The Armor of God: How to Gear Up for Spiritual Warfare
When we become a child of God, we not only inherit God’s blessings but God’s enemies as well. The Lord’s foremost enemy is Satan, whose purpose is to destroy his work (John 8:44), but Jesus came in order to “destroy the devil’s work” (1 John 3:8).
Satan is a fallen angel (Isaiah 14:12– 15) and as such, is only a created being. He is in no way equal to God, the Creator. While Satan is superior in intellect and strength to mankind, he is inferior to God in every way. Believers have the power of the indwelling resurrected Christ over them and protecting them (1 John 4:4).
In addition, believers have been given the whole armor of God “take [their] stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:11). Each piece of the armor is to be “put on” to help believers overcome the temptations and attacks of the evil one.
Seven Parts of the Full Armor of God
1. The belt of truth buckled around your waist (Ephesians 6:14)
The waist or abdomen area was generally thought to be the seat of emotions. To gird this area with truth is to commit your emotions to believe the truth. Often a person knowingly allows themselves to believe a lie because of fear or self-pity. Believers must hold a commitment to truth regardless of the repercussions (John 8:32,36).
The picture of God’s armor is of a Roman soldier’s tunic, pulled up and tucked into his belt, so that he could fight or work unhindered. Living a life of honesty and integrity enables the Christian to be one in purpose with Jesus Christ, who is the Truth, and to be unhindered in the battle against Satan, who is a deceiver and liar.
2. The breastplate of righteousness in place (Ephesians 6:14)
The breast is generally thought of as the place of the soul. The heart must be kept pure and righteous because sin gives a foothold to the enemy. Confession and forgiveness on the basis of the blood of Christ cleanses the heart (1 John 1:9).
The breastplate covered the body from neck to thigh and was usually made of bronze. Believers do not need to seek protection or right standing with God through works of their own; they can confidently stand in what Christ has done in their behalf (2 Corinthians 5:21).
3. Your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15)
Proper shoes enable the feet to go from place to place. The believer is to be about their Father’s business, which is to spread the gospel of peace and reconciliation. An undaunted sense of this mission keeps the believer headed in the right direction (Matthew 28:19– 20).
The soldier wore sandals with cleats made of sharp nails designed to give firm footing on even the most rugged terrain. “Readiness” may have the sense of preparation to share the gospel with others at a moment’s notice. “Readiness” may also refer to a prepared foundation that consists of the gospel of peace with God (Ephesians 2:17).
4. The shield of faith (Ephesians 6:16)
The wicked one is “the accuser of our brothers and sisters” (Revelation 12:10) and will send his fiery darts to instill doubt, fear, and guilt. Faith acts as an invisible shield that deflects such false accusations (Hebrews 11:6).
The long, oblong or oval shield was crafted from two layers of wood covered with linen or animal hides, bound together with iron. When fighting side by side, soldiers could hold these shields together to form a long wall. Soaked in water, they served as adequate defense against the enemy’s “flaming arrows”— arrows that had been dipped in pitch and ignited. The shield of faith offers God’s unlimited resources of power and wisdom (Ephesians 3:16–21) to resist the flaming arrows of distressing circumstances and temptation to evil (1 Corinthians 10:13).
5. The helmet of salvation (Ephesians 6:17)
A helmet protects the head, that is, the brain and thoughts. Assurance of salvation is a mighty defense against doubt and insecurity and the kinds of works bred by them (1 John 5:11– 13).
The soldier’s bronze helmet had leather attachments to hold it in place. Christians can experience protection from Satan’s attacks as they rest confidently in their position as members of God’s family (John 1:12– 13), set apart for his purposes (2 Thessalonians 2:13). Further, they can know God’s present work or sanctification in their lives, experiencing deliverance from sin (Galatians 5:16; Philippians 2:12– 13) and having the guarantee of future, eternal deliverance from every kind of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:8).
6. The sword of the spirit (Ephesians 6:17)
The Word of God, the only offensive weapon in this armor, was used by the Lord Jesus against Satan (Luke 4:1– 13). The living Word is powerful, effective, and instructive (Hebrews 4:12; 2 Timothy 3:16– 17).
The short, two- edged sword enabled the heavily-armed soldier to attack deftly and defeat his enemy at close range. The believer’s sword may be understood to be either supplied by the Spirit or used by the Spirit. Paul further identified this sword as “the word of God” (see Hebrews 4:12). “Word” (Gk. rhema) most probably refers to specific sections of Scripture the Holy Spirit brings to mind to meet a particular need. Jesus’ use of specific sections of Deuteronomy in his encounter with Satan in the wilderness exemplified this (Matthew 4:4,7,10).
7. Pray in the Spirit on all occasions (Ephesians 6:18)
Prayer opens the channels between us and God. In the midst of battle, we as believers must keep in constant communication with our Leader for directions and encouragement. Our prayers for one another are important and effectual (James 5:16).
Prayer is not listed as a separate weapon of warfare but is rather given an all-encompassing status. Prayer is to be constant (1 Thessalonians 5:17) as the Christian prepares for battle, engages in it, and rests from it. All kinds of prayers are to be offered through the power of the Holy Spirit.
The spiritual realm is very real. God gives Christians the resources to fight and the Holy Spirit within to guide and transform our thoughts and desires as we seek to walk closely with him.
Content drawn from the NIV Woman’s Study Bible.