The Armor of God
“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.”
It is no news to every Christian that the moment you surrender your life to Jesus, you enter into the front of a lifelong battle, not against flesh and blood but against the principalities of darkness as Ephesians 13 tells us. While it may seem daunting to be in constant battle, it is also refreshing to know that we have been provided with all it takes to stand in the position of victory. Like every soldier on the battlefield, it is extremely important to be fully and properly clad with the appropriate gear. The apostle Paul in his letter to the Ephesians teaches us the components of the armor every Christian should put on in our fight for the kingdom.
The Helmet of Salvation:
This was not the first component listed but I chose to discuss this first. If you had to choose only one part of your body to protect what would it be? For the majority, I believe it would be the head for the fact that it contains the brain that controls every other part of the body and as a result, damage to the head would invariably mean failure of the remainder of the body to function. Think of salvation as the brain work behind everything you do as a Christian. It is the starting point. It is salvation that gets you into the fight in the first place. It is salvation that restores your place with God and puts you back under the covering of the blood of Jesus, shielding you from attacks from the enemy. It would be extremely dangerous for a soldier to go to war without his helmet, more so it would be impossible for anyone to go into the fight without first receiving the free gift of salvation made available to us in Christ Jesus.
The Breastplate of Righteousness:
If I gave you the option this time to choose two places you could protect, I believe the chest would come a very close second. The soldier’s breastplate was very important to him because it covered the vital organs in his chest which, if hit, would almost always mean death. Likewise, righteousness is very paramount to our race as Christians. Righteousness means to be holy and blameless before God. Of course, none of us can reach that height except for the blood of Jesus that restored us to our place with God. We, on the other hand, must do our part to live in a manner that depicts a person made worthy and sanctified, bought with the most costly price. We cannot go back to old ways or pick up old sins. Granted, this is a struggle and our flesh may seem too strong to overcome, but the point of righteousness is not perfection, it is a continuous struggle to get there. Living a life of sin opens us up to the enemy as if we were taking off our breastplate and leaving ourselves susceptible to attack. In this warfare, we must take care to have our breastplate on at all times and if in the event we realize we had taken it off, we must go to God in repentance immediately before the devil takes advantage of that weak spot.
The Shield of Faith:
The shield was carried to perform a function similar to that of the breastplate. To protect. This time not just the chest but anywhere that was under attack or sometimes the entire body. The gospels narrate a number of events where Jesus said to people who were healed, ‘your faith has saved you’ the woman with the issue of blood, the centurion, the blind man. In moments when we are under attack and it seems like the arrows of the enemy are coming fast for us, the faith we have in God as protector, provider, healer, comforter, deliverer is what keeps us standing firm. When the enemy throws his lies at us, the faith we have in the promises of God shield our hearts from being overcome by despair. In some instances, the shields of a few soldiers can become covering for the entire army. This reminds me of stories like that of the paralyzed man whose friends carried him down through the roof of an overcrowded building to Jesus, the centurion who came to Jesus on behalf of his sick servant. There would be times when members of our Christian family are hurt and wounded or too weak to carry on the fight and pick up their own shields, it is our faith to take them to Jesus that saves them and protects them from the enemy’s darts, as well as vice versa in our moments of weakness as well. The shield of faith is not just covering for ourselves but for the entire army.
The Gospel of Peace:
Another important piece of armor was the thick-soled shoes the soldiers wore. With all the shrapnel, arrows and sharp objects that must certainly be on the battleground, soldiers had to make sure their feet were secure because any injury would impede their ability to walk which automatically meant they would be unable to fight. As Christians, the impression of peace should precede us wherever we go. There is nothing we can achieve in conflict, the devil thrives in disunity and division amongst the children of God, as it is said in Ecclesiastes 4:12 ‘ a person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.’ The devil knows that apart from one another we are easy targets but together it would be extremely difficult to get us. Peace and unity amongst us soldiers is necessary if we must win this fight.
The Sword of the Spirit and the Belt of Truth:
I put these together because they refer to one and the same thing. The word of God. The function of the sword is clear-cut, a weapon to slay the enemy but the Roman soldiers also wore a belt mostly around their waist, whose function was to hold the entire armor together as well as provide a place for the scabbard which would hold the sword. Dressing in the entire armor without the belt would mean everything would hang loosely including the sword which would pose as a hazard to the soldier and impair his ability to fight properly. So it is with a Christian and the truth of God which is the word. Everything has to be based on it, the knowledge and application of righteousness, all come from the word of God, not having it rooted in your heart and mind would mean you can be easily swayed by any wave of teaching and doctrine that comes your way, which we can agree is a very dangerous position to be in especially as the world is making aggressive attempts redefine for itself what the truth is and what its own definition of good and bad is. The belt is the pivotal point of a soldier’s armor, the truth, the word of God is the center of Christian warfare.
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