“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:10-17 NIV).
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens” (Ephesians 6: 12 NET). When the Bible tells us about this type of spiritual warfare, it is not presenting demons as symbolic representations of internal struggles. Demons are fallen angels, fallen spiritual beings, who attempt to advance the agenda of Satan’s kingdom. They attack Christians in many different ways. They can influence people to come against us, and they often attack our beliefs in an attempt to diminish our faith. Demons also antagonize us with mental attacks that target our weaknesses. One of their main goals is to get Christians to doubt God’s word. Demons want to render us useless and ineffective for God’s kingdom, and they desire to bring about our premature physical death. God has given us spiritually based tools that we must use to fight against spiritual wickedness, but many Christians do not understand the nature of the armor of God.
When Christians read Ephesians 6:10-17, they fail to understand three key words, “armor of God”. Many teachings on this passage present the armor of God as spiritual character traits that Christians must possess. According to this type of teaching, the armor originates with the Christian. However, this is not a correct presentation of what these scriptures are teaching. The armor originates with God, and we receive the pieces of God’s armor by faith. The armor is given to us by grace, and just as with salvation, we receive it by faith. The pieces of God’s armor are not given to us by our works. Putting of God’s armor is acknowledging the truth of what we have, and what we are, in Christ. The belt of truth is the first piece.
“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17). We apply the belt of truth by believing God’s word. We understand that what we see, and what the world tells us, is not always accurate. To put on the belt of truth is to embrace God’s word as the final authority. What God says is true even if our physical minds tell us things that are contrary to God’s word. Demons are masters of perversion and deception, but the belt of truth protects us from the lies of our enemies. Our spiritual enemies will tell us that we are unworthy, but God says, “For he (God) hath made him (Jesus) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). The belt of truth carries or supports the other pieces of God’s armor. Our breastplate is the breastplate of righteousness.
“And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:” (Philippians 3:9). We are righteous not because of our works but because of our position in Christ. When you are born again, the righteousness of Christ is imputed to you. We receive the breastplate of righteousness when we understand that we are righteous based on what the Lord has done. Without this breastplate, we are vulnerable to demonic attack because our feelings of unworthiness will sabotage our faith. The next piece of God’s armor is probably the most misunderstood.
A Christian will never accomplish much for God if they feel that God is angry with them. But the good news is that we are at peace with God. “And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15). Christians can walk with stability and assurance because they are walking in peace. We have been reconciled to God by the death of our Lord, and although we must deeply respect God, we should never have a feeling of dread about him. Faith is a crucial part of God’s armor.
The shield of faith is faith in God and in his word. God has given us faith, but it is up to us to use it. “For by the grace given to me I say to every one of you not to think more highly of yourself than you ought to think, but to think with sober discernment, as God had distributed to each of you a measure of faith” (Romans 12:3 NET). Faith believes God’s word over the lies of the enemy. And faith shields us from the attacks of the enemy by deflecting these attacks. Having faith does not mean that we will not feel the enemy’s attacks, but the impact of those attacks will be greatly diminished. Another important defensive piece of God’s armor is the helmet of salvation.
The helmet protects our head, and this is symbolic of our minds. Salvation is deliverance, and we must have an active knowledge of the deliverance that Jesus bought for us with his blood. “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (1 Peter 2:24). Jesus set us free from both the power and the eternal penalty of sin. We must not allow the enemy to convince us that we are bound by any sin. If we are saved we must understand that we have been set free from the power of sin. “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:” (Colossians 1:13). To put on the helmet of salvation is to walk in the understanding of our freedom from the power of Satan. Christians should not feel defeated or mentally overwhelmed, we are more than conquerors because we are God’s children. God’s armor also provides a tool for offense.
The sword of the spirit is the word of God. When we speak God’s word in faith and under the power of God’s Spirit, we are spiritually attacking the enemy. Christians must speak God’s word over their lives and circumstances. Speaking God’s word releases the power and authority that God has given to his children. When we do this, strongholds are destroyed, miracles manifest, and our dominion over our own personal lives is enforced. When the enemy attacks us, we should not simply sit back and take a pounding. God’s children must speak God’s word in the midst of a spiritual attack, and the enemy will be defeated.
God has not left us defenseless; he has equipped us for spiritual battle. But we cannot properly utilize tools that we really do not understand. The Holy Spirit will teach us about our weapons so that we can be effective spiritual warriors. Spend time meditation of this passage, Ephesians 6:10-17, and God will teach you how to be victorious in every spiritual engagement.