Welcome back to part three of our series on how to fight and win your spiritual battles, in Christ. Being “in Christ” is more than just a high-minded, ethereal idea, it is a reality of your present position and standing because of His finished work, and your reception of His payment for you.
Last week we began looking at the armor of God with an overview of why the armor was given and where it comes from. Now today, we will continue by examining the pieces of God’s armor to understand their individual benefits, and how each pieces combines to be a fully effective whole unit.
The Nature of the Struggle
So let’s return to our text of Ephesians 6:10-18, and begin by reading about the armor of God:
“ 10 Finally, my brothers, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Therefore take to you the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, with which you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”
Remember that we saw last week, how it is the Lord, and the power of His might that we are to be strong in. Our own strength isn’t enough — as if we had any.
So we are to be strong in the Lord, and His mighty power, and then verse 11, tells us to put on the whole armor of God, for a specific purpose. You see, the battle that we are to fight is not against people. It’s not even a human struggle at all— but a spiritual one.
Since the struggle is spiritual, we must use spiritual equipment to engage the enemy. So let’s take a look at what spiritual equipment God has given us.
The Belt of Truth
The very first thing we see in verse 14, is the belt of truth. This is interesting because normally a belt is not the first article of clothing that a person puts on. But when it comes to spiritual armor, the protection of almighty God, truth must be the foundation. Without truth, there is nothing; no security at all.
The truth of God is wrapped-up in Christ, just as a belt secures and wraps-around your waist. Jesus makes it clear in John 14:6, that He is the way, the truth and the life, and it is His truth that protects.
Every single area that you are set free from today is because you have received truth of Jesus in that area. Likewise the areas you are still battling with are generally areas that you have yet to receive His truth.
You see, Jesus has already set you free. The prison door has already been unlocked. But if you do not know that truth, you will never walk through the door. And one of the most prolific lies of the enemy today is to tell people that the work isn’t finished, that they are still waiting for things to happen— the door hasn’t been opened yet. But again, the way is Jesus Christ.
The Breastplate of Righteousness
In the same verse, we also see the breastplate of righteousness mentioned. The Roman breastplate was more than a simple “plate”, but more like an iron shirt that covered the entire upper body, heart, lungs, ribcage— all of it. So it was a very strong, very vital piece of equipment.
Notice that the breastplate of righteousness is specifically mentioning as guarding our heart in this verse. The spiritual application of this is that the righteousness given to us by Christ Jesus is the protection for our heart that we so desperately need.
So how exactly does the righteousness of Christ guard our heart? In 1st Peter 5:8, we can read that the enemy roams around as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour — that’s probably a phrase you’ve heard before. We tend to focus on the roaring lion part; yet, isn’t it interesting that the verse also mentions that the devil is seeking whom he may devour… ?
What this detail teaches us, is that the devil is looking for someone edible— someone whom he can actually eat. The implication is that he cannot eat everyone… there are some people whom he cannot devour, and so he must look around for those he can.
The two verses prior to that tell us what the criteria is… a troubled heart.
The enemy will accuse you for the wrong you have done, will point out everything that’s a mess in your life, and will make you feel like a loser and worthless. He will do anything to trouble your heart, to make you afraid, and to question your spiritual identity in Christ.
However, knowing that you are righteous by faith alone in Jesus Christ will protect you from all of these attacks. I’m not talking about a mere mental ascent that crumbles at the first bit of resistance, but a real knowing of your identity of divine righteousness in Christ, and everything that means for you personally. Knowing that you are righteous in-essence protects your spiritual heart.
Shoes of the Gospel of Peace
Next we have the footwear in verse 15. Most translations render the phrase as preparation of the Gospel of Peace, which can be a bit confusing. The word translated as preparation used in the verse, literally does mean “to prepare; to be ready.”
Before you would walk over rough terrain or inhospitable ground, you would prepare yourself with appropriate boots to protect your feet. Such footwear will prevent injury and stabilize your balance.
Likewise, these spiritual shoes protect and stabilize our standing in Christ as it connects with the previous verse 14. And notice what these shoes are of the Gospel of Peace. These are not the shoes of the Law of Moses, or shoes of condemnation, but the shoes of the Gospel of Peace.
This is specifically referring to the peace which Christ gives, for there is no other peace by which we live. Jesus has given us His peace, as mentioned in John 14:27, and in John chapter 16 verse 33, He goes into more detail by saying “These things I have spoken to you that in Me you may have peace.
The things which He previously spoke to them in verses 19-28 concern His death on the cross, and the resurrection which we studied in the previous two parts of this series. Understanding what Jesus has accomplished for us is the very foundation upon which we stand, and our comprehension of these truths are vital to our spiritual stability.
You may have noticed that many people who claim belief on Jesus actually have no peace… they are spiritually barefoot precisely because they do not understand the fundamentals of what Jesus has done, or their own spiritual identity in Him today.
The Gospel of Peace, speaks of our peace with God today. Because of the finished work of Christ, we are no longer at enmity with God, but we have been reconciled to Him; and enjoy complete unity as we were always meant to. (Romans 5:10, 2nd Corinthians 5:18)
Knowing this is absolutely essential to obtaining spiritual victory, when the enemy tries to get us to doubt our spiritual identity.
The Shield of Faith
In verse 16 we see the shield of faith; and the specific instruction to take up the shield of faith Above all, or in all circumstances. All circumstances, means good times and bad times. In the bad times, we should be covered by the shield of faith, and in good times also.
Most people tend to let down their guard in the good times, get caught off-guard, and then fail to ever raise their shield. However, what we see here is the extreme importance of taking up the shield of faith for our own protection!
The shield of faith is used to extinguish the fiery darts of the enemy. Things will come at you… but you need to know and recognize what these things are, and also that you aren’t helpless or powerless against them.
The fiery darts of the wicked one, is a specific phrase that tells us everything we need to know about these attacks. First of all, they are fiery, and fire in the scripture is typically a picture of judgment and condemnation— for example the fiery serpents in Numbers 21:6, when the people despised the provision of God.
We also see that these are darts, which again speaks of judgment and condemnation; so there is a double-emphasis here on what these attacks represent and how they come.
In Exodus 19:13 and Hebrews 12:20 it is described that anyone who touches Mount Sinai (the mountain of the Law of Moses), shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart.
The fiery darts of the enemy begin as the fear, judgment, and condemnation of the Old Covenant. Religious legalism has destroyed many lives, and continues to hold many people in bondage. Once the enemy can get someone to leave the foundation of Christ, then they are nothing but an easy prey.
The shield of faith protects us from these fiery darts. And notice that it is the shield of faith; not the shield of our works, or the shield of Moses, but the shield of faith. We need to be reminded of that fact. The faith spoken of in this verse is specifically the faith of Christ and His finished work on the cross. (Romans 10:8-9)
As we receive and meditate on His finished work, His divine righteousness given to us, and our position in Him, the fiery darts of the enemy will never pierce us.
The Helmet of Salvation
Lastly today, but certainly not least, we have the Helmet of Salvation in verse 17. Obviously, helmets protect a person’s skull. Along with the heart, the head is the most vital area of our bodies.
The Helmet of Salvation speaks of the salvation which Jesus has accomplished. From a spiritual perspective, His salvation is what guards your mind and your thoughts. As we’ve studied previously, the salvation of God is greater and more powerful than we think.
Since we know that the main battleground of spiritual warfare is our mind according to 1st Peter 1:13 and 2nd Corinthians 10:3-5, we can begin to understand how the Helmet of salvation comes into play.
Similar to the Shield of Faith, the Helmet of Salvation protects us from mental attack; mind warfare. You see, the enemy will attempt to trouble us with cares, worries, and the anxieties of life. If our thoughts are not securely grounded in the Gospel of Christ and His salvation as the reference verses above mention, then we will often fall victim to the attacks of the enemy.
Knowing the truth about His salvation for you on a personal level, and everything that you have in Christ today is what protects your mind from being shaken, swayed, and troubled by the pressures and stress of your current circumstances.
Many people go into battle today without their helmet on, and get tossed around by the many stressors of daily life and their current situations. But God has given us His armor to protect against all of these things, and no piece of the armor is superfluous.
Join Me Again Next Week…
Today we have looked at all of the defensive pieces of the armor. We have seen how God has supplied for our complete safety and protection with nothing less than His divine armor.
Next week we will continue our study by examining at the Sword of the Spirit and looking at some application of how to use it in our daily life to achieve spiritual victory.
I look forward to thriving with you again next week.