By dressing and using armor effectively we will be able to face all the traps of the evil one and we will be victorious. Let’s see what Ephesians 6:10-18 tells us about the armor of God, what it is for, and how we should wear it.
10 Finally, be strong with the mighty power of the Lord.
11 Put on the full armor of God so you can stand against the devil’s schemes.
12 Because our fight is not against human beings, but against powers, against authorities, against powers that dominate this world of darkness, against evil spiritual forces in the heavenly regions.
13 Therefore, put on the whole armor of God, so that when the evil day comes, you can stand firm to the end.
14 Stand firm, girded with the belt of truth, protected by the breastplate of righteousness,
15 and shod with a readiness to proclaim the gospel of peace.
16In addition to all this, take the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the fiery arrows of the evil one.
17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 Pray in the Spirit at all times, with petitions and supplications. Stay alert and persevere in prayer for all the saints.
preparing for battle
(…) Strengthen yourselves with the great power of the Lord. Put on the whole armor of God so that you can stand against the devil’s schemes.
The first thing is to strengthen ourselves in the Lord. From him comes our strength! This comes when we recognize that we depend on God, seek him in prayer, read his Word and listen to his voice.
Then we must dress, take the armor, and put it on. This requires initiative, action on our part, and a decision: I do not face with my own strength but I use the weapons that God gives me. It is an act of humility and total trust in God’s power and wisdom.
Jesus has already defeated the devil on the cross, the final battle is won. However, we face spiritual battles every day and we must do so with the weapons that God gives us, not with our intellect or physical strength. This is a spiritual fight and our adversary, the devil, is cunning and will try to discourage us from our walk with Christ. Using well the weapons that God gives us, we will win.
Because our fight is not against human beings, but against powers, against authorities, against powers that dominate this world of darkness, against evil spiritual forces in the heavenly regions. Therefore, put on the whole armor of God, so that when the evil day comes, you can stand firm to the end.
The reality is that we are in a constant spiritual struggle whether we like it or not. In 1 Peter 5:8-9 it says:
Practice self control and stay alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Resist it, standing firm in the faith, knowing that your brothers all over the world are enduring the same kind of suffering.
(1 Peter 5:8-9)
We are called to resist, to be prepared for the attack, and firm in the faith. It is an intense struggle, but God does not leave us defenseless. He provides the armor we need to overcome. We just have to put it on and use it!
We must bear in mind that it is armor, not several, and we must wear it in its entirety since it equips us to face all the attacks of the devil. We don’t wear the helmet today and the shield tomorrow. Nope! Soldiers get ready in full armor when they go into battle and we, as good soldiers of Jesus, must do the same.
By using all the weapons that God has provided for us, we will be protected and ready for battle. That is the way we will stand firm until the end until we are with Jesus for eternity.
The meaning of the armor of God
Let’s look at a short description of each of the parts of the armor that God has made available to us.
1. The belt of truth
Stand firm, girded with the belt of truth…
The belt worn by the soldiers was quite wide. It served to keep the inner robe in place while protecting and supporting the body. In the same way, the Christian must know the truth about who he is in Jesus and live a life of integrity that honors his position in Christ.
The devil will try to deceive us with his lies so that we fail, doubt or compromise our identity. We must stand firm in the truth that we are children of God, transformed by him and saved from eternal death. Nothing and no one will snatch us out of his hand (John 10:28).
How to wear the belt: Fill your mind and heart with the truth of God’s word. Cultivate a deep friendship with God through prayer. Strengthen your spirit each day by praising God and spending time with him. Live a life of integrity and be truthful in all your actions and words.
2. The Breastplate of Justice
…protected by the breastplate of righteousness…
The cuirass was attached to the belt and protected vital organs. A chest wound can be fatal and so the soldier must cover it well. In the same way, we must clothe ourselves with the righteousness of God that we have through Jesus. We are justified by our faith in Christ (Romans 5:1-3). The battle against temptations and sin is not won by our own righteousness. We earn it by remembering who we are in Jesus and holding fast to that reality.
When God looks at us he sees Jesus in us. We too must focus on God’s work in our lives. We need to keep our eyes on Jesus, not on our past without him, on our emotions, or on the mistakes we make.
How to wear the breastplate: Remember your identity in Christ! Thanks to him you have been justified and belong to God for eternity. Do not believe the accusations of the enemy when he brings to mind the sins of the past as if they defined your present. Don’t believe when he tells you that you can’t beat a temptation, either. Ask God to help you see yourself as he sees you, to remember the power he gives you to win and to always act as he wants you to.
3. The shoes to proclaim the gospel of peace
…and shod with the willingness to proclaim the gospel of peace.
The feet need to be well protected to advance in battle. The enemy can place sharp objects or traps to make us fall and prevent us from advancing. His goal is to prevent us from going out to proclaim the gospel of peace. He can attack with temptations, hang-ups, a sense of inferiority, anxiety, and people making fun of him… the list is long. But in Christ, our feet are firm and ready to carry the gospel of peace. We take steps and gain ground (lives) for the kingdom of God because he enables us and because we ourselves have experienced his peace.
The kingdom of God is one of justice, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). That is the message we must proclaim. Yes, it is true that it is a war, but the weapons that God gives us are not of this world and may seem illogical. We do not win by imposing or altering ourselves; we win by living full of his peace and bringing it to everyone around us.
How to wear the shoes: Allow the peace of God to fill your heart each day. Spend time with Jesus and strengthen your spirit. Don’t let the enemy’s traps impede your progress and effectiveness. Steady your feet, ask God to give you courage and share his gospel of peace with everyone around you.
4. The Shield of Faith
In addition to all this, take the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the fiery arrows of the evil one.
Here Paul not only mentions the part of the armor but also tells us what we will use it for. The shield he refers to was a large one that covered and protected the entire front of the soldier. It was tough and covered in leather because sometimes the enemy would attack with burning arrows and the leather acted as protective insulation.
With the shield of faith, we can extinguish all the arrows that the evil one shoots at us. The devil’s attack can come from anywhere, so it is important to be alert to be able to place the shield in the right place and protect ourselves.
One of the weapons that the devil often uses is doubt. He prompts us to doubt God’s power, love, or goodness. As we exercise our faith and stand on what we know about God and his work in us, those attacks lose their effectiveness and we move forward in our walk with Jesus.
How to use the shield: Feed your faith by reading and memorizing the word of God, and spend time with God. Fill your mind with the truth about him and who you are in him so that you can use that truth when doubt comes.
5. The Helmet of Salvation
Take up the helmet of salvation…
The helmet protects the head. Our minds must be filled with the certainty of our salvation. We have to live every day the life that God wants us to live as his children, anchored in that certainty and with our hearts full of gratitude.
We are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, to proclaim the wonderful deeds of him who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). That is our reality and that is our purpose. Let us not allow the devil to put in our minds doubts about our salvation. We are saved by faith in Christ (Galatians 3) and no one can take that salvation away from us.
How to wear the helmet: Remember that you are saved by faith in Jesus and no one can change that. Live in trust and obedience to the life that Jesus wants for you. Fight with the word of God the doubts about your salvation or the temptations to feel that you do not deserve his love or his forgiveness. He loves you, he saved you and you are his for eternity.
6. The Sword of the Spirit
…and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
This is the only attack weapon, the others are defense weapons. The sword serves both for defense and to attack the enemy. The word of God lights our path (Psalm 119:105) and enlightens us with the teaching of the gospel. With the sword of the Spirit, we defend ourselves and face the attacks of the enemy (lies, deceit). At the same time, we attack with the truth. Let us remember the example of Jesus when he was tempted, and how he used the word effectively to overcome the temptations of the devil (Matthew 4).
Indeed, the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword. It penetrates to the depths of the soul and spirit, to the marrow of the bones, and judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
We combat bad thoughts, doubts, and false teachings by filling our minds with the message of the Bible. The devil will try to deceive us. However, when we know the word of God well, we stand firm in the truth and continue to be active in the battle without fear.
How to use the sword: Study the Bible, memorize it, and learn to use the word of truth effectively. Fight lies with biblical truth. Keep the word of God and live a life according to what God asks of you.
The importance of prayer
Pray in the Spirit at all times, with petitions and petitions. Stay alert and persevere in prayer for all the saints.
The Christian soldier prepares for battle, strengthens himself, and receives his orders through prayer. Communication with God, our Commander, must be constant to strengthen us and receive his instructions with the strategy that we must follow.
We should not only pray for our struggles, challenges, or difficulties. We must also support our brothers in prayer. If we see a brother struggling with a sin or doubt, or if he is experiencing suffering or persecution, it is our duty to support him with our prayers and encourage him.
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Do you want to win in this spiritual war? Put on the armor of God each day, spend time in prayer before him, study his word and stay alert against the attacks of the enemy.