“A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” (Eph. 6:10-18)
When I was a child, I had the awesome experience of going to see the Harlem Globetrotters play basketball. For those who might not know, this is a touring team that is known for silly antics and trick plays. They play every night against a team called the Washington Generals whose job it is to play a competitive game but in the end to ensure that the Globetrotters come out victorious. In other words, the outcome of the competition is predetermined. The only way that this strategy wouldn’t work is if the Globetrotters forgot the game plan or refused to play in the game.
Though this isn’t a perfect analogy of what the Holy Spirit is speaking through Paul, it does give us a level of understanding concerning the way that we should approach spiritual warfare. I grew up believing that it was my responsibility to fight hard enough to win the battles that I faced, but Paul gives us a different attitude to embrace. He starts by reminding us that our strength and power come from the Lord. He then exhorts us to put on all of God’s armor so that we can stand firm against the devil’s strategies. We are reminded that our enemies are not what we see with our natural eyes but evil forces that are mad at God and trying to take it out on us, His children. There is then a second admonition to put on God’s armor so that after the battle we will be found standing firm.
Paul then begins to use the armor analogy to help us to understand what our posture should be during the battles that will come our way. I’ve listed the different pieces of the armor below along with what I believe is the foundational truth that they represent that we are to put our trust in.
- The belt of truth – A belt is what is used to hold everything else in place. It is essential especially when someone in battle is moving at a rapid pace. We know that in spiritual context that the belt of truth is a person and His name is Jesus. He is the way, the truth, and the life.
- The body armor of God’s righteousness – This piece of armor is what was used to protect life-supporting organs such as heart and lungs. We have to know and believe that as we wear God’s Righteousness, which is given to us freely by grace through faith, that we will be protected.
- The Shoes of the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace – Having the right shoes for a soldier would be extremely important for protection and the ability to move quickly over varied terrain. Can you imagine living in peace even when under attack? We are to walk in peace realizing that the One who went before us prepared the way by defeating the enemy for us.
- The Shield of Faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil – A shield was an essential form of protection for a soldier and his fellow warriors. When the enemy would approach, soldiers would form a solid line and lock their shields together so that nothing could get through to harm them. We as believers are called to put our full confidence in Jesus and to make sure that we are standing side by side with fellow Christians.
- Helmet of Salvation–Another piece of protection for vital body parts. We must think correctly in order to not be overwhelmed by the lies of the enemy. Oftentimes, what our mind is telling us is different than what our spirit knows to be true. We must preach the Gospel to ourselves every day.
- Sword of the Spirit – Our first and only offensive weapon is the Word of God. We are to read it, study it, meditate on it, speak it, pray it, and live it by the power of the Holy Spirit. Satan will never respond to our words, but he will definitely respond to the Word of God.
In conclusion, let’s put on our armor like the Globetrotters put on their uniforms and take our stand day after day recognizing that the battle has already been won and our job is to show up and believe that what God said is true.