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What is the Armour of God?

Description: God never gives up on us, ever. The Devil wants us to doubt. God’s armour protects Christians today. Discover how it meets the challenges.



Introduction

In his letter to the Ephesians, Apostle Paul implores Christians to put on the whole armour of God (Ephesians 6:11). This symbolic armour serves as a powerful illustration of the spiritual battle that Christians face every day. Just as a soldier wouldn't go into combat without proper protection, we are called to equip ourselves so that we can stand firm against the Devil’s cunning. This blog explores each piece of this divine armour and how it relates to the challenges faced by Christians today.


Divine protection and righteous weapons

Maybe all this sounds a bit head in the clouds. But it isn’t. Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) recalled a preacher shouting from the pulpit: 'never forget that the Devil's best trick is to persuade you that he doesn't exist!'


The idea behind this well-known observation offers a fundamental truth that serves to emphasise our great need of the Armour of God.


Of course, when life is good, it’s easy to believe God is lovingly looking after us. When it’s more difficult, it’s also easy for faith to slip – and this is exactly what the Devil wants. He wants us to doubt. He wants us to throw in the towel and give up on God. He’s tempting us to believe that God doesn’t care about our situation; that God has given up on us or doesn’t exist at all.


But God does exist and never gives up on us, or anyone else, ever. Whatever we’ve done; whatever we’re facing, we can always come to him for help and forgiveness in the name of the all-powerful Jesus Christ.


So let’s explore the different elements and see their relevance for the challenges facing us today.


The Armour of God - Overview

The Armour of God symbolises the weapons and defences we need to fight off attacks by the Devil and his minions. These protections are strong because God is supremely strong – and he wants us to be strong in standing up to anything and everything the Devil throws our way.


And we need all the help we can get. As history tells us, the evil forces ranged against us have a formidable record of murderous destruction over thousands of years. Without God’s armour, we’re up against far more than we can handle on our own. Thank God, we’ve absolutely no need to go it alone. What’s more, we have the divine protection of the very best weapons – weapons forged in the furnace of righteousness.


THE ARMOUR


Belt of Truth

The first protection mentioned in Ephesians 6.10-18 is the belt of truth to buckle around our waists. In ancient armour, the belt held everything together, providing stability and support.


In a world filled with deception and falsehoods, standing firm in the truth of God's Word is essential.


Truth is the opposite of lies and hypocrisy. It means: truth of heart, transparency, and authenticity. When faced with doubt, confusion, or temptation, Christians can cling to the truth revealed in scripture and made alive in Jesus, who is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).


Wearing the belt of truth means binding ourselves to the gospel of Christ and no other. It is the foundation of the Christian life.


Breastplate of Righteousness

The second protection is the breastplate of righteousness. For soldiers in past times, breastplates protected the vital organs, guarding against fatal blows. For Christians, righteousness acts as our spiritual protection. Living a righteous life, characterised by obedience to God's commands and moral integrity, shields us from attacks by the enemy. It guards our hearts against the temptations of sin and preserves our relationship with God.


Righteousness is a gift made possible by the gracious sacrifice of Jesus. Belief in him makes us righteousness with God (i.e. no longer separated from him by sin). It follows that if we stray – and we all do – we must act quickly to restore our relationship. This means repenting and not letting one sin lead to another down a slippery slope. Wearing the breastplate of righteousness is immensely powerful. It confirms that our sins are fully forgiven; that the Devil can’t plague us with guilt or use it to draw us away from God.


Gospel of Peace

The third protection St Paul describes is our feet, ready and primed with the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15). Just as sturdy footwear provides soldiers with stability and mobility, the shoes of the gospel equip Christians to spread Christ’s message.


The gospel has the power to transform lives – as has been proved by the changes in the lives of countless people over millennia who have responded to the good news of Jesus Christ. Not surprisingly, the Devil despises the gospel and will do everything he can to discredit its good news.


In a world marked by division and conflict, believers are called to be ready and armed. The gospel of peace enables us to walk confidently in our faith, bringing hope and reconciliation wherever we go. The gospel helps us to be peacemakers, and inspires us to share the powerful message of salvation that can bring life to those who have not yet heard the good news.


Shield of Faith

The fourth protection is the shield of faith. A shield was essential for deflecting incoming attacks in battle. Likewise, faith serves as a shield for Christians, protecting us from the flaming arrows of the evil one. But what are these arrows? They are the fiery missiles sent to weaken us with fear. Often, they’re inflamed by our own false sense of shame and guilt born of wilful disobedience and hard-heartedness (see also ‘Breastplate of righteousness’ above).


In times of doubt or adversity, faith enables us to trust in God's promises and stand firm in the face of opposition. With faith going before us, we need to have no fear. It provides the courage to persevere and the assurance of victory. With faith as our powerful shield, we can extinguish our enemy’s fiery attacks.


Helmet of Salvation

The helmet of salvation is our fifth protection. Helmets safeguard soldiers’ heads, protecting their minds and thoughts. Similarly, salvation guards the minds of Christians, providing us with the assurance of eternal life with God. By understanding and embracing the reality of our salvation through Jesus Christ, we can find peace and confidence, despite trials and tribulations.


It’s worth remembering: every action and thought starts in our heads. The outcomes of our fights against the Devil are decided in our minds, i.e. by what we ultimately think and decide to do. In 2 Corinthians 10.3-5, Paul reminds us that, although we live in the world, we don’t fight as the world does. Our weapons have the divine power to demolish: strongholds, arguments, and all pretensions set up against God. Our challenge is to centre our thoughts on God’s will and make every thought obedient to Christ.


In short, our knowledge, understanding and acceptance that Jesus has saved us – his salvation – is the helmet we need to protect our heads and guide our thinking.


Sword of the Spirit

Our sixth protection is a weapon and is the very word of God. Swords were the primary offensive weapon in ancient warfare, used for both defence and attack. For Christians, the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. Through the power of scripture, we can combat falsehoods, temptations, and spiritual strongholds. We can meditate on God's Word and allow it to dwell richly within us.


When Jesus was tempted in the desert after his baptism, he answered the Devil’s temptations with words from scripture (Matthew 4:1–11). He was fully armed with the word of God. The more we learn from the scriptures, the better we too will be able to wield the Sword of the Spirit. The Bible is a powerful resource when we’re under attack. We simply need to read it regularly and be ready to counter the Devil’s attacks with the good news of Christ Jesus.


Praying in the Spirit

Prayer is a powerful weapon. Although not explicitly mentioned as a piece of armour, prayer is the vital component that holds the whole armour together. It is the means through which we communicate with God, and seek his guidance, strength, and protection. More than this, it is a key priority in developing our personal relationship with God.


Mary, Queen of Scots, once said, ‘I fear John Knox’s prayers more than an army of ten thousand men.’ (Knox was a Scottish clergyman who lived from 1514 to 1572 and was one of the most powerful preachers of his day. He understood how lost he was, so constantly asked God for direction. He was a man of prayer and became such a significant force in his country, no one could ignore him.)


We too need to pray - really pray - so we can be empowered to do God’s will and resist the temptations the Devil will always offer. Through prayer, we access the power and resources of heaven to overcome spiritual battles and walk in victory.


Conclusion

The armour of God serves as a powerful metaphor for the spiritual resources available to Christians in our daily walks with God. By intentionally putting on each piece of this divine armour through prayer, faith, and obedience to God's Word, we can stand firm against the Devil’s subversive tactics and experience the abundant life Christ promised.


It’s worth noting that no human empire – however extensive and powerful – has ever survived for more than a few centuries (and the vast majority for considerably less than this). Only God’s kingdom is eternal, and we fight with his weapons.


So, let’s follow Paul's exhortation and equip ourselves with the whole armour of God. Then, we can navigate the challenges of life with courage, faith, and unwavering trust in our mighty God.



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