— Timely Topics
Ephesians 6:10-11, 13-17 — Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you are able to stand against the wiles of the devil. … Therefore take unto you the whole armor of God, so that you are able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girded about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness, and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Above all, take the shield of faith, wherewith you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
I was having a hard time one day. Life had become just a wee bit too overwhelming. What was I doing wrong, spiritually, that would make my life in the natural world go so haywire, I wondered? Had I not put on my spiritual armor appropriately that morning? And what in the world was this whole business about spiritual armor, anyway?
I had never really understood what people were talking about when they said I needed to “put on the armor of God” each day. I questioned why there was a need to fuss about it, and whether people were just being superstitious. I reasoned, “It’s not like I take it off when I go to bed at night, so why do I have to put it on again in the morning?”
As I mulled these ideas over, the Lord spoke into my thoughts, “I AM your armor.” It was a whole new idea. To put on the armor is to put on Jesus. It is about abiding in Him. He began to show me, piece by piece, how He is represented in the armor, and why He is the covering that protects us from all the onslaught of the enemy.
Let’s take a look at the armor, and see how Jesus is present in each piece of it:
The belt of truth — Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life ….” (John 14:6) Jesus not only gives us truth; He is the truth! When we are wearing the belt of truth, we are wearing Jesus around our middle, the place where our vital organs are located. Wearing, or abiding in, Jesus the Truth keeps our spiritual vital organs protected from harm. The belt and the sword are closely associated. From the belt hangs the sword in its scabbard, when it is not being actively used. Ephesians 6:17 tells us that the sword is the Word of God, and Jesus said of the Scriptures, “Sanctify them through your truth: your word is truth.” (John 17:17) We are sanctified (cleansed and made holy) through living in God’s truth. There is a time to wield the truth of God’s Word, and there is a time to dwell in it, to rest in it. (This is the equivalent of the sword being in its scabbard, hanging on the belt).
The breastplate of righteousness — Jeremiah 23:6 says, in speaking of the coming Messiah, “… This is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” Jesus is our righteousness. We cannot be saved by our own good works; we must be clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Himself. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, … which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior.” (Titus 3:5, 6) The breastplate covers the upper torso, where the heart is located. Jesus is the covering for the heart, the seat of our spirit-man, where our affections, attitudes, and loyalties are located.
The shoes (boots) of the preparation of the gospel of peace — The gospel is the good news, and of course, Jesus is the Good News! He is all our hope of salvation. It is interesting that in Genesis 3:15, God said of the “seed” which was to come (which was the Savior), “It [the seed — Jesus] shall bruise your [the serpent — Satan’s] head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Jesus was bruised for our sins (Isaiah 53:5), and now is the covering for our heels so that the devil cannot bruise us!
We are not only protected from the enemy’s attack by Jesus, but it gets better yet. Romans 16:20 tells us, “And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly….” Jesus crushed the head of Satan for all time by His victorious death and resurrection, but we are privileged to participate with Jesus in crushing the enemy’s head in ongoing victory.
Shoes cover the feet, and those feet are intended for walking. We must carry the gospel of peace (Jesus) to the nations, for He is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) through Whom the nations receive peace and reconciliation with God the Father: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1)
Through being clothed in Jesus the Boot, as we spread the gospel message and establish His Kingdom here on earth, we tread on Satan’s head. In the sense of trampling the enemy underfoot, the shoes of the preparation of the gospel of peace are as much an offensive part of the armor as they are defensive in nature.
The shield of faith — Psalm 119:114 says of the Lord, “You are my hiding place and my shield: I hope in your word.” Notice that Ephesians 6:16 exhorts, “Above all, take the shield of faith ….” Faith is critical to successful Christian living. Hebrews 11:6 states, “But without faith it is impossible to please him.” Faith, essentially, is about whether we believe He is Who He says He is, and whether we trust Him to do what He has said He will do in His Word. To not have faith in God is to insult Him — as though we question His integrity. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17) Faith is closely tied to God’s Word, and, as we will see when we get to the sword of the Spirit, Jesus and His Word are one with each other.
The helmet of salvation — We all understand that Jesus is our salvation: “… You shall call his name JESUS; for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21) The helmet covers the mind. Our minds, emotions, and heart attitudes are the main battlegrounds where the enemy tries to render us ineffective, and thereby defeat us. If he can get us to think things that are not truth, he can keep us from establishing God’s Kingdom on earth. Doubt and fear are the most common agents he uses against our minds. This is why Isaiah 12:2 says, “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid….” When we have Jesus, our helmet of salvation, firmly in place, we are immune to the devil’s doubt and fear tactics. We trust and are not afraid. Trust and the determination to not fear take a conscious effort on our part, but it is Jesus our Salvation who makes it possible for us to repel the enemy’s attacks on our minds.
The sword of the Spirit (which is the word of God) — The sword is an offensive weapon in the armor. We have been taught to wield our sword, to oppose the enemy of our souls and take territory for God’s Kingdom by speaking the Word of God. Many of us have not caught the full impact of this concept. I find it very intriguing that Jesus identifies Himself as being synonymous with His own Word. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) Essentially He is saying, “I and My Word are one. The two cannot be separated.” This is why there is so much power in the Scriptures. This is why devils tremble and flee when the Word of God is spoken with authority. When the powers of darkness hear the Word, they understand that that Word packs the very essence of Jesus Himself, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. The Word carries all the backing of Almighty God. If only we would as fully understand this as the devils do!
Every part of the armor of God is integrally connected with every other part, and no part is unnecessary. This is why we are told to put on the whole armor of God. The breastplate protects our heart attitudes, which are closely connected with what we allow ourselves to think; our thoughts are protected by the helmet, but also by both abiding in (being girded with) and actively wielding (the sword) God’s truth; our faith (the shield) keeps us from doubt and fear; and having our focus on carrying the gospel to the world will assure that we do not get sidetracked into idle thoughts and temptations.
There is one last piece of the armor which we must not neglect, and it is found in Ephesians 6:18 — “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance….” Prayer in the Spirit, according to the Holy Spirit’s perfect understanding of the will of the Father, is the seventh piece in the whole armor of God. It is another offensive weapon, and it is a mighty force to be reckoned with. Romans 8:26, 27 tells us, “Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities [weaknesses]: for we don’t know what we should pray for as we ought to: but the Spirit himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he who searches the hearts [God the Father] knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because he intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”
Those of us who are Pentecostal or Charismatic in our theology understand “praying in the Spirit” to mean praying in our prayer language. We know that when we do this, the Holy Spirit prays perfectly through us, according to our Father’s will, and as a result, His Kingdom is established on earth in the area we are praying about. The prayer language is a powerful weapon of our spiritual warfare (2 Corinthians 10:4).
I believe that even when we pray in our natural language, however, we can “pray in the Spirit.” I ask the Lord to guide all my praying, both in tongues and in English, so that none of it is done in the flesh; so that all of it is according to His will. As we are sensitive to Him and stay in intimate connection with Him, we grow more adept at hitting the bull’s eye of praying perfectly in the Spirit at all times.
© 2007 by Lee Ann Rubsam. All rights reserved.