While meditating on putting on the whole armor of God (cf. Ephesians 6:10—17), the thought creeped into my mind that putting on the armor of God is somewhat like preparing for a football game. Both require protective armor. A Christian puts on the “helmet of salvation;” a football player puts on head gear. A Christian puts on the “breastplate of righteousness;” a football player puts on his shoulder pads. A Christian wraps his “waist in truth” a football player wraps his waist with padding. A Christian must have his “feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace,” while a football player wears cleats in order to keep himself from slipping and falling.
A great football coach once said this about preparing for a football game, “Football is like life it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication, and respect for authority.” Our Christian walk requires all of those qualities and more. Self-discipline prepares us for the spiritual battles that are sure to come our way. Whenever you attempt to accomplish something to please God there is going to be a battle fought. And just like a football player the Christian’s preparation and armor is not to keep them out of the battle, but to protect them while in the midst of the battle. “You cannot go into a spiritual battle naked and unprepared any more than a football player can go on the field without his protective gear; if you do, you will end up torn, tattered, and discouraged.”
How do we prepare ourselves for these spiritual battles? Ephesians 6:10-17 tells us,
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Eph. 6:10-18)
Paul instructs us to put on protective gear, to stand firm, to stand your ground, never surrender ground to the enemy. Be ready and prepared, don’t get caught napping. The apostle Paul wrote that our battles are not carnal but spiritual. We do not fight against another person although it seems like we do at times, but that is another lie from Satan. If he can get you focused on someone else and off of him he is winning the battle, “We fight against “principles,” “against powers,” “against the rulers of darkness,” and “against spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). I would like to add that we also fight against ourselves at times brought on by fear, doubt, discouragement, and the influence of others. You must stay focused on the battle, not on yourself, your circumstances, or others.
“Put on truth”
The first thing on Paul’s list is from verse 14, “Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth.” Girded here means to literally tuck in your waist band and get ready. We are instructed to tuck-in and wrap-around our waste truth. What kind of truth is Paul talking about? In John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life no one comes to the Father except through me.” John 1:17 says, “Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” According to Scripture, when we gird ourselves up with truth we are wrapping ourselves in the undisputed truth of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Breastplate of righteousness”
Next on Paul’s list is putting on the breastplate of righteousness. Jesus is the righteous one and he willingly covered us with his righteousness, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). We wrap ourselves with the truth that comes from Jesus and we put-on the righteousness of Christ.
“Being shod with the gospel”
The next piece of armor Paul says we are to put-on is from verse 15 which says, “Having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15). What is the gospel? It is the “Good News” of Jesus Christ–accepting by faith the death and resurrection of Christ for the forgiveness of our sins and putting our faith in Him for eternal life. Paul is telling us to be prepared to share the good news of Christ with others–even in the midst of the battle. Share with others the reason for the hope that is in you and that hope is salvation and a new life through the Lord Jesus.
“Shield of faith”
Then Paul instructs us to take up the shield of faith so that we can quench the fiery darts of the devil, “Above all taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the devil” (Eph. 6:16).
Who are we to put our faith in and where does this life-changing faith come from, Romans 3:22-24,
Even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe…For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Whom God set forth as propitiation (substitute) through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness” (Romans 3:22-24). Paul wrote to the Romans, “To think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith” (Romans 12:3, italic emphasis mine). The very faith we are to put-on is given to us by God and realized only in Christ.
“Helmet of salvation”
The last two armors: the Word of God (the sword of the spirit) and the helmet of salvation. Who is our salvation? The Apostle Peter said this about Jesus in the Book of Acts, “This is the stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the corner stone. Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:11-12).
“The sword of the Spirit”
The last piece of armor on Paul’s list is the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God (cf. Ephesians 6:17). In the Book of Hebrews, the writer explained the life-changing power available from the Word of God “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4: 12).
Who is this Living Word? In the Apostle John’s account of Jesus’ life he said this about Jesus, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the word was God….” “And the word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory as the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1, 14). John is clear in his gospel that Jesus Christ is the “Living Word,” and The Book of Hebrews tells us that the Word, which is Jesus, “is alive,” “powerful,” and able to “pull down strongholds.”
Can anyone see a common theme emerging? What is the nitty gritty of what the Apostle Paul is explaining to us in Ephesians 6:10-17? Let’s review: We are to put on “the truth of Christ,” “the righteousness of Christ,” be prepared with the “good news of Christ,” “put our faith in Christ,” “obtain our salvation in Christ,” and “grab a hold of the word of God, which is Christ.” Paul is explaining to us that in order to be more than conquerors, in our Christian life, we need to be covered by Christ from the top of our head to the very souls of our feet.
When the devil strolls up to you and sees you covered from head to toe with Jesus he can’t do anything but shake his head and flee (cf. James 4:7). You already have the victory. You received that when you became a Christian, “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). “Put on the whole armor of God,” which is Christ Jesus, and you can’t be defeated. Jesus is our armor and it is only by becoming Christ-like that we can overcome the wickedness of this world. As Christians our goal in life should always be to please God and we please God by being like His son Jesus (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:9, Matthew 3:17).
I want to challenge you to take the things Paul listed in Ephesians 6:14-17 and examine them to see where there might be weaknesses in your armor. When we are obedient to God’s word, and apply the principles that are set forth for us to follow we cannot be defeated. Nicotine addiction was one of the scariest and hardest battles I have faced in my life. Through that battle I held onto one thought; in order to be successful I had to put-on the character traits of Christ (cf. Galatians 5:22—25) and put the battle totally in the hands of the Lord. Believing that with God in my corner I could not fail. God promises that “nothing will be impossible for you” (cf. Philippians 4:13).
I got great news for you: Jesus Christ wins the battle; I guarantee it!!