Navigating the spiritual world: The armor of God
The armor of God is found in Ephesians 6:10-18. At the time he was writing these words, Paul was under house arrest in Rome. Most scholars believe that he was chained to a Roman soldier while he was writing this letter to the church at Ephesus. He used the Roman soldier’s shield, armor, and sword as a metaphor for what he wanted to teach the Ephesians and all who would read his words about overcoming the attacks of Satan. When we have spiritual armor to protect us, in the same way, the Roman soldier’s armor protected him; we will be strong, not in ourselves, but in the Lord and in His mighty power, which is more than a match for any demonic spirit.
Something To Talk About:
- The belt of truth: “Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth…” Paul says. Truth is the belt that holds all the other pieces of the armor in place. There are two ways in which truth is a part of the armor of God. First, it refers to the truths of Scripture as opposed to the lies of Satan. Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44). Jesus said, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (vs 32). Satan would have us believe that we are sinful, lost, and without hope. The truth is that God’s love and salvation have set us free from sin and death. Integrity and honesty are vital to your Christian life. People should know that they can depend on you to be a person of truth and principle.
- Breastplate of righteousness: The breastplate covers the heart and shields it and the other vital organs. The Bible says, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” (Proverbs 4:23). That is what Christ’s righteousness does for you. It protects you against all of Satan’s accusations and charges. This righteousness is not made up of the good deeds you do. The Bible is clear that none of us are righteous in and of ourselves (Romans 3:10). The breastplate of righteousness is entirely the righteousness of Jesus which He gives us freely when we accept Him as our Savior. It is Christ’s righteousness—not our own righteousness—that covers and protects us.
- Feet fitted with the gospel of peace: Soldiers marching into battle must have comfortable shoes. As soldiers of Christ, we must put on “gospel shoes” that will allow us to march wherever our Lord leads. The apostle John says, “Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.” (1 John 2:6). Jesus said, “ My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27). Satan will try to place obstacles in our path, but in Jesus’ strength we can walk forward, following our Lord, obeying Him, and advancing the gospel.
- The shield of faith: In listing the different pieces of the armor of God, Paul says, “In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:16). When Satan attacks with doubts, the shield of faith turns aside the blow. When temptations come, faith keeps us steadfast in following Jesus. This faith is not something that comes from within us. It is God’s gift to us. Then as we walk with Him, that faith grows and develops until it becomes a shield, protecting us and allowing us to live a victorious life in Christ. This was Paul’s experience. He said, “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20). Use the shield of faith to turn aside everything Satan hurls at you.
- The helmet of salvation: The helmet protects the head—perhaps the most vital part of the body since it is the seat of thought and the mind. When we have a sure knowledge of our salvation, we will not be moved by Satan’s deceptions. When we are certain that we are in Christ with our sins forgiven, we will have peace that nothing can disturb. “And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” (1 John 5:11).
- Sword of the Spirit: The sword of the Spirit is the only weapon of offense listed in the armor of God. All the other parts are defensive in nature. God’s Word—the Bible—is described as “alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12). Jesus used this weapon when Satan tempted Him in the wilderness. To each of Satan’s efforts to lead Him into sin, Jesus replied, “it is written. . . “ and proceeded to quote Scripture to destroy Satan’s temptations. God’s Word is truth (John 17:17). That is why it is so powerful. That is why it is so important that we study the Bible and become familiar with its truths and its power. David wrote, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). The sword of God’s Word both protects us and destroys our enemy—the devil and his temptations.
- Why might some scoff at this passage about warfare? How would you respond?
- Do you believe life is a battle? Have you experienced that reality lately?
- Do you take seriously the reality of Satan’s role in the conflict? How does that impact the way you approach difficult situations?
- What is sobering about the fact that we need armor as Christians?
- Read Ephesians 6:13-16: What protective (defensive pieces of armor) are children of God given in their ongoing struggle with the forces of evil? What offensive weapons are we given in which to wage war?
- What does it mean that most of our armor is defensive?
- How are the different pieces of armor helpful to you in standing against the devil’s schemes?
- Which one of the pieces of armor or weapons do you need to pay more attention to? Explain?
- Read 2 Corinthians 10:3-5: What extra insight into spiritual battle do you find in this passage? What is the tone of the passage? Why?
- Whose responsibility is it to put the armor on?
Take One Thing Home with You:
How do you put on the whole armor of God?
It isn’t as difficult as you might think. All the pieces of the armor are found in a relationship with Jesus. Paul said it like this: “clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 13:14). When you give yourself to Jesus and “put on” His righteousness, you are clothed in the whole armor of God.
Do you sometimes feel weak? Do you find yourself giving in to temptation when you really want to overcome it? Are you ever discouraged? We all face these moments. But clothed in the whole armor of God, the weakest of His children is more than a match for Satan. In God’s invincible armor, you will “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” You will be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.