Preparing for the Battle: Putting on the Armor of God
Updated: Mar 2
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The Whole Armor of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 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. 13 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. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 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.
Why does Paul instruct us to put on the armor of God? It is because we are in a spiritual war and, like any good soldier, we must prepare ourselves to fight the daily battle against our enemy—the devil.
God knows that we are fighting this battle, and so He is giving us instructions on how to be victorious. In this blog, we will look at each piece of the Armor of God, what it represents, and how he can apply it to our lives.
Helmet of Salvation
What is it? Also known as galea, the helmet was essential as typically in battle, the first wave of attack was a hailstorm of rocks, arrows, and even rotting animal waste.
What does it mean? From the moment that we accept Jesus as our Lord and our savior and we proclaim his death and resurrection has set us free from our sin, we find salvation. But, salvation is not a one and done process. Through our walk of faith, we continue our journey of salvation through daily sanctification.
The Helmet of Salvation or the Helmet of Sanctification is designed to help protect a dangerous battlefield—our minds. This is perhaps where most of our struggles with sin and temptation occur, and so we must protect our thoughts. The enemy is fighting hard to control us with strongholds.
First, guard your minds and fill it with the truth of God's Word.
Jesus warned us of this in John 10:10, "The thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
How to apply it?
The first step is to realize and acknowledge that this is an issue for you. You know that this is where the devil is able to get a stronghold over you. Thoughts that can steal your faith and your joy can be negative thoughts, irrational thoughts, or unclean thoughts.
If any of your thoughts are the antithesis of the thoughts, words, and actions of God, then you know that they do not come from above, they come from your enemy. If you are not prepared, you could be walking into a minefield and each step will be more dangerous than the next; never knowing when you will step on that landmine that changes everything.
If those thoughts invade your mind, surrender them to God. Colossians 3:2 says, "Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth."
You can reset your thoughts by getting into God's Word. Romans 12:2 reminds us, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."
Breastplate of Righteousness
What is it? The breastplate serves as protection for the upper body including the lungs, and the heart. Without it, a soldier was vulnerable to an easy attack and even possible death.
It's all about the heart.
What does it mean? Righteousness, biblically speaking, is defined as the purity and conformity of the heart to the divine will of the Father. The Breastplate is ALL ABOUT THE HEART. Sometimes it seems like the instructions of God are so difficult and so burdensome in contrast to what the world deems is right. The heart is fickle and unpredictable. We must guard it carefully, lest we be led into destruction. Perhaps that is why Jesus warned us in Matthew 7:14,
"For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few."
How do we apply it?
Remain in the Word and in prayer. Keep soaking in the anointing that comes from being in His presence. If you feel like your heart is not in the right place, don't be afraid to ask for help. You can ask your pastor or an elder to pray for you. You can go to one of your trusted Christian brothers or sisters and ask them to pray for you and
you. It is so important to keep your heart right. Remember that out of the heart, the mouth speaks. You don't want to have sin in your heart that spills out into your words, actions, and deeds.
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” Jeremiah 17:9-10.
Shield of Faith
What is it? The shield of faith, also called the scutum, covers about 3/4 of the body for defense. A single shield is necessary and vital for protection. Many soldiers would link their shields together. The unity of shields made them impervious to the enemy's attack. The soldiers also had shields that were covered in heavy animal hides. Before the battle, they would dip their shields in water so that when the fiery darts came, the wet hide would extinguish the dart.
Protect yourself with the water of the Word.
What does it mean? Sinclair Ferguson, in his book By Grace Alone, identified 4 major fiery darts of the enemy:
God is against you and not for you. How can you believe God is for you when these these things are happening in your life?
I am going to accuse you because of your sins. What can you say in your defense? Nothing.
You say you are forgiven, but there is a payback day coming—a condemnation day when you will have to give an account. What can you say in your defense? Nothing.
Given your track record, what hope is there that you will persevere to the end?
How do we apply it? The enemy is going to attack with these and other fiery darts. We need to get our shields wet with the water of the Word of God. Jesus said,
"But whoever drinks the water that I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life." John 4:14 NIV.
Belt of Truth
What is it? Also known as the balteus, this is an essential part of the armor because it served to hold the armor together, and to hold the soldier's weapons.
What does it mean? There is a reason that the belt of truth is mentioned as the first piece of the armor. Without truth, the believer has nothing. If something is true, it inherently means that everything else are lies. The devil is called the "Father of lies", thus lies have their origin in him. Jesus is the way, the TRUTH, and the life.
Jesus is the truth; the devil is the lie.
The truth is what girds us in. If you don't start with the truth, you will never be able to defeat the enemy. Where do we find the truth? We find it in the WORD OF GOD!
How do we apply it? The best way to apply the truth is to know the truth. Saturate yourself with the Word of God. Make time to read it daily. Study the scriptures, don't just read them. Use some type of outline or journal to enhance your study time. You can use journaling methods like Verse Mapping to get the most out of the scripture. You can access a free Verse Map here. Free Verse Map Download.
Memorize scripture verses, write them down on sticky notes, paste them on your computer screen, immerse yourself and your environment with reminders of the holy truth of God's Word.
Sword of the Spirit
What is it? Also known as the gladium, the soldier is powerless without the sword. Greg Laurie says it like this,
"When we are tempted, the most effective weapon that God has given to us as believers is the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
What does it mean and how do we apply it? There should be a theme that is started to develop for you as you read and learn more about the armor of God. The consistent theme is the importance of the Bible and the power, strength, and protection that it provides. Once again, we are in a spiritual war. We have many weapons available to us in our arsenal—but the Word of God is a greatest defense.
"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirits, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." Hebrews 4:12
Fitted Feet and the Gospel of Peace
What is it? Also known as the caligae or the boot sandal, it is worn by the soldier to protect the feet, ankles, and lower legs. The sandal was much more flexible than the modern-day combat boot. This flexibility makes the soldier more agile and able to fight more effectively in any terrain. Once the sandals were on, the soldier was ready for the battle.
What does it mean? Peace is an essential attribute of the nature of God. In the Old Testament, one of God's names is Jehovah Shalom, the Lord our peace. The Greek word for peace in this passage means, oneness, wholeness, rest, and quietness. The gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ, the forgiveness of sins, and a oneness with God through our faith in Jesus. When we strap on our battle sandals, we are ready to stand strong and stand firm.
He is Jehovah Shalom—The Lord our Peace.
The shoes keep our feet anchored to the ground and ready for the fight; ready for the victory. These battle sandals also prepare us to go out into the mission field and to be the feet of Jesus; to go where he leads us and where he calls us, to spread this good news of peace.
How to apply it? We must know the truth and the truth will set us free. The truth is found in the Word of God. We cannot have all the other pieces of the armor on and then go out in our bare feet. No soldier would come to a battle with no shoes on! Whether it is the battlefield, or the mission field, be prepared and anchored in the Word. It will help you to stay strong and stay firm when the enemy attacks. It will bring you peace.
You are peace to a restless soul.
Peace when my thoughts wage war.
Peace to the anxious heart.
You are peace when my fear takes hold.
Peace when I feel enclosed.
Peace when I lose control.
That's who You are.
I found peace far beyond all understanding.
Let it flow when my mind's under siege.
All anxiety bows in the presence
of Jesus, the Keeper of Peace.
And peace is a promise He keeps. "Peace"—Hillsong Young and Free
You are in a spiritual battle, but you have been given instructions on how to fight and how to be victorious. Jesus is the Word made flesh—everything you need is in the WORD!
Unless otherwise noted, all scriptures are from the English Standard Version.
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Susie O'Neal is the founder of Between the Gardens, LLC, an online ministry dedicated to encouraging other believers with the truth of God's Word. She has a master's degree in educational psychology and is an author and copy editor for a supplemental textbook company in Cleveland, OH.
She is a blogger, and the author of the devotional, "Abundant Rain" coming this spring.
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