Put On The Full Armor Of God

In this article, I will discuss the armor of God. If you try to fight Satan without the full armor of God, you will use. Therefore, it is very important to understand the armor of God at your disposal, and how to use it.

Eph 6:10-13 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.

In the first five and a half chapters of this book Paul told the Ephesians what our salvation is about, and knowing that salvation, how we should behave. Now Paul tells us about the war that we are in and how we can survive it and do damage to the enemy.

You do realize that, as a believer, you are at war, right? That realization itself will put you in the correct mindset, for the mindset of a person at war is very different from the mindset of a person at peace. A person at war is at a different level of alertness, and feels the need for armor and weapons far more acutely.

That is why you must internalize an important truth – the devil is scheming against you! He is going to do whatever it takes to prevent you from being saved. And if you do manage to get saved – genuinely saved – then he is going to do whatever it takes to get you to lose your salvation. And if he isn’t able to do that, then he is going to do whatever it takes to get you to get minimal reward in heaven and to be as ineffective as possible in building God’s kingdom and damaging his (Satan’s) kingdom.

You must be aware that you are in the midst of a battle with spiritual forces of darkness that reside in heavenly places. You must realize that you will be a target of Satan the moment you set your face to obey God’s new direction, just as in war, where places of military importance are the first targets. This should not scare you because God is on your side. However, knowing this should cause you to walk wisely and be watchful of the traps that Satan tries to get you to fall into.

When you decide to turn away from a new sin, or when you decide to make a new effort to build the church after listening to God’s voice, you can be sure that Satan is going to oppose you, and try and discourage or dissuade you. You have to expect that, and be prepared for it.

If you have not felt the opposition of Satan in your life recently it just means that you have been slacking. Satan doesn’t bother to oppose Christians who are not a threat to him.

You must remember that Satan is like a roaring lion seeking to devour you (1 Pet 5:8,9). When Satan opposes you, you have to resist him (1Pet 5:8,9). To resist him you have to be strong in the Lord, in the strength of His might. You can do this by putting on the full armor of God.

For this reason, Paul’s first point is that you need to be strong in the Lord. You need the strength of His might. Satan is smarter and mightier than you. If you battle him alone, you will not succeed. You must use the Lord’s might in your battle.

You can’t fight Satan with the weapons of men. You can’t destroy Satan with guns and tanks and missiles. That is why Paul tells us to be strong in the strength of His might. How do we do that? By putting on the full armor of God.

What does a man who realizes that he needs the Lord’s help do? He prays – asking God for help to overcome Satan. That is why, in verse 18 Paul tells us to pray, and not just to pray, but to pray in the Spirit, and not just for ourselves, but also for others.

And then you put on armor, not just your armor, but the armor of God, and not just a part of it, but the full armor of God.

One of Satan’s strategies is to get you to fight against other people instead of him. Don’t fall for that.

When you fight a war, you must know who the enemy is and fight against the enemy, not against a friend or a neutral country. In World War II, if Britain began fighting against France instead of Germany, that would have been a tragedy. In the same way, if you are fighting your spiritual war against people, and have complaints against people, or spend time trying to take people down, you are fighting against the wrong enemy. While it is true that some people knowingly or unknowingly serve the devil, God wants all men to be saved, and so when we desire evil for other people (even those who harm us) we are going up against God.

It is really important to not waste our time and our energy fighting against the wrong enemy. Satan will eagerly try to get you to do that, but don’t you let him.

Another thing to understand is that the spiritual walk is not on a flat surface but on an incline (because you have a flesh). And further, there is an active enemy trying to push you down. If you don’t supply an upward force you won’t keep your position but you will lose ground. You need to supply an upward force just to keep position.

When you are at home, your godly parents (if you have them) or the godly people in church you are part of, can protect you, and so you might survive without using the full armor of God. But when you are on your own, or in leadership (like Paul), you must be able to survive on your own. For this, you will need the full armor of God, and you need to be an expert at using it.

Let us now look at Eph 6:14-17, which describes the armor of God.

Eph 6:14 Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS,

The loins are the portion of your body around your reproductive organs. We need to gird, or cover them, with truth. When we teach someone spiritual things we are essentially reproducing our theology in them, and vice versa. Metaphorically speaking, to gird our loins with truth means to make sure that we are teaching people the truth, and that the theology we receive (or reproduced in us) is also true. Only spiritual truth goes in, and only spiritual truth goes out.

Satan’s martial strategy is to deceive – that is, to get people to believe what is false. If we teach people false theology, then we are not fighting against Satan but for him! If false theology gets into us, then we are compromised.

So, Paul’s point here is to make sure that we are not fighting for the enemy but against the enemy!

In a physical war, if a soldier has a wrong understanding of what his country stands for, or a wrong understanding of how to use his weapons, or a wrong understanding of who his enemy is and what his enemy stands for, or what his enemy’s tactics and strategy are, then he is in a very bad position.

Similarly, having and using good information about the enemy’s strengths and weaknesses, and strategies, tactics and plans, is very valuable. If we understand Satan’s strengths and weaknesses, and strategies, tactics and plans, we can wage war successfully against him.

This may sound basic, and you may be tempted to disregard this point as minor, but I urge you to not be too hasty in doing that. There are a lot of people teaching exactly what Satan wants them to teach, and they have ended up unknowingly fighting on Satan’s side instead of against him.

The Pharisees are a perfect example – they went about teaching that Jesus was not the Messiah, which is exactly what Satan wanted them to do.

Teaching and receiving the truth is an important piece of the armor because one of the schemes of the devil is to suppress the truth (Rom 1:32, 2 Tm 3:8). Jesus said that the devil was a liar from the beginning (Jn 8:44) and is the father of lies.

If the truth is suppressed it is easy to get people to believe a lie. For example, if the church never proclaims that pre-marital sex is a sin then it is easy for the devil to get young unmarried couples to have pre-marital sex. Therefore, we should constantly proclaim the truths found in God’s word (the promises, the conditions, and so on) as well as the moral standard that God has set for us, as well as the defeat of Satan, so that all may know the truth. In the times of Christ, a man working without his loins girded was clumsy. It was even worse while fighting because then he had to be agile and move quickly. In the same way, without truth the Christian soldier is weak and ineffective before the devil.

Righteousness (i.e. doing what is right) is like a breastplate that protects your vital organs. God’s domain is righteousness, and Satan’s domain is unrighteousness. If there is any area of your life where you are not practicing what is right, then you are like a British soldier in World War II whose wife is in Germany. You can’t effectively wage war with an enemy if part of you is loyal to the enemy.

The devil would love to wound your vital organs so that you become and remain ineffective for God’s work. To do that all he has to do is to get you to do something wrong and to make it publicly known. That ruins your testimony and therefore your ability to serve God.

Moreover, if there is an area of your life that you haven’t submitted to God, then that is an area that he has power over you. When you give him power like that you are giving him the ability to control your life and mess it up. He will then have control of your time and your location and your thoughts. How will you then be able to effectively serve God? Whenever you are stirred up to serve God he will tempt you in the area that you have given him control, causing you to fall. Thus, you will never be able to do much for God because your vital spiritual organs are wounded.

For example, if you have a problem with being righteousness in the area of sex then Satan will use it to pull you down repeatedly and hinder your testimony and your ministry.

Eph 6:15 and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE;

To shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace is to use every opportunity to save people. In a war, if your army is small and the enemy’s is big then you are at a disadvantage. Further, if there is a country that is currently neutral it is to your advantage to have that country join you. In the same way, there are many people out there who are not saved (i.e. not on your side). If you give them the gospel and they get saved (truly saved) then you have just made your position stronger and Satan’s position weaker. That is why part of your armor, and martial strategy, is to proclaim the true and full gospel everywhere so that your position is stronger and Satan’s is weaker.

Eph 6:16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

The shield of faith is what prevents Satan from crippling us and rendering us useless for the kingdom of God. We are crippled when we doubt God’s love for us, and when we are discouraged or in despair, and when things haven’t gone according to what we thought they should go.

Satan puts in our mind all sorts of thoughts that challenge what God has said. He did that right in the beginning to Eve, and he did it to Jesus. So you can be sure that he will also be doing it to us. These thoughts are like fiery missiles – if we allow them to touch us they will wound our spirits just as physical fiery darts would wound our bodies. Faith is like a shield that can render those darts harmless. In times of trials and temptations, when we choose to believe God’s word (and particularly His promises) rather than what our eyes and feelings tell us then we effectively quench those fiery missiles.

If you don’t know God’s promises then it is like going into battle without a shield – it will not be too hard to get you discouraged and to give up.

If you can’t recognize a fiery missile for what it is then you won’t even try to stop it and it will go right into you and do its damage.

Eph 6:17 And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

If you go into battle without a helmet, then the enemy can kill you with a single blow to the head. But if you had a helmet on, even many blows to the head would not take you out. Even if he doesn’t kill you with a blow to the head he can still hit you hard enough to confuse you and render you ineffective.

If you are not saved you still belong to Satan. God cannot use you. You are useless for God’s kingdom. Salvation takes us from the kingdom of Satan to the kingdom of God. It takes us from the total power of Satan to the total power of God. Once we are saved Satan cannot touch us unless God allows him to. Salvation is like a helmet that prevents us from receiving a knockout blow on the head that kills us.

The present salvation is not the only aspect of our helmet. The hope of future salvation is also part of our helmet (1 Thess 5:8). As we look forward to the Second Coming of Jesus and the glorified body that we will get at that time we can withstand all the trials we may currently encounter (Rom 8:18).

The helmet protects our head. Our head holds our brain and most of our sensory organs (eyes, ears, nose and mouth). With our sensory organs we receive information that our brain uses to make decisions. With our brain we know things. You must know on whose side you are on, and who is for you and who is against you. In particular, you must know that God is on your side.

If you are in a war, and you don’t know who your friend is and who your enemy is then you are going to be very confused, and will not be a very effective soldier.

Our salvation is the deciding factor concerning who our friend is and who are enemy is. If you are saved, then God is on your side, and Satan and his demons are your enemies.

In war, there can be a lot of confusion, and what you see and hear can sometimes make you wonder whether God is really on your side. That is when the helmet of salvation comes handy – it lets you know for sure that because you are saved you are a child of God and because you love God He will cause all things to work together for your God. So even if your eyes and ears seem to tell you otherwise, you can be steadfast in your knowledge that you are on the winning side.

The entire armor so far was for defense. We also have a part that can be used for offense. This is the Word of God and is likened to the sword of the Spirit. The Word of God is unbreakable (Jn 10:35) – i.e. it will come to pass. The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to counter Satan and destroy him. Jesus used Scripture to counter Satan when He was tempted (Mt 4:1-11).

Satan’s kingdom is built and maintained via lies and deceit. When we preach the truth of God’s word and how to use that truth in our personal lives we damage Satan’s kingdom. When we expound the Word of God to give people a true understanding of God and of Satan we give them the tools they need to make themselves great warriors for God and against Satan.


Copyright (c) 2007-2018, Rosario (Ross) D'Souza. All Rights Reserved
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