Properly Prepared for the Battle: A Reflection on Ephesians 6, the Armor of God
8 November 2020
As one who struggles with chronic pain and fatigue, I’ve noticed how quickly the defense mechanisms in my mind get worn. It becomes hard to fight off negative thinking.
The other night, weary and weak and longing for rest, I cried out to God for words that would bring relief. Here’s what came to my mind:
Put on God’s Armor, Sara. Everyday. Seriously.
Ephesians 6 talks about the Armor of God, and for many years I knew the words, but hadn’t spent time really sitting with them to understand and apply what they mean.
Now, I’m ready to dig in. Come hunt for treasures with me!
"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."
- Ephesians 6:10-18 NLT
The first evening I spent meditating on this, I had my notebook out and scrawled all kinds of correlations.
You should have seen the jumble of arrows and stars, it was a glorious mess!
Now, for the tidied up version:
The BELT of TRUTH:
Standing our ground in truth comes down to our identity. We get our identity from the Word, where God tells us both who He is, and who we are to Him. When our identity isn’t confirmed – belted around us – it is so easy to give in to labels from outside of truth. Then, the downward spiral begins and we are useless in the battlefield.
We have been given the Holy Spirit as a free gift, our Comforter and Counsellor, and His role is to lead us in all truth. Truth matters for those walking in the Spirit. Belted in by truth, we are secure against all lies.
The BREASTPLATE of RIGHTEOUSNESS:
A breastplate covers our chest – guarding our hearts.
Our hearts are the lifeline for our bodies, kind of important to protect!
The wisdom found in the proverbs reminds us to guard our hearts, wherein our hearts are a lifeline beyond just the physical. We understand that we feel with our hearts, and when our hearts are heavy, downcast, negative, etc. – that directs the course of our lives. It makes it harder to see hope. It makes it harder to walk by faith.
"Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life."
- Proverbs 4:23 NLT
Though I am but a messy, mistake-prone human, as a Child of God Christ Jesus is alive inside of me. He is righteousness for me. And, Christ in us is our Hope of Glory!
The enemy is already defeated. Jesus has won the victory. Glory is coming!
Guarding this truth and covering my lifeline with it becomes imperative if I want to see victory in my daily battles.
"And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory." - Colossians 1:27 NLT
The SHOES of PEACE:
When I am peaceful, I am able to act and react from a place that is free from anxiety. I can see clearly, I’m not overwhelmed by emotion. I can therefore declare the truth of the Gospel message over myself and over the situation.
This truth: Jesus came to offer redemption from sin because God so loved the world.
Just as I am. Just as you are. You are loved. And, our battle is not with each other, but rather with the spiritual realm actively fighting around us.
From this settled, peaceful stance, we are free to fight effectively. We are also free to proclaim boldly the things of God, not fearing man. Peace and fear work in opposition. To be settled in peace, we are free from fear’s choke-hold.
The SHIELD of FAITH:
Our shield is what blocks the fiery arrows coming at us.
Imagine lies and downright negative thoughts being whispered, and swatting them away with a big “Nuh Uh! Nope! Not accepting that!”
This shield-baring exercise is humorous to visualize, but powerful to act out.
"For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God." 1 John 5:4-5 NLT
The HELMET of SALVATION:
The knowledge that I am saved can and should be a guard around our minds, like a fortress. How many lies bombard us, shouting “I’m not good enough” or “I’ve messed up too badly too often” etc.
The enemy knows if he can stump us, questioning our salvation, identity, and purpose, we are sitting ducks…freely plucked away by his flaming arrows.
Oh, precious, complicated, fragile brains…good thing for helmets!
The SWORD of the SPIRIT (THE WORD OF GOD):
Are you familiar with the song, “This is how I fight my battles”? It’s a favorite, and immediately comes to mind as I ponder this final battle element.
…How is it that we fight? Praise! Rejoicing! Knowing the Word, we can proclaim it and soar on the heights as we swing our overwhelming victory in the face of the enemy. And he flees (James 4:7).
Speak it. Sing it. And watch the enemy run, tail between his legs. We are more than conquerors friends! And God’s Word, mingled with a heart set on confident praise, is our weapon.
Jesus’s resistance to temptation, His battle strategy, was proclamation of God’s Word.
Remember, though, to resist with the Word, we need to know the Word.
Time to dig in, Friends!
We are meant to live and walk victoriously, because Jesus did the hard work for us 2000 years ago. Our call is to live it out faithfully, armored up.
I’ve heard friends say they make this part of their morning routines. As they dress for the day, they verbalize their armor going on. I like this visual. It’s intentional, strategic. It’s sure to be honored and effective.
Let’s get our armor on together! We’ve got ground to cover in our world. Love to live out. Light to shine.