The Armor of God - Protecting Yourself God's Way
The battle is real...
Each day we are faced with trials and temptations, and because we are in this sinful world, this fact will never change. The devil and his agents are all around us and their goal is to lead us into sin and disrupt our lives just enough so that we give up on God and walk away from Him.
In the Bible, Peter tells us to "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8). If we know that the devil is looking to devour us and trust me he is, then we can prepare ourselves to fight the battles he wages against us.
Defeating the devil is our goal and in order to do so, we must answer the following questions:
Are we alone in this battle?
What can we do to prepare?
What exactly are we fighting against?
What are our weapons of war?
Are We Alone in This Battle?
In truth, we cannot fight these battles alone. Fighting on your own results in exhaustion, frustration, and ultimately leads to giving up. God never intended us to fight alone; He is on our side and gives us peace as the battle rages on.
In Exodus 14:14 we are reminded that "The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace." The NIV puts it this way...."The Lord will fight for you: you need only to be still." In other words, when we protect ourselves God's way, we can watch as He fights for us - in HIS way.
This doesn't mean that we don't have a part in the battle; of course we do. Our part is to obey God and to trust Him through the battles. We must also be active in pursing God's protection daily so that we feel the peace and stillness that He promises. We are also to keep in prayer and study His word.
It's so reassuring to know that the God who created Heaven and Earth fights for you and for me.
What can we do to prepare?
The answer to this question lies in Ephesians chapter 6. First, we have to do a couple of things and Ephesians 6:10-11 tell us what these things are: "Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might." And "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."
So first and foremost, we have to be strong in the Lord. That means that we need to trust Him in the battles and seek His guidance to get through them. Our strength in God comes through prayer, studying the Bible, and obedience. Secondly, we have to put on the whole armor of God so that we are able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
Ephesians 6:13 reiterates the fact that we must "...take up the whole armor of God, that [we] may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." The armor of God will ultimately help us not only to withstand in the evil day, but to stand firm.
The armor of God not only protects us, it is our arsenal against the devil. Everything we need to resist the devil and fight against his schemes is included in the armor of God.
What exactly are we fighting against?
Again, we go to Ephesians chapter 6 for the specific answer to this question. Verse 12 tells us this: "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places."
After reading verse 12 we find that our battle is not against flesh and blood. This means that our battle is a spiritual one. In other words, this battle takes place in the spiritual realm against spiritual beings. This makes the battle a tricky one because we can't see clearly what we are battling against. But God sees and His vision is perfect.
For this reason, it is important to understand that we have to rely on God to fight for us because He knows and sees absolutely everything. At the same time, we can use the weapons that God has given us to help win the battle. Each of the weapons in the armor of God serve a specific purpose of protection, much like the equipment used by soldiers in war as we know it in the natural.
What are our weapons of war?
The weapons God has given to use in battle are outlined in Ephesians 6:14-18:
"Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the
breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the
preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with
which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And
take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of
God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit"
If we take the time each morning to start our day putting on the full armor of God, we are assured victory against the enemy. We are reminded in Deuteronomy 20:4 that "The Lord your God is He who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory."
The Armor of God
1. The Belt of Truth
Nothing is more effective in battle than having and knowing the truth. When you are confronted in a negative situation, for example, the truth will always be on your side. So why is the truth portrayed as a belt by the Apostle Paul? Well, a belt holds everything together.
A belt is in the location of quick access. Every soldier keeps his weapon in his belt where it is easily accessible and right at his fingertips. Our greatest weapon against the enemy is truth. Because the devil is a liar and the father of lies (as it says in John 8:44) we can beat him with the truth of God's word. As Christians, our foundation is built on the truth of Jesus Christ and keeping that truth close to us is essential in our battles against the enemy.
"Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth" Psalms 86:11
2. The Breastplate of Righteousness
A breastplate is used to protect our hearts. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 4:23 to "Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life." It is important in spiritual battle to make sure that our hearts are protected. Righteousness lives within our hearts and it comes from faith in Jesus Christ. Make sure that your heart is protected when you are in a spiritual battle because the devil will try to influence you through temptation.
To protect your heart, you need to implant the Word of God within it. When the Word of God is in your heart, you have the ability to seek truth when trials and temptations arise. Decisions made based on the Word of God will always be correct when faced with a spiritual battle. The righteousness of God lives within our hearts and we must keep it protected.
"For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." 2 Corinthians 5:21
3. The Shoes of the Gospel of Peace
Without the proper shoes on our feet, it is impossible to fight. The same is true in a spiritual battle.
First of all, you have to understand that the word "gospel" means "good news." In this case, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the "good news" about the salvation we receive when we make Him the Lord of our lives. When He is the Lord of your life, you receive peace.
With that being said, you may be wondering how the gospel of peace relates to the shoes on your feet. Let me explain....
As Christians we are called to share the gospel of Jesus with those who do not know Him. We have peace through our salvation and this enables us to share Jesus with others. Additionally, having prepared ourselves with the shoes of the gospel of peace keeps us ready at all times to share the gospel. You never know when God will place someone in our path who needs to hear the good news of the salvation found in Jesus.
"Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all." 2 Thessalonians 3:16
4. The Shield of Faith
A shield held in front of us protects us from anything that is throw our way. In Ephesians 6:16 Paul tells us to "take up the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one." The devil is constantly throwing "fiery darts" at us. These darts come in the form of negative thoughts, anger, worry, fear, and trials. The shield of faith is meant to protect us from these tactics of the devil.
Faith is "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1). When we become Christians we put our faith in Jesus, even though we can't see Him, we know that He is there and that no matter what, He will never leave us and He is always for us. It is through faith that we are able to withstand whatever the devil throws at us. Faith reminds us that God is fighting for us and that with His strength, we can withstand the devil and his tactics.
Our faith will protect us in a spiritual battle the same way that a shield would protect us in a physical battle. When you put your faith in Christ, nothing can stop you from completing God's will for your life.
"The Lord is my strength and my shield." Psalms 28:7
5. Helmet of Salvation
A helmet is used to protect our head, or in this case our mind. The enemy desires to use our minds to influence our thoughts in negative ways. With salvation comes peace of mind. So the helmet of salvation protects us from the negative thoughts that can cause us to lose our focus on the Lord.
Perhaps you are unsure what salvation is. Well, it's very simple. We are all born into a sinful world, separated from God because of sin. Sin ultimately leads to death and eternal damnation. God knew that we would need a Savior to bring us back to Him so He sent His Son Jesus to take on all of this sin and to die in our place.
Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price to save our lives by dying on the cross for every one of us. When we confess our sins, accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, and know in our heart that He died for us, we are delivered from sin and the consequences thereof - this is salvation. Salvation is a gift from the Lord - we cannot work for it, we cannot earn it.
God accepted the death of His Son Jesus Christ as payment for our sins. The resurrection of Jesus is proof that when He died and was raised to life, our sin debt was paid in full. And God remembers our sins no more.
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The helmet of salvation gives us peace and protects our minds from the lies of the devil. Remember, the devil "...does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it." (John 8:44). Any negative thoughts you may have come directly from the devil and this is why the helmet of salvation is an important weapon to have in spiritual battles.
"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Romans 12:2
6. The Sword of the Spirit
A sword serves as a weapon to be used against your enemies in war. When a sword is sharpened it can pierce through anything. This makes it a very effective tool to have in battle. In the armor of God, the sword of the Spirit is the word of God.
There is great power in the word of God. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that "The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
When we know the word of God, we can fight against the lies of the devil. The sword of the Spirit is the sharpest tool in our arsenal and can be be used in any situation where lies are used in the battle.
Because we know that God's word is truth, we must implant His word within our hearts in order to recall it in any situation in which we find ourselves needing to reveal truth. Knowing God's word will help us to face lies head on and help us to lead others to Christ.
"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16-17
We need God's strength and intervention when we are in a spiritual battle and one of our best defenses in any and all situations we face is prayer. Prayer brings us into the throne room of our Heavenly Father. We are at His feet asking Him to help us in time of need, praising Him for all things - both good and bad - and thanking Him for all that he does for us.
We have to keep in prayer and acknowledge the need for the Lord in our lives. Prayer is powerful and part of the armor of God. In an attitude of prayer we can make our requests known to God and He hears us. Jeremiah 29:12-13 says "Then you will call on [the Lord] and come and pray to [Him], and [He] will listen to you. You will seek [Him] and find [Him] when you seek [Him] with all your heart."
Prayer is what brings us into relationship with our Father. It is what changes things. Prayer is how we communicate with God. Make prayer a priority in your life. The Bible tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to "pray without ceasing" - this means to bring everything to God, even the little things. He is always available!
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God" Philippians 4:6
Always remember the importance of putting on the armor of God. It is the best way, God's way, to protect ourselves from our enemy, the devil. Being battle-ready is especially important today, as we are living in tumultuous times. We have to be armored up and consistently in prayer.
The ultimate outcome of protecting yourself God's way is simply stated in Ephesians 6:13: "Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.