Temptation is all around us. It is lurking around every corner, waiting for its next victim to deceive. Sometimes temptation can be perceived as good when in reality it is only evil. Sometimes we don’t even see it coming. We don’t realize it is a temptation pulling us further and further away from our heavenly Father. How are we supposed to defend against such a force? How are we supposed to defend against something we can’t see, and often times don’t even know it’s there? The answer is simple. Put on the full armor of God.
You may have heard the saying “Armor of God” before, but you might not have given much thought to it. In Ephesians 6:10-17, Paul explains what the armor of God is and how it can help us defend against Satan’s temptations. That is what we are going to be looking at today. We are going to study the armor of God and find out how it can help us defend against Satan’s evil temptations.
Ephesians 6:10-17 says, “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.”
Before we dig any deeper, let’s look at what Paul says about or struggle. He says that our struggle is not against man, but against the powers and evil spiritual forces of the world, and out of this physical realm. This is a very important concept to understand. It is easy to focus on the acts of man and ignore the forces behind them. Yet it is the evil forces behind the acts that we must be aware of. We should not try to guard against man, but against Satan and his evil power.
There are several parts to the armor of God. Here they are in a list form:
1. Belt of Truth
2. Breastplate of Righteousness
3. Feet prepared for the Gospel
4. Shield of Faith
5. Helmet of Salvation
6. Sword of the word of God
Now, Paul is not saying that we have to carry around a physical sword, shield, or belt. He describes what appears to be the description of what a Roman soldier would have worn in battle. He does this to describe the spiritual defenses we have in Almighty God to defend against Satan.
Let’s look at the belt of truth. Why would a belt be associated with truth? Well, let’s look at the truth part. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 says this, “but test them all; hold on to what is good,”. God wants us to hold on to what is good, right, and just. What is good, right, and just? The word of God, which Paul later describes as a sword. Now on a Roman soldier, the belt was also a place to hold the soldier’s sword. So, if the word of God is like a sword, and a sword hangs on a belt, and the word of God is truth, then we have a belt of truth. We must hold on to the one truth we have in God’s word, just as a soldier would hold on to his sword.
The breastplate of righteousness. Why use a breastplate? First let’s look at where righteousness comes from. According to Romans 10:10, righteousness comes from the heart, “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” So from the heart comes righteousness. Now on a Roman soldier, what would the outermost layer be that would protect the heart? A breastplate. Proverbs 11:4 says, “Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.” Just as a breastplate would defend against an enemy’s fatal blow, righteousness defends against spiritual death.
The feet fitted with the readiness of the gospel. Especially in this time period, people would travel by foot, including the disciples and apostles. What did they do? They spread the gospel. We must be ready at all times to spread the gospel, and keeping in line with this time period, it would have been done by foot. Traveling from city to city spreading the gospel. In 2 Timothy 4:2 Paul tells the young Timothy, “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage-with great patience and careful instruction.” We must be ready to preach and spread the gospel wherever it is needed.
The shield of faith. According to Hebrews 11:1 faith is the “substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” We have faith in God, but we cannot see Him. A shield, on the other hand, you can see. A shield in battle protects the soldier from enemy’s weapons. If we have a strong, secure faith in God, He will also protect us from Satan’s evil temptations.
The Helmet of salvation. If we have salvation, then we are freed of the sins we commit (Romans 5:8-10, John 3:16-17). In Roman warfare, a helmet would have protected the soldier’s head. How are we protected by salvation? If it were not for salvation, our only destination would be eternal death because the punishment for sins is death (Romans 6:23). We must always remember, that God saved us and He is our salvation (Psalm 27:1, Ephesians 2:8-9).
Lastly, the sword of the Spirit. The sword of the Spirit can also be the word of God. The word of God is the Bible. It is the absolute truth. But why would Paul compare God’s word to something used for violence? He used it so his readers could picture the power of his holy word. Hebrews 4:12 says, “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.” God’s word is able to strike down any attack our enemy throws on us. God’s word is also used for many different reasons. 2 Timothy 3:16 states, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…” It can be used also for all of these things.
So as you can see, we need the full armor of God to protect us from Satan’s evil schemes and temptations. If we have this armor, we will be able to stand firmly in Christ, and Satan will not deceive us.