By putting on the armor of God, we can declare the good news of God with boldness and fearlessness. We must use every piece of the armor of God to withstand the attacks of the enemy.
The Christian life is a life of spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:12). Such reality results from a fallen world overcome by sin. One way we experience this warfare is through the many trials and difficulties we have in our lives. Many of the ordeals we go through expose our strongholds and hearts. The enemy wants to stop the divine mission of God’s people. But we can overcome temptation and submit to God by putting on His full armor.
What is the Armor of God?
In the Christian life, we battle against rulers and the powerful evil forces of fallen angels headed by the devil who is a vicious fighter (1 Peter 5:8). To withstand their attacks, we must depend on God’s strength and use every piece of His armor. The body of the church needs to be armed.
We face a powerful army whose goal is to defeat Christ’s church. Although we are assured of victory, we must engage in the struggle until Christ returns, because Satan is constantly trying every device to turn us away from God. To defeat Satan, God has provided us supernatural power by giving us His Holy Spirit within us and His armor surrounding us.
The book of Ephesians explains the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). It is imagery used to describe the weapon and defense a Christian has in spiritual warfare. The whole armor of God, as written in Scripture, encompasses several parts that a Christian puts on.
What Comprises the Full Armor of God According to the Bible?
Belt of truth
A soldier’s belt is vital in keeping all the other parts of the armor centered and in place. When a soldier puts on his belt, we expect him to be ready for battle. The enemy in this spiritual battle is the father of lies (John 8:44). One way the evil one wages war is to shake up our identity in Christ through hammering lies in our minds.
Our culture encourages corrupt labels of identity instead of God’s definition of who we are. These lies eventually result in sin and suffering. The belt of truth is the truth of the gospel that tells us our place before God. A practical way we can put on the belt of truth is by reading and memorizing scriptures.
Breastplate of righteousness
We tend to be caught up by worldly desires and sinful pursuits. But through the righteousness and example of Jesus, we can turn away from temptation and submit to God’s authority. The breastplate of righteousness postures us into obedience. We must understand the laws of God and obey them. Obedience to God protects us from the consequences of sin.
Gospel of peace
Worry and anxiety have become rampant in our fast-paced world. Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental illness in America. We worry about our health, finances, career, and relationships. This worry steals our peace in God. We are to anchor our lives to God. In this way, our peace is unshakable and unfaltering.
Shield of faith
Shields are used to intercepting attacks during battle. In ancient times, shields were even more valuable than weapons. The shield of faith protects us from the assault of the enemy. As Christians, we are to go on the path of God by faith and not by our perceptions and circumstances (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Helmet of salvation
Salvation is a gift of God in Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23). We are saved from the penalty of our sins because of the death of Christ. Our salvation assures eternal life. This salvation is available to us because of Christ’s death and resurrection. Because of Jesus, we can put on this helmet of salvation. We can be fearless in an environment with terror and uncertainty.
Sword of the spirit
War offense and offense strategies use a sword. In Christian spiritual warfare, our sword is the Word of God. Just like Jesus, we too are tempted by the enemy. The enemy tempts us to disobey God and step out of our standing before Him. Therefore as followers of Christ, we are to arm ourselves with the Word of God. We should not take for granted reading Scripture and living it out.
Prayers are an essential element in putting on the armor of God. Prayers are a means to lay down our cares to the Lord. It is also a way by which we submit to His sovereignty and authority over our lives. We declare our worship to the God who has won the victory over sin and death by constantly praying.
Reasons to Put on the Full Armor of God
To stand firm in the faith
The enemy in spiritual warfare recognizes when to throw punches. These attacks feel more crippling during times we are at our frailest. We cannot war in the heavenly realm (Ephesians 6:12) on our strength. Our feet stand on loose soil when the world is our foundation. We cannot rely on our wisdom, wealth, accomplishments, and relationships to ground us. Putting on the whole armor of God and resting our faith in Him allows us to be unwavering. It gives us the courage not to stumble. It fuels us to walk in Christ until we reach the finish line.
The assault of the enemy comes in varied tactics. Some may be apparent such as illnesses. Others are more subtle such as deception through television and social media. The whole armor of God shields us from the evil one. Of course, the Lord’s protection does not always mean that we will not suffer. We will experience loss, grief, affliction, and persecution. The Lord’s protection means that even amid tribulation, God is with us. He is good and faithful. God is mighty to deliver us from trouble. He is our refuge and our help (Psalm 46:1).
Submission and obedience to God
Acceptance of Jesus guarantees eternal life for those who believe and the strength to obey and follow God. We do not obey God by manufactured strength but by the power of the Holy Spirit. The full armor of God transforms our minds and hearts to be in submission to Him. We trust that the Lord knows His plans. We trust that He is for us. We trust that He loves us. By putting on the complete armor of God, our submission and obedience penetrate our thoughts, feelings, desires, and decisions.
How Can We Put on the Armor of God in Our Lives?
Immerse yourself in Scripture
The things we expose ourselves to mold our mindset. There is wisdom in the saying that we become what we consume. You might notice how your mood and thought process change after watching the news on television. Or you may have experienced a gradual change in your thinking when you engage in social media for long periods. Immersing ourselves in Scripture fortifies the battleground – our mind.
Regularly reading the Bible is a spiritual discipline a Christian cannot afford to take for granted. We can pray to God to plant in our hearts the desire to know Him more through Scripture reading. It may be helpful for us to allot a specific time during the day to read our Bibles. Some prefer reading first thing in the morning. On the other hand, others choose to read before they sleep at night. Find a schedule and habit that works for you.
It may also be beneficial to memorize the Scriptures. Memory verses help us remember God’s Word, especially during times of suffering. It is also vital to understand the Scriptures and not breeze through them. Some Christians tend to read the Bible as part of routines without comprehending its meaning. Lastly, we must make sure that we live out the message of the Scripture in our daily lives.
Turn away from temptation
Temptation is common to everyone. But temptations also come and impact us in different ways. One person may be struggling with temptations of lust while another is not. But no matter the temptation we face, the Scriptures say that the Lord will provide us an escape to endure (1 Corinthians 10:13). The armor of God strengthens our conviction against temptation and sin. It will do us well to stay out of circumstances and places that expose us to temptations.
For example, one might struggle with social comparisons that lead to envy, resentment, grumbling, and self-pity. This scenario may do him well to limit social media consumption that might trigger negative thoughts and feelings. Another powerful way to help in turning away from temptation is to have an accountability partner. Your accountability partner can guide, encourage, and pray for you in your battle with sin and temptation (James 5:16).
Share the gospel and minister to others
God calls and uses different people to share in the work of Christ. The requirements of being a follower of Christ are not the same as the requirements of the world. Putting on the armor of God equips us for kingdom-building. Sharing the gospel and ministering to others is a command of God and not a mere option for a Christian (Matthew 28:19).
As we draw closer to God, we transform in a way where our lives become a stage for His glory to show. Wearing the whole armor of God gives us the boldness to share the gospel even if others persecute us for it. Witnessing for Christ is living in Christlikeness. We can do this by journeying with others in both joy and pain (Romans 12:15) and extending compassion to those in need. In whatever we do, we make sure we do it for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Remember God’s faithfulness
When we are going through suffering, we tend to think that God has forsaken us. It becomes difficult to believe that God is good and faithful. It will be helpful for us to remember how God worked in and through us, especially during trying times. An easy way to do this is to have a journal to write your spiritual breakthroughs. Memories of the times God has come through for us serve as a reminder of who He is.
God reminds us that He never fails and disappoints. This reminder strengthens our trust. It reminds us that the Lord is with us now, and He is in our future. We can look past our dire situations and know that God will not abandon us (Deuteronomy 31:8).
Live out your salvation
Scripture says that our salvation is to be worked out (Philippians 2:12). These works are an indication of a life transformed from death to life. Living out our salvation means that we allow God to be the ruler of our lives. We relinquish our control and surrender to His authority. We act by His will. We focus on Jesus in all seasons. We can be steadfast through His armor.
Be committed in prayer
Most Christians stagnate in their prayer life at some point in their walk in Christ. Some of us feel bored when we pray. Others find it challenging to find time to do so amidst the many demands of work and chores. Others also find it hard to focus when praying. We occupy our minds with many worries and don’t have space for prayer. Other times, maybe we don’t know what to say. Because of the finished work of Jesus in Calvary, we can come before God in prayer. As Christians, we know that prayers move mountains.
One way we can ensure that we do not neglect praying is to find a consistent prayer time. Make prayer an indispensable part of your day. Our Scripture reading can accompany this prayer time. When we are at a loss for words, we can always pray Scripture verses. It might also be helpful to personalize prayers by journaling, writing, or doodling. We also pray with a heart that expects and watches for God’s answers (Colossians 4:2).
The spiritual battle is not a made-up scheme. The enemy wages war on believers – from deception to chaos, from fear to illness. The entire armor of God – the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the spirit, and prayers – gear us up for this warfare. We put on the whole armor of God to anchor ourselves to Him.
God’s armor protects us and enables us to live as Christ lived. We can remain steadfast even through suffering and pain. The armor of God strengthens, helps, and encourages us for His appointed work. As Christians, we share in the victory of Jesus as we accept Him in our lives. We rest our hope in His victory. We stand firm in our faith and practice spiritual disciplines.