; that is the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of truth will dwell with us forever, meaning we will live with the truth forever.
How will we know how to judge what is truth? John 16:13 KJV “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.” The Holy Spirit that dwells in us will guide us to the truth, not only the truth about issues we live with today, but He will also show us truth to come, as it were.
Now in plain language what is truth as Pontius Pilot asked Jesus? Jesus said in the book of John, John 17:17 KJV “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” Not believing the Bible is to have no faith in the truth. Therefore, one of the pieces of your armor will be missing, the belt, and in a sense your armor will be undone if you do not believe God’s Word which is the Bible. The Bible is the basis for the belt of truth and you will be an easier target for the devil with his lies if you disregard it.
The bulletproof vest of righteousness: A breastplate or bulletproof vest protects your vital organs. However, among your vital organs, the most important is your heart. In battle, you will die if the weapon of the enemy breaches your breastplate or bulletproof vest. The breastplate also covers the largest area of your body to keep it safe. Therefore, why is the breastplate, the breastplate of righteousness? It seems that the knowledge of righteousness is what should protect what is most vital to you. What is righteousness? Righteousness is what you have when no finger can be pointed at you to make you guilty of something. This is multiplied into infinity if you have righteousness before God.
This is of course the righteousness that our breastplate should be made of, the righteousness of God. If someone points a finger at you to remind you of your past, the breastplate protects your heart to believe that you were made righteous and God Himself has cleared you of all wrongdoing.
In the letter to the Romans, Paul says of the heart, the most important organ the breastplate protects, Romans 10:9-10 KJV “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness”
However if we do not have a righteous consciousness, and God does not fill our mind and especially our hearts, this is what happens, Matthew 15:19-20 “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.” If you do not have a breastplate of your righteousness, your vital organs, especially your heart will be unprotected; you will be able to justify anything out of a heart that does not believe unto the righteousness that comes from believing in Jesus Christ. The worst part is that you will not be saved and on your way to Jesus.
Remember Judas? Just read this:
John 13:2 KJV “And when supper had ended, the Devil now having put into the heart of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon to betray Him” Can you imagine if you have an unprotected heart what the devil can put in there? Guard your heart! Moreover, guard it with the knowledge of the righteousness of God!
The boots to carry the gospel to where it is needed when it is needed: In Isaiah 52v 7, those who bring good news are described as having beautiful feet. I love that illustration because it shows that someone was willing to go through the trouble and effort to bring good news to those who did not have it. This part of the armor, the shoes, shows to you that wherever you go, your shoes go and if your shoes are likened to the Gospel, it means wherever you go you must be prepared to take the Gospel and be ready to give it to those who do not have it.
The work of the evangelist is being described here; however, it does not speak to those who have the gift of the evangelist, but to everyone who is born again. If you do not share the gospel when it is needed, you have forgotten a piece of your armor, the shoes; and you will go through life barefoot in a manner of speaking and you will never get to do what your mission is all about. Next time look down on your shoes, remember the analogy, and do the necessary. You will also be described as having beautiful feet, well, at least in a manner of speaking.
The shield of faith to believe God’s Word when you cannot see it coming to pass: The shield of a soldier is the part of the soldier’s equipment that is most in contact with the enemies’ weapons, other than his own weapon of course. The shield is there to defend you against definite danger, because if the shield were not there you would probably sustain life-threatening injuries in a fight. The Bible describes faith like that shield, when you cannot strike back with a sword, you can at least have a shield to fend off your opponent. We can deduce that the shield/your faith is the number one defensive element in your armory, and your sword\ the Word of God which we will come to, is your number one offensive element.
The faith definition in Hebrews gives faith two attributes:
Hebrews 11:1 KJV “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. Here in Hebrews, faith is the substance of things hoped for and it is the evidence of things not seen yet. Your shield that is supposed to help you in life against attack is the substance of things hoped for and it is evidence of things not seen. It sounds like a very complicated shield does it not. So how on earth is this type of shield supposed to protect me against attacks from the devil?
Well, number one, have you ever met someone who has given up all hope? Do you know someone who should have held on to something but given up hope right at the moment where the breakthrough came and lost out in life because they could not see how things could turn out for the better? I know of such people and I myself lost out due to giving up hope when I should have had pressed on in certain areas of life.
Our faith shield would have protected us against discouragement; however, we lowered the shield and were struck with discouragement, and lost out, it is best to keep up that shield.
Number two, have you ever met someone who spoke so positively about their dreams that it seemed like they were tasting it? If you did not know of better, you would have thought that they already have what they were hoping for. Well what you observed was their faith; you saw evidence of the things that has not manifested yet. Such people can make you envious since it looks like they are already enjoying things that are still lying in the future and they cannot wait to get there.
Your shield of faith, when it protects you against attacks in life, keeps your hopes alive, it makes you pick up your head and look to the future that has not happened yet, and it will let you enjoy what is still lying ahead. Of course, the added bonus is you frustrate the devil with your grinning when you think of your future. With faith, there cannot be pessimism, faith does not look towards what will or can go wrong, faith look forward in hope and it sees the evidence of things that will be good for you.
What an absolutely vital piece of equipment the faith shield is. Now for the clincher, you might say it is nonsense to look forward in hope because the days are gloomy and laced with violence and you cannot see any good for the future. Well listen to God, Hebrews 11:6 KJV “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him”
Walking around constantly complaining about life and having no hope for the future I suppose angers God in a sense. It is an impossibility then to please Him if that is your lifestyle. God seems to be excited about people who are excited about life, people who believe they have a hope and a future. What we also misread in the passage of scripture above is this part, “for he that cometh to God must”
If you are born again it means you came to God, therefore you must be a person of faith always having hope, for the just shall live by faith, always expecting good things for their future because he who comes to God must believe if he pursues God, that God will reward his pursuit with good things. Remember our initial scripture says about the shield of faith: “Above all, take the shield of faith, with which you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked”.
The born again helmet, so that those who see you know to which army you belong. This is a long name for the helmet of salvation. However in illustration let us use the blue helmets of the UN soldiers; you do not really have to ask those guys who they represent do you? Our helmet of salvation should be the same in a sense. People should notice your faith in God much as they will notice the blue helmets of the UN soldiers. Our helmet is a helmet of salvation, now why so. This is what the Bible says about God: Isaiah 59:17 “For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak”. Here the Bible speaks of God Himself, which means God does not put on the helmet of salvation to be saved or to show that He is saved, but to save the lost.
The Bible says that to know that your sins are forgiven is to have the knowledge of salvation, Luke 1v 77. Then the Bible calls Jesus the salvation of God, meaning that God provided salvation because we could not work our own salvation, Luke 2v 30. Putting on the helmet of salvation as it were is to align yourself with Jesus Christ and the work He has done. It also means that you are busy with the work of God and the great commission of Jesus Christ. It is to unashamedly choose to side with Jesus in a manner where you sort of standout for Him and His ways. As you are sent out into the world, your salvation should be visible, like a helmet on your head, showing to the mission that you are involved with. The helmet of salvation on your head also shows to the world that they can come to you for the knowledge of salvation because you can lead them to salvation, the salvation that God wrought in Jesus Christ.
The sword of the Spirit/ the Bible: Here we are into the offensive weaponry of the Christian. It seem strange to say that Christians have weapons, yet God instructs us in the first quoted passage of this article to take up the whole armor including the sword of the spirit, our weapon.
In a sense, God told us to take up arms for the fight of faith. Nobody actually gives you a weapon or nobody acquires a weapon, unless he/she intends to use it. You are actually naïve if you say you have a weapon but you do not intend to use it.
It does not make sense to acquire something that can take a life and to let it just lie around the house, it is dangerous for one thing and for another, when you actually need it, you will probably not find it. If you acquire a weapon, it is for use, and the same goes for the Bible. Just imagine that you were attacked and lost all your goods because you were unable to withstand the enemy, just to find out that you had an even better weapon in your house than your attacker had, but you did not know it. We as Christians were given a weapon, the Bible, and the trouble is many calling themselves Christians do not spend enough time with the Bible to use it accurately and responsibly. The Bible actually is that powerful weapon in our houses, which is better than any other, but we do not realize it and many times the devil comes and steel from us and we cannot withstand him because of ignorance of the power of our weapon. Therefore we have this scenario, when the devil comes against us, we do not know how to defend ourselves with the Bible, and then in relation to people, we needlessly hurt each other using the Bible out of context, not understanding God’s reasons for giving us His Word. Therefore, people use the Bible in reverse order, as they should, they should rather bash the devil with it, than each other.
However, we should look at the context in which the Bible was given to us and the context is in the scripture we quoted at the beginning. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the world's rulers, of the darkness of this age, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Therefore take to yourselves the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” That is the context in which we should take up our sword/weapon the Bible.
It is not intended to be used to condemn, hurt, or judge people, or to show them out as wicked sinners on their way to hell, although the Bible does teach that the unrepentant will spend eternity without God. Nevertheless, the Bible teaches that it is the work of the Holy Spirit to reveal sin and judgment to the unrepentant, John 16:8 “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment”. In the context of our text, the purpose for our sword is for our protection. Have you ever thought that you can protect yourself with the Word of God? The Bible is the weapon we use in the wrestling with the evil overlords of this world; however, we do not use it against people. The issue is that the devil attacks you and you respond with the sword of the spirit, the Bible.
When it comes to people, you should teach them the Word of God and help them to grow to maturity. This is what the Bible say, 2Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” You should not use your weapon to condemn people since there is much power in using the Word of God. The power which lies in the Word of God has many purposes, in the context of our main quoted scripture initially, it is for offensive purposes. In the scripture above relating to man, it is for teaching people to become mature until we resemble Jesus. And then of course you should not neglect the personal benefit you get of being well schooled in the Bible for personal growth and for reproof of those who disregard what the Bible states as facts.
The Christian that neglects to take up the armor of God has only himself to blame for poor results in his/her Christian walk. What I mean is this, if you were given tools that will make you successful but you do not use them and you become a punching bag for the devil, then you do not have to look far for the one to blame. The devil does not need to kill you for him to gain victory over you. He just has to keep you away from God’s plan for your life that is all. Moreover, God’s plan includes everlasting life with Him and all the devil has to do is to keep you away from that.
The armor of God is for your protection, like the initial quoted section says, and in a day where people spends thousands on their security at home, is it not ironic that the security people need for their everlasting life gets neglected?
Keep up your guard, fight the good fight and be victorious in life, this is what Jesus gave you this side of eternity and when we are all finished one day we can all say with assurance like Paul did:
2Timothy 4:7-8 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
Copyright 2007 Richard D Kloosman. All rights reserved
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