“Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints”
In Chapter 5, Paul compared our relationship with Jesus as a walk. Now he compares it to a battleground. We are told we have an enemy, the devil, who plans strategies against us. His goal is to get us to fall into sin, or to live so self-consumed, we have little or no positive effect upon others for the kingdom. As we watch him at work in the pages of God’s Word, we see his method is to use fear and discouragement, as well as to tempt us with the pleasures of the world. Here, Paul explains how we can be prepared for the daily battle we face. His description is of a soldier girded for war. Each element of his armor is designed to deal with a different attack.
The belt of truth refers to the Word of God. Having sound knowledge of Biblical doctrines will keep you from being misled by the subtle schemes of the enemy. Daily reading, and weekly Bible Study, will help prepare you for these attacks. The breastplate protects the heart from mortal wounds. Notice, our breastplate is the righteousness we receive when we trust in Christ for salvation. Daily failures can discourage the believer from moving forward. Those are the times when we look at the cross, remember our sins were paid in full, and His righteousness was given in exchange for simple trust. Since the Christian life is a journey, shoes are important, and we wear Gospel shoes. Everywhere we go, we should seek to take the light of the Gospel of the glory of Jesus with us. When we go on the offensive, we are less likely to be tripped up by the simple things.
Next, Paul mentions a weapon that is, in his own words, more important than all the rest. He states, “above all take the shield of faith.” Faith is critical to our journey and the battle. Faith has become a very mystical word, hard to define. It simply means to trust. If we are going to withstand the enemy’s attacks, we must put our confidence in the promises and warnings of God’s Word. Too often, we ignore the warnings of the Word, thinking somehow we are the exception to the rule. The shield of faith is activated when we choose to trust the Word of God over emotion, circumstances, and the voice of others.
As the breastplate protects the heart, the helmet was designed to protect the head. Head injuries can be mortal or can simply knock us out of the fight for a while. The mind is the battlefield where the enemy discharges his greatest attacks in the night hours, after an argument, before a decision, or in the midst of temptation. The mind becomes a battlefield where war is waged against us. The secret to victory is the helmet of salvation. When we remember what we have been saved from, what we have been saved to, and how God wants to use us in the salvation of others, our minds become filled with the very things which will help us withstand the attack.
Finally, Paul speaks of an offensive weapon. He tells us we have been equipped with a sword, but not just any sword. This is the Sword of the Spirit, defined as the Word of God. Since I have no military training, I am pleased to read that it is the Spirit’s sword. When we open our mouth and begin to share the promises of the Word with others, the Holy Spirit takes those words and uses them like a sword to impact the heart. How often have you heard the Word of God spoken and been convicted, encouraged, empowered or directed? The Holy Spirit will do the same through you, as He has done in you.
Gird up guys, it is time for battle!