Putting on the Armour of God
“Therefore take up the whole armour of God…” (Ephesians 6:13)
Bible Reading: Ephesians 6:13-17
While the strength we need for spiritual warfare comes from Christ alone, there is nevertheless something we must do in the conflict we experience with hostile spiritual forces (Ephesians 6:12).
Our responsibility – or activity, if you will – is summarised by Paul in the exhortation to “Put on the whole armour of God” (vs. 11, 13). The imagery of warfare brings to his mind the soldiers of his day and their protective armour and equipment. There is, he says, an “armour of God” that believers are to make sure they clad themselves with so that they can stand against the evil powers arraigned against them (v. 13).
The armour of God is listed as consisting of “the belt of truth… the breastplate of righteousness… gospel shoes… the shield of faith… the helmet of salvation… and the sword of the Spirit, the word of God” (vs. 14-15). Rather than explore each of these at length – valuable as it would be to do that – we will simply note that the armour mentioned is spiritual in character, comprehensive, and designed for both defensive and offensive purposes.
Its “spirituality” is associated with the fact that it concerns such things as the truth of the gospel, the righteousness that comes through faith, the message of the gospel, the exercise of faith, the assurance of salvation, and the word of God. Even the briefest of considerations of each of these is enough to highlight how different the Christian’s armour is from that of an ancient soldier.
And it is this fact that makes “putting on” the armour of God so challenging. In many senses, it would have been far easier if, when we became Christians, we were given a special protective suit of clothes that shielded us from the influences of the devil and his hordes – a kind of invisible plastic envelope that was impenetrable to spiritual impulses. But that is not what happens, nor indeed could it happen without cutting us off from the life of God that enters our souls when we believe. Instead, our protection comes from things like knowing the truth, exercising faith, resting in the righteousness of Christ, and learning and using the word of God with skill.
Cladding ourselves with these calls for activity of a different kind from buckling on a suit of armour. It takes careful study and reflection, faith and prayer to do so – things that are inherently harder for us to do than strapping on a piece of metal. Lifting a shield is easier to do than exercising faith; so too is taking up a sword than memorising and recalling and using the word of God.
So these words come to us with the call to exercise disciplined lives – lives in which we spend much time with God and with his Word, internalising the gospel and equipping ourselves with the knowledge of his truth. As difficult as this may be, it is essential if we are to “stand” against the powers of evil.
- Do you believe in the need for spiritual armour to protect you from the devil?
- What are you doing to “put on” that armour?
– Andrew Young