How do you dress for a spiritual battle? By putting on the armor of God. Let’s look at the clothes Paul laid out for us in Ephesians 6:
1: Belt of Truth
Our ability to use any of our other pieces of armor depends on our belt. That’s where we attach our shield and hang our sword. It’s what keeps our breastplates from flapping in the wind. Our armor literally comes apart, piece by piece, if we don’t have the belt around our waist, which means it’s essential. When we are firmly established in the truth of the Gospel, we can be assured that all the other pieces of our equipment are going to stay in place, allowing us to fight confidently in battle. If we are armed with truth, then we can withstand the father of lies.
2: Breastplate of Righteousness
The breastplate is a chest piece that covers us from our neck to our belly button—it protects our heart and vital organs. In Roman times, this breastplate was polished and reflective, so the first thing the enemy saw in battle was a fierce army of ‘light bearers.’ And it’s the breastplate of righteousness, which is our right-standing with God because of Jesus. It’s His light we bear, which means we can be confident in it. The world wants us to earn good-standing and righteousness based on the way we behave. But if we can earn it, that also means we can lose it, which gives the accuser a place to attack. If we can change the way we think and put on Christ’s righteousness instead of our own, then when the enemy accuses us—when he tells us we aren’t good enough and have no right to come before God—we can let the righteousness of Christ answer him. Even Satan can find no fault with the light we bear.
3: Shoes of the Gospel of Peace
The Gospel of Peace is the peace of knowing and being secure in the truth of what Jesus has done for us, and always being ready to share it with others. Scripture says that, “Being justified with Jesus, we have peace with God.” When we have peace with God, we can stand against anything. The shoes of a Roman soldier protected the soldier when he walked through dangerous places or obstacles. The bottom and front of the shoes had spikes that helped the soldiers position themselves firmly during battle, so they couldn’t be driven back when facing opposition. Because of Jesus, our rock, we can stand firmly knowing that we have peace with God. Then, nothing the enemy throws at us can shake us or cause us to lose ground.
4: Shield of Faith
The shield of a soldier was custom made for the soldier’s height so they could be entirely covered by it. It was made up of thick leather and it was extremely tough and durable. And it’s a shield of faith. Our faith is more than just believing God exists; it’s believing that He is present and actively engaged in our lives. Trusting in that presence is what makes our faith tough and able to endure hard things. With their shield, soldiers were given a vial of oil, and their shield had to be ‘oiled’ every day so it would not dry out and become hard or ineffective. When we spend time in the secret place, loving and worshipping Jesus—we are oiling up our shield. The shield blocks the fiery arrows and then the oil of our praise snuffs them out. And we should recognize those arrows as lies, because we are wearing our belt of truth. We recognize lies when we are intimately familiar with truth. The enemy knows that you are forgiven, that you have Christ’s righteousness, and that you are dangerous to him, and he is desperate to keep that truth from you. So his goal is to distract, discourage, or disorient you with doubts and lies. Use your belt of truth to recognize the fiery darts, and then use your shield of faith—that God is actively doing what He has promised to do—to block and extinguish them.
5: Helmet of Salvation
Our helmet protects our head from attack. The breastplate protects the heart; the helmet protects the mind. In battle, the most vicious attacks often come at the head because beheading means instant death. This is the same reason most enemy attacks will start in the mind. I spent half my life doubting my salvation, without my helmet securely on my head. Because I didn’t believe God was with me, I was never sure if He was for me, so I was never confident in battle. The only way the enemy can defeat a child of God is if he can convince you to believe the lie he is telling you. The truth is that Jesus has already won, and you already have everything you need to enforce that victory in your life. If you want to do anything for the Kingdom of God, you have to believe you belong to Jesus and nothing can take you from His hand. If the enemy’s after your mind, you have to adopt the mind of Christ because He knows exactly who (and Whose) you are.
6: Sword of the Spirit (Word of God)
The word Paul uses for sword here refers to the spoken Word of God. Remember: there is power in the tongue. Jesus showed us what it looks like to use this weapon. When He was in the wilderness and the enemy tempted him, Jesus didn’t use His divine nature to defeat satan. He used His sword. He responded to every attack by speaking Scripture out loud, “For it is written…” Most of the enemy’s attacks are in our mind, but we fight against those attacks with our mouth: by speaking the Word of God out loud, knowing it will never return void. I don’t know if you’ve ever held a sword, but when you first pick one up, it might feel a little heavy. You might be kind of clumsy with it. Learning to grip and wield your sword takes time and practice. Declaring God’s Word out loud feels a little weird at first. But the more you use it—the more time you spend reading and speaking the Word out loud—the better your grip is going to get. The more elegant, and confident, and lethal your swings are going to become. And remember, it’s the Sword of the Spirit – which means we have a helper who promises to help us wield it. If you will spend time in the Word of God, Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit will start bringing up and reminding you of the words God has spoken. When a lie is coming at you and a verse seems to randomly come to mind… That is Holy Spirit handing you your sword.
7: Spear of Prayer
Prayer is a vital piece of the armor. The Greek word for prayer used here indicates that an EXCHANGE is going to take place. Prayer is the key that unlocks the resources of Heaven. The purpose of a spear is to attack from a distance. When we start praying with authority and operating in a constant exchange with Heaven—receiving everything He has to give us—we start winning battles before we even have to fight them. Prayer pushes the kingdom of darkness back so that we can continue to advance. The enemy has to surrender ground at the name of Jesus when we pray.
That’s the armor we have been given. We know who our enemy is, and so does God. He perfectly designed our armor to hold up against every single attack, so don’t leave it at home.