The importance of using the whole armor of God
The belt of truth, the helmet of salvation, etc. What are these things that are so crucial to our lives?
The whole armor of God – everything we need
Everything that we need to overcome in ouragainst sin is 100% available to us. But in order to use these crucial weapons, we have to understand what they are, and how to use them. Once we understand this and take up the whole armor of God, as Paul exhorts us to do in Ephesians 6, we will, by the grace of God, be able to overcome every temptation.
The belt of truth
“Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth …” Ephesians 6:14.
Those who are wearing the belt of truth, love the truth, and guard it at all costs. To love the truth means two things:
- That we love the truth about who we are according to our nature, which the Holy Spirit points out to us. When we acknowledge the truth about the sin in our flesh, then we can be transformed from it and we are saved and preserved from the harmful effects of living in willful sin.
- That we only speak the truth. A lie, no matter how “little,” gives the powers of darkness an opening for attack, but the truth chases them far away. For example, then we do not tell a lie in order to protect our reputation, or to “save our skin.”
When we have “girded our waist with truth,” we are protected from the detrimental effects of lies and deception, and from being bound to the sin in our flesh.
The breastplate of righteousness
“… having put on the breastplate of righteousness …” Ephesians 6:14.
The righteousness of Jesus Christ is the righteousness reckoned to us at the time we are converted. Our past sins are forgiven, and we can start with a “clean slate.”
The breastplate of righteousness, on the other hand, is the personal righteousness we gain as a result of the lives we live in Him. This righteousness is attained as a result of faithful obedience to His commandments and will for our lives. Satan’s accusations and wiles cannot penetrate this righteousness – then he has nothing with which to accuse us. Righteousness in small as well as big things will protect us like a breastplate against the darts of our enemy. Small acts of unrighteousness, not to mention big ones, will be like holes through which Satan can come in and destroy us. Righteousness protects us so that nothing can cut off our relationship with Christ, and nothing can provoke us to live and react according to our sinful nature. When we have the breastplate of righteousness, Satan has nothing in us.
The shoes of the gospel of peace
“… and having your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” Ephesians 6:15.
The gospel of peace is instruction on how to come to a peace from the demands of the flesh. Jesus’ peace is a peace that is gained through an inner battle against sin in the flesh, where all the lusts and desires that arise from it are defeated. Victory in this battle gives us power over the spiritual hosts of wickedness that attack us from outside. We know that in order to gain this peace we first have to fight a battle, and we have to be prepared for that battle, wearing the whole armor of God. This is what it means that we must have our feet shod – we have to be prepared for that battle. We don’t get very far walking with bare feet on glass and sharp stones, let alone trying to fight a battle on terrain like that, so our feet must be shod. The preparation that we need to have is the mind of Christ – which is the attitude of being willing to be obedient to do God’s will whatever it takes.
This battle is for personal peace from the lusts of the flesh, and it can also be a battle to spread this gospel of peace to the world. Both of these things can only be accomplished through battling against “principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12.) We understand that it is a spiritual battle that we are fighting. In both cases we need to be prepared to do whatever it takes.
The shield of faith
“… above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” Ephesians 6:16.
Faith is to be obedient to do God’s will and overcome the lusts and desires of the flesh, regardless of our personal will, feelings, ego, opinions, reasoning, etc. When we are tempted by the flesh, then Satan sends his fiery darts into our mind, trying to influence our decision as to whether we will obey God or give in to the lusts of the flesh. But when we have faith that only God’s will is best for us, then that shield of faith deflects all of Satan’s efforts to persuade us to sin, and the temptation will always be overcome.
When Abraham went to sacrifice Isaac, Satan’s flaming darts might well have come at him in the form of words like these: “What do you think Sarah will say? Her heart will probably break … You’ll be a murderer … You must have misunderstood; a loving God could not possibly have given such a commandment! You saw what happened when Cain killed Abel. And here you are, ready to do something just about as bad; and because you should know better, you will be worse than Cain.”
That’s how Satan preaches when someone sets out to do a work of faith. In the position Abraham was in, every word would have struck him like a flaming dart. And yet, Abraham had not heard wrong; he acted with boldness and courage because God had said it, and we all know what happened: Satan’s flaming darts simply glanced off the shield of faith.
The helmet of salvation
“… and take the helmet of salvation …” Ephesians 6:17.
Paul also writes about this helmet in 1 Thessalonians 5:8: “… as a helmet the hope of salvation.”
When we have the hope of salvation – that the end of our faith will be the salvation of our souls (1 Peter 1:9) – then we will be able to withstand anything the devil throws at us to try to shake us from our faith. This hope makes us strong in the Lord, and enables us to endure fiery trials and hardships. Hope makes us fearless; it causes us to look ahead to the reward. With this helmet on we are impervious to everything that rains down upon it, because we look forward, in faith, to the glory that comes from a tried and tested faith.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18.
The sword of the Spirit
“… and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:17.
The sword of the Spirit is a crucial part of the whole armor of God. It can put whole armies of evil spirits to flight. With this sword we can always be victorious over sin because the word overcomes, as Jesus taught us. “Get behind me Satan, for it is written …” Own the Word – get to know it inside and out – and then use it to fight against and overcome all flesh. One word of God can stop the enemy in his tracks and cut him down. With this sword – the word – we can judge between what is good and what is evil. What is right and what is wrong. The word will always show us the truth of what we should do. If we follow it, then Satan cannot lead us astray.
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Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.