Part 3: The Armor of God… Defense vs. Offense
To continue in the same text that we started in part 2…
Ephesians 6:10 “A final word. Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in the dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will be standing firm.”
So, what makes up God’s armor??? That’s what this post is going to dive deeper into, but first let’s break down that verse a little more. If you go back and re-read Ephesians 6:10, you will see that we are given clear instructions on how to fight the enemy after we first identify who the enemy is.
“Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor…” – Keep in mind here that Paul says that we are to put on EVERY piece of God’s armor, not just some of the pieces.
“…so you will be able to resist the enemy..” – Putting on God’s armor and not using it doesn’t make the enemy simply run away. But when we activate it by engaging each piece properly, James 4:7 reiterates the fact that if we are able to “resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
“…in the time of evil…” – Because the time will come. 1 Peter 5:8 reminds us to “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
“…Then after the battle you will be standing firm.” – Using God’s armor in the middle of a battle might be hard, especially in the beginning because the world wants us to react in our flesh. But Proverbs 12:3 says that “A man will not stand by doing what is wrong, but the root of those who are right with God will not be moved.”
What are the pieces of God’s armor?
Ephesians 6:14-17 “Stand your ground , putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
In this post, I’m going to talk about each piece of armor and what it means. But I want you to pay attention to which pieces are for defense and which pieces are for offense. And I am going to come back to this point at the end.
Belt of Truth:
A belt holds your clothes in place. It isn’t really even “armor,” but yet it secures your armor from not falling off. Knowing and fully believing the truth of God’s promises in His word is the key to all of the other armor not falling off in the middle of the battle. If you wrap yourself in truth, it binds all of the other pieces together and makes sure that you aren’t exposed for attacks in other areas. How are you going to fight someone with your pants around your ankles?
- Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32
- Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
Body Armor of God’s Righteousness:
This one was a little harder for me to describe, so I did some research,
What is righteousness? “One who is righteous “lives up” to expected obligations; he acts in accordance with what should be done. A righteous man is one who is right and who does what is suitable; one who maintains a “right relation with” what is expected. The righteousness of God is the divine attribute that describes God as acting always in a way that is consistent with his own character.”
So how to WE put on God’s righteousness? We could never do enough “good things” to earn the title of wearing God’s righteousness. Thankfully, “God’s righteousness is not earned, it is given through exchange. Here is how the exchange works: Christ takes on our sin, in fact he became our sin and in exchange for our sin we receive his righteousness. To be declared righteous in God’s sight you must be willing to put all your sin on Christ and take up his righteousness.”
Why is God’s righteousness described as “body armor” here? Some translations refer to it as “the breastplate of righteousness,” and I think that makes it a little easier to see the point. If your body, especially your heart, is covered by God’s righteousness (only possible through the blood of Christ) then you are protected from sin penetrating your heart and opening it back up to the enemy for attack.
So all you have to do is lay down your sin and pick up the body armor of God’s righteousness. This is part of the exchange that God gives you in response to you giving Him your sin, shame, and past.
The key here though, and remains as we go through the other pieces of armor, is to remember that each piece works together. Your heart is only protected by God’s righteousness if you are able to remember to keep your belt of truth on to hold it in place. If you forget the truth about God and what God has done in your life, you might let your body armor start to slide off.
- If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him. 1 John 2:29
- “How blessed are those who keep justice, who practice righteousness at all times!” Psalm 106:3
Shoes of Peace:
“For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.” We should walk in peace knowing that Jesus already overcame death and the enemy. It is already done. Jesus paid the price for your sin and you couldn’t ever work hard enough to afford to pay that price for yourself. The peace that comes from that should ground you and then go with you wherever you go, through whatever you walk through.
These shoes aren’t bedroom shoes, only to be worn at home when things aren’t rough. These are your battle shoes. When your path gets bumpy, walk in the supernatural peace that only comes from knowing Jesus. This allows you to understand that your circumstances and external stimuli don’t dictate your peace, you do by simply putting on your shoes and walking in the peace of the Gospel. This isn’t a peace that is given to you because you deserve it; this is a peace given to you because God is an incredible, loving, and forgiving God that will leave the 99 to save the 1 that is lost.
Shoes not only protect your feet, but they also allow you to walk more smoothly for longer distances. And this walk with Christ is an eternal one. And once we experience this peace for ourselves, we should desire to share the good news of Jesus with others – both simply by the way we live and by telling others what God has done for us in our own lives.
- How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Isaiah 52:7
- I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Shield of Faith:
“…hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil”
What does a shield do? It BLOCKS the impact from your enemy. Your faith has the POWER to block the impact that you feel from Satan’s attacks on your life. The arrows are always going to keep coming, but you can block the way that you receive them.
You can block them….at work… at home… at school…. in your mind… on the tv… on social media…. wherever you go!
We must understand that faith is our covenant access to the power of God in the Word. If that sounds confusing to you… keep reading. When our faith in the Word comes alive, God’s power flows supernaturally and changes our situations. That means, without faith, we cannot see the power of God and without the power of God, we cannot be healed, delivered or set free.
I read an article that states, “Faith is my active attitude and behavioral reliance on His trustworthiness. My action is putting myself in His care regardless of the circumstances I see. I may declare or recite written Scriptures, but without relationship, there is no faith.” Later the writer also explained, “When I came to Christ as a believer I entered a covenant relationship with Him. I just did not realize the depth of what the relationship really meant. In a covenant made with God, there is an exchange process that continually takes place. The stronger party exchanges with the weaker one in the covenant. Guess who the stronger party is in this relationship? There is an exchange of names, position, character, nature and responsibility. In this relationship I choose to trust Him or not trust Him. In this type of relationship we do not just “think” about the person, but we engage and participate with the person. Faith is received in an exchange; a covenant exchange. I do not have to work to receive it. I receive in a relationship of trust. I rely on God’s faithfulness.”
In other words, we give God our fear, worry, stress, pain, sickness, inability, sin, hate, anger, jealousy, etc. and in exchange, He gives us faith, peace, healing, power, and/or strength – whatever we need to get through that moment. And this process repeats itself, over and over and over…daily. Sometimes maybe more than once a day. That’s where we get it wrong sometimes, we think that if we give our cares to God once – then that should be the end of it. Why are we still struggling with the thing? God will take it from you as many times as you can humble yourself to bring it back to Him. And the faith and peace that He has to give you in return is endless.
Our faith should cause us to walk, talk, and live in a way that looks a little crazy sometimes. Walk in the promises of tomorrow, even when the circumstances of today appear uncertain. Simply standing up to fear via faith in God’s goodness, believing He is capable of anything, and knowing that He will work anything and everything together for your good and His glory at the right time is the only thing you need to get you through the battle in front of you. Exodus 14:14 reminds us that “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” The “being still” part… that is the faith that God can do it, therefore, you don’t have to. And THAT faith is what blocks the attacks of the enemy.
- “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20
- “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” Hebrews 11:1
- “So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.” Romans 10:17
Helmet of Salvation:
In the battlefield of life, the biggest battle is often in our own minds. The enemy will work tirelessly to use your mind against you. He will try to make you doubt yourself, doubt God, and doubt everyone around you. He will continually attack you in order to try and get your to believe that lies. An attack at the head is much easier when someone isn’t wearing a helmet. Therefore, we need to protect our mind. When we put on the helmet of salvation, it gives us the confidence and safety during attacks from the enemy
To recap, God’s righteousness is the piece of armor that protects your heart. Acting in a way that is consistent with God’s character protects our hearts from being hardened over time. Therefore, the helmet of salvation is meant to protect your head. What is the general definition of salvation? It is “the preservation or deliverance from harm, ruin, or loss.” As Christians, how do we define salvation through Jesus? The belief that Jesus paid the ultimate price for our sins that we could never afford. The eternal consequence that we deserve according to the law is death and eternal separation from God. And yet God loves us enough to come to earth in a human body (Jesus) and shed His perfect blood as the ultimate sacrifice for a debt that He knows that we could never pay. All you have to do to protect your head is plead the blood of Jesus. The enemy might tell you that you’re worthless.. but the blood says otherwise.
When you meditate on the absolute magnitude of that, it changes the way we think – about ourselves and about others. And when we change the way we think, we change the way we act and interact with others. When we remind ourselves that we need God to save us and we meditate on the incredible things that God has already done for us – it not only protects our mind from tricks from the enemy and even insults from other people – it also alters the way we see the attacks. An attack is an opportunity to let God show off. And by having the faith to let God take the lead on the battle, your head is safe.
- “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
- “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
- “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” John 3:16-18
Sword of the Spirit:
The last part of the verse ends by saying “and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” This one is black and white. The sword of the Spirit is the word of God… aka YOUR BIBLE. You have tangible access to the living word of God. You can open it, read it, absorb it, meditate on it, and take it with you anywhere you go.
At first, it’s just a book that you hold in your hands. But when you use it, it comes alive and it lives inside of you. You realize that because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, He was then able to send the Holy Spirit of God to earth, not only walk beside you, but also to live inside of you. He is there to help you to discern the truth that only comes from the word of God and to give you supernatural power over the enemy. THAT is why the word of God is your WEAPON against the enemy.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Therefore, the Word of God is not only eternal, but is also a divine representation of God’s holiness and the consistency of His character. So when you hold your bible in your hand, you hold direct access to the heart of God. It doesn’t get any more powerful than that.
What if every time the enemy causes something to happen to you that feels like an attack, your first response was to pull out your sword and respond with a truth from God’s word… How do you think your day would be shaped from that?
What if every time you were tempted by the enemy, you held your own thoughts captive and responded with truth from God’s word that reminds you of the goodness of God’s character and all that He has done for you… How would that pattern shape your future thoughts?
What if every time the devil told you a lie about yourself or your worth, you responded with the promises of God and reminded yourself that you were worth dying for and that God has made you a new creation, therefore you aren’t a slave to sin or death any longer… How would you begin to see yourself?
If you go back and analyze each piece of armor, you’ll realize that the SWORD of the Spirit is the ONLY piece of the armor of God that is described to be used as a weapon (offense). All of the other pieces of armor are there to protect you against the enemy (defense). But a sword is used to DESTROY the enemy. The TRUTH of God’s word is the only thing that kills the LIES of the enemy.
- “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.” Hebrews 4:12
- “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
- “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Psalm 119:105
- “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22
Tying it all together:
The power that I just described that is available to you through the Holy Spirit is received by reading and digesting the word of God in order to destroy the lies of the enemy (sword). And in turn, that power protects you and blocks the impact of the battle your facing because your faith is stronger than your sight (shield), allows peace to walk with you because you know that God loved you so much that He orchestrated a plan to die for you just so you and everyone else could simply have the free will to choose him or not (shoes), covers your heart and your mind through knowing the goodness and consistency of God’s righteousness (body armor) and blessed assurance through the promise of salvation that offers eternal life through Jesus (helmet), and it’s all tied together in truth (belt).
Thank you for reading,
Submit a prayer request here.