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 firm.
Picture yourself in this scenario. On the day of your biggest final exam, you wake up a little late, skip breakfast and barely make it to school in time. You didn’t study the night before (and barely studied at all), don’t know where your textbook it and you don’t have a pen, a pencil or a clue about what’s on the test. You’re completely unprepared. How do you think you’ll do on the exam?
Being prepared is essential, no matter what you’re trying to do. Paul, the writer of Ephesians, wanted us to keep that in mind about our faith, too. The Christian life can be difficult; being prepared to live it makes it much easier.
Paul described “the whole armor of God,” and usually when we read that, we picture medieval knights going into battle, clad completely in thick armor and wielding a sharp sword. But Paul was thinking more of the armor worn by Roman soldiers. Each piece had a purpose, and Roman soldiers depended on the pieces to keep them prepared for battle.
The belt held the soldier’s armor in place, and it also provided some protection to vital organs. Our belt of truth holds our faith in place by making sure that we’re prepared for whatever lies our enemies may test us with. Picture the belt as holding your spiritual pants up.
The breastplate was vital to a soldier. It protected their most vital organs, like the heart and lungs. Our breastplate is righteousness that comes from Jesus Christ, who keeps our heart pure.
On a soldier’s feet were protective shoes that made sure they didn’t get hurt by stepping on something as simple as a sharp rock. The Christian’s shoes are to be the readiness given by the gospel of peace. Basically, think of the Lord’s Gospel of peace as keeping sharp spiritual pebbles out of our shoes.
Soldiers needed strong shields to block the arrows fired at them by their enemies. Our shield of faith does the same thing. Our faith in God defeats the fiery arrows of doubt our enemy shoots at us.
The Roman soldier wore a helmet to protect their brain from injury. Our spiritual helmet is our salvation, which protects our minds and our thoughts, and keeps us focused on the Lord and His plans.
Roman soldiers were greatly skilled with the sword, and used it to engage their enemies close-up in battle. The only offensive weapon of a Christian is the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s Word. Think about when Jesus was tempted by Satan in the desert. He used the Word of God to counter every attack thrown at him. That’s how the Lord wants us to respond, too. But we can only use the sword if we practice – by reading the Bible frequently.
The last piece in our armor is prayer. Soldiers didn’t have that in their arsenal, but they did stay in constant communication with their commander so they would know their orders. Prayer is our only way to stay in touch with our commander – God – so that we can stay on track with His plans for us.
That’s it – seven simple pieces of armor. Without them, you’ll be going into your daily battles unprepared. But with them (and with God’s help), you can have a lot more victory every day. Today, try starting your day by mentally putting on each piece of armor – and keep doing it every day so it becomes part of your spiritual routine.
Reflection copyright © 2015 Doug DeBolt.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.