Put on the Full Armor of God – what does it really mean?
Everyone associated with Christianity has heard of “putting on the full armor of God.” Most even realize this section is referring to a spiritual battle. But what does it really mean? And does it apply to us in 2022? Today we will look at what it is and how we can best do it.
Where in the Bible is the Armor of God?
The verse referring to the armor of God is found in Ephesians 6:13-18. For clarity, let’s look beginning at verse 10.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 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. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.
There’s a nice printout of the parts of “full armor of God” at this link. https://www.flandersfamily.info/web/2018/08/26/armor-of-god-coloring-page/
Let’s take a look at each part of the armor of God.
The Belt of Truth
The Belt of Truth – some versions say “gird your loins with truth.” The whole concept here is confusing, and I’ll explain in a minute, but the important part is TRUTH. Truth is a person, and his name is Jesus Christ. He protects us from evil. Holding tight to the truth enables us to be the person we are meant to be. When we begin to lie, we lose sight of who we are. We fall into the hands of the evil one, and that’s what he wants. Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44) and would like nothing better than for us to be deceptive. God detests deception (see Proverbs 6:16-17).
The Belt of Truth connects to every other piece of armor. It is the center, the heart of the armor. The rest will be at risk if the Belt of Truth is not in place, securely buckled up against lies and deception.
*Gird your loins with truth: When men were readying for battle, they often “girded their loins” by pulling the bottom of their long robe up and wrapping it.
The devil lies to us all the time. He constantly encourages us to deceive others. Jesus explained to us how to know the truth:
“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” ~ John 8:31,32.
A Prayer for Wearing the Belt of Truth
We know that you are all truth and righteousness. We want to be true disciples. Help us to seek the truth, and to know the truth. Help us to avoid lies and deception. We want to always follow truth, and keep the belt of truth at our core.
Breastplate of Righteousness
In battle, a breastplate covers vital organs to protect them. Nowadays they’re bulletproof, but in Jesus’ time, they were designed to shield the body from ax blows and arrows. The early Roman breastplates were metal, formed to fit around the torso.
Righteousness refers to living right with God. We do this by learning God’s will for our lives and following it. Righteousness comes through Jesus Christ, who promised us,
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (Matthew 5:6)
How we use the breastplate of Righteousness
We put the breastplate of righteousness to use when we call on God regularly. We apply it to reject Satan’s continual work against our salvation. The breastplate protects our heart, but even as we pray “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me,” (Psalm 51:10) the devil is working to try to lead us to Spiritual death.
So while we diligently wear the breastplate in battle, we have to go back and pray for righteousness, constantly renewing it. We pray that God will help us avoid temptation and keep our promise of steadfastness.
A Prayer for the Breastplate of Righteousness
Lord, we know that none of us is truly righteous, but you have given each of us a particular path to follow. As we go on our path, Lord, help us to stay on it and act as you would have us act. Keep us away from the sins that entangle us. When we are tempted, remind us that you are so good and that you are our light and salvation. You have promised love and eternal joy for those of us who follow you. Please keep us armed with the breastplate of righteousness, safe from Satan’s ways. Amen.
The Gospel of Peace
We don’t usually think of shoes as part of a set of armor, but the verse says, “…as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.” Ephesians 6:15
The Gospel is the good news about Jesus and his gift of salvation. By having appropriately fitted shoes, we are ready to go forth and proclaim his name at any time. Even when the going gets rough, we can still move forward to share his name.
In addition to moving, the shoes help us stand firm. As we become more like Jesus, we are rooted deeper into Truth. We can stand even stronger against temptation, as explained in 2 Thessalonians 2:15: So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.
The Shield Of Faith
What is the shield of faith? Really, we already have part of it, as our own faith is essentially the shield. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
So when you were saved, you declared that faith to the world. This faith guards and protects you against the world. It also protects against fear, anxiety, and doubt.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ~ Isaiah 41:10 There is no need to be afraid when God is with you.
Many people do not see fear, anxiety, doubt, and other emotions as attacks by the enemy. If you recognize them for what they are, you can then apply the concept of the shield of faith against them. I urge you to try this method of dealing with feelings and see if it helps.
A Prayer for the Shield of Faith
Lord, I know you gave me a measure of faith, and I also know I can build on that faith through trusting you more and building a relationship with you. Help me to have the deep-rooted faith that will get me through the hard times. Show me the steps I need to take to have better faith.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Helmet Of Salvation
The helmet of Salvation may well be the most important part of the Christian armor. Putting on your Salvation helmet is like putting on Jesus. In doing so, Christ protects the head from spiritual attack. In Biblical times, both blessings and curses were said to fall on the head.
Look at some times the head is mentioned in the Bible:
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15
“May they [blessings] be on the head of Joseph, and on the brow of him who was set apart from his brothers.” Genesis 49:26
He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak. Isaiah 59:17
If you were a Roman soldier, you would put on your helmet last because it is the final tool in your victory against Satan. The helmet protects the brain (your control center) and your head itself. But also, note that the writers often used “head” to represent the entire body. So the helmet is an extremely functional piece of the armor as well.
In the Bible, salvation is a major theme. God gave his only son for our salvation from sin (John 3:16-18); if you make a commitment of faith you will not have eternal death. Instead, God adopts us as his children; and if we only trust him, he becomes our Savior.
A Prayer for the Helmet of Salvation
Dear Lord God, I believe that Salvation is yours alone. As your child, let me know that I am your child. Sometimes I need to feel it. The world is broken but the promises you have made still stand.
May you renew my mind now and daily. Help me to remove thoughts that are not useful or are untrue, and remove the doubt from my mind and help me focus on your world, the world of eternity and trust. I want to trust in you now and forever, Lord.
The Sword of the Spirit
..and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:17
The word of God helps us in so many ways. It helps us to lay aside our doubt and frustration. It gives us strength and confidence. It assists us when we are making decisions.
Hebrew 4:12 says, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword,”
It is a living truth, and it can be used as a defensive weapon and an offensive one. We need a weapon to fight with! Look what happened in Matthew 4:
Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”
7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Each time the devil tried to tempt him, Jesus responded with Scripture. What a wonderful world it would be if each of us could do this! We would be able to send the devil back to his proper place. The Holy Spirit enables us to do it if we remain in the Word. The more we read and understand the Bible, the more souls we can save.
Prayer for the Sword of the Spirit
Lord, I see the power we could unleash if we all utilized the sword of the Spirit. Help me to stay in the Word and take advantage of its strength in the best way. Please guide me in its use and power against the enemy, like Jesus did, to attack and expose whatever needs to be removed from our world in order to live in peace.
So you see how the full armor of God has given us a foundation of protection and a weapon for fighting against the enemy. It is so important to have each tool in place at all times. if you have done everything to stand in your own strength, perhaps it is time to trust in God.
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