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. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
As we get closer to the end of this world, the Bible tells us there will be a growing rate of tragedies. Life will become harder as time goes on. There is no way to completely avoid the hard times coming, so we need to know how to be able to fight off Satan in the various ways he attacks in the realm of spiritual warfare.
For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.
We are guaranteed that the days will become tough for us. We need to know how to survive when Satan attacks us. Whether he is taking our possessions away, or giving us many possessions, he has his sneaky ways of guiding us off the narrow path we should stay on. If we know how to fight spiritually, then he will not be able to get us off our path to God.
We have to be prepared at all times. Satan uses other people, sometimes even friends, to take us away from the path God wants us to stay on. A bad part about Satan doing this is the fact that often, even the person being used does not know they are being used as a pawn of Satan in his mission to destroy us. Yes, Satan can use our friends against us, but this should not change our friendships. We should not hide from our friends in fear of Satan using them. Put on the whole armor of God, then you will be able to defend yourself when Satan attacks.
When Paul wrote Ephesians 6:10-18, he had to describe spiritual warfare in a way most people could understand. In that day, the region of Ephesus was controlled by the Roman Empire. The way of fighting during the Roman’s reign was with swords, shields, and armor. Knowing the people of Ephesus (the Ephesians) could relate to a Roman soldier, Paul used a Roman soldier’s armor as a symbolic example for how to get your armor from God to protect you in spiritual warfare.
The first thing Paul tells us to do is put on the armor. Armor will not help at all unless it is put on. When put on and used properly, the armor of God will protect us against everything Satan does. We have to remember to put on the armor to withstand Satan. In this chapter, we will be using the Roman soldier as an example, just as Paul used the soldier as an example. Look at adorning the armor.
Yes, we need to know how to put on the armor, but first we need to know when to use it. When should the armor be put on?
Look at a Roman soldier. The soldier never left home without first putting on his armor. They always put it on because they knew their job was dangerous. There is no difference in this subject between the Christian and the Roman. Christians are called to spread the Word of God, which is a dangerous job because Satan is always trying to stop us. This is why we must never leave home without the armor of God.
Now we have seen when to use the armor, and why we need to use it. Next, you need to learn what each part is individually, and how to use the different parts. Look at the armor from your head to your feet.
“Take the helmet of salvation.” Here Paul tells us to put on the helmet of salvation. There is no better thing to start with than the helmet. If a person is not saved through Christ, then that person has not put on the helmet of salvation. Putting on the helmet of salvation is realizing every second of every day that you are saved by Jesus’ sacrifice. At one point in your life, which may have already come, Satan, or someone used by Satan, will attempt to convince you that you are too sinful to be saved. This is a major lie, for Jesus died and rose again to save you from every sin not just a select few. Do not let anyone convince you, or those around you, that you are too bad to be saved. Basically, this lie is saying Jesus is not powerful enough to save all sins, and He is only able to save you up to a certain point. Do be deceived by this lie.
Realize that when a person believes they are too sinful to be saved, they do not adorn the helmet of salvation. When this happens, they take off the breastplate of righteousness, since they do not believe Jesus made them righteous through His sacrifice. Next, thinking they have opposed the truth, they cast away their belt of truth. Finally, feeling all hope is lost, they drop the sword of the Spirit. By this point, their faith has withered so much that the shield of faith will be of no use. Now that we have seen this, we will realize how important the helmet of salvation is.
Look at a Roman’s helmet. It is designed specifically to protect all sides of the head, and even the neck. Paul also does well starting with the helmet due to the fact that the mind is the first place Satan attacks. Good information in the mind passes on to the heart, and brings joy. Evil information, however, needs to be dealt with in the mind, and if not dealt with in the mind, evil will pass into your heart, and dwell and grow inside you. Whether it is things you see, feel, smell, sound, or taste, they need to be centered around God, so you will not have to worry about dealing with the evil. So, now you know how big the role of the helmet of salvation is. Just as you cannot have the rest of the armor without the helmet of salvation, it is also the same with each piece of armor. You cannot have one piece, and not the other. If you are missing one piece, then the armor is not complete, and will be of no use.
“…with the breastplate of righteousness in place…” To a Roman soldier, the breastplate is a very important piece of defense. This piece protects the heart. You only have one heart. It is not like your arms or legs, for those come in pairs. If you lose an arm or a leg, you can survive. If you lose your heart, however, then you cannot survive.
Just as the breastplate is important to a Roman soldier to survive, it is also important for a Christian to survive. Did you realize that the shield of faith is directly related to the breastplate of righteousness? Righteousness comes from faith, since we are only righteous if we completely place our faith in God.
By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.
“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist.” The Roman’s belt had different uses at different times in history, but its main use the entire time was to hold the armor together, and hold the sword. In your spiritual armor, the belt of truth is the knowledge that you are saved and Jesus will provide for you. Holding everything together, this knowledge ensures faith which provides you with righteousness, and the trust that you have received salvation.
In John 14:6, Jesus tells us he is the way, the truth, and the life. Jesus is the truth. Being the truth, he is the force which provides the binding to hold all of the armor in place. Without the belt of truth, the armor would not stay in place and would reveal vital places for the enemy to attack you.
“…and your feet shod with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” For the soldier, footwear was essential due to the maneuvering necessary in battle. As a Christian, you must be prepared to maneuver at all times to counter the attacks of Satan.
There are two things this scripture could mean, but both are able to be used.
First, you have to be ready to explain the Word of God. To explain the Word of God, you first have to read it. This is one reason it is important to read your Bible daily. If you do not read your Bible, then you will not know what God’s Word says, therefore making yourself incapable of explaining it.
1 Peter 3:15
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.
The other meaning is to have a strong base, or a strong foothold, in God’s Word. Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:25-25 to build our lives on something solid. The Gospel, God’s Word, always has been, and always will be solid. He tells us that though the earth will pass away one day, His words will never pass away (Matthew 24:35). If God’s Word will never pass away, then it is the best thing we can rely on.
At one point in history, the Roman soldier had nails protruding from the bottom of their shoes. This was to make the soldier more able to get a firm grip of the ground. It is the same for Christians. The Gospel of Peace, which is the Word of God, is our anchor, or our ‘grip of the ground’. If you study the Bible, and use it to defend yourself, Satan will not sway you from your path. As Christians, when the hard times come, we will be able to walk in peace through the hard times.
“Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one.” Look at the shield the Romans used. It was of rectangular shape, and almost as tall as the soldier himself. This allowed the soldier to crouch behind it to avoid the various things shot or thrown at him. Before battle though, the Romans soaked their shields in water. The soaked shield then extinguished the flame of an arrow the enemy set on fire before shooting. The shield of faith works the same way. With your shield of faith, you will be able to block the things thrown at you from Satan.
“…and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” Look at the Roman sword. All of the other swords of the day were long and could not be moved very quickly. The Roman sword, however, was short and sharpened on both sides. This allowed the soldier to move quicker than his opponent, and use either side in battle. The soldier could attack and defend with his sword. This is how it is as a Christian. The Word of God and the sword of the Spirit are the same thing. We can defend against Satan’s attacks and attack to foil his schemes. God’s Word should be a daily addition to our lives.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Realize one thing. When you quote scripture during a battle with Satan, or someone he is using, you are not only using words God spoke, but you are also presenting Jesus as the commander on your side of the battle. Saying that, you will make your enemies realize fighting is futile. They will realize they cannot emerge victorious, and will leave you alone. This, though, is only if you have on the full armor of God.
In James 4:7, it says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” He says to resist Satan. Take a look at what resist means. It means to oppose, go against, or defy. With the sword of the Spirit, you can oppose Satan. Pray for God to provide you with what you need to serve Him.
“…and pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” The Romans even set an example in this. Although it was not a correct one, they showed us what we should do. The Romans, for most of the population, were in no form Christians, since they worshipped many gods. One thing they did do, however, was pray to their god of war before battle. We have an advantage that they did not have. Our God actually exists, and actually protects us. Do not forget to pray for God’s provision of defense, knowledge, skill, and all other necessities before you go into battle. Throughout the day will be a constant battle. Pray without ceasing, and stay walking in the Spirit, so you can make sure you have on the armor of God. God will provide us with everything we need. God will provide us with what we need. All we have to do is ask.
Now that we have seen the various parts of the armor of God, how we cannot have one without the other, and how important it is, we can realize the need to adorn it daily. A necessity in our lives we may normally realize is the armor we have just studied. Put it on daily, never forgetting to do so, then Satan will not be able to lead you off the path God wants you to take.
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.