What is the armor of God?
If you grew up going to Sunday School you’ve likely heard that you need to put on the whole armor of God. But few churches have actually explained what that practically means. And it ends up sounding like some cheesy Christian saying.
In reality it should be far from cheesy, rather it should be life-changing. The armor of God is a powerful illustration that every Christian needs to know.
What even is the full armor of God? It’s made up of the Belt of Truth, the Breastplate of Righteousness, the Gospel of Peace, the Shield of Faith, the Helmet of Salvation, and the Sword of the Spirit.
We are going to break down each piece of this spiritual armor and see how we can use it effectively in spiritual battles. Let’s start by looking at why we need it.
Table of Contents
Why Do We Need The Whole Armor Of God?
The Bible often uses illustrations to help us better understand the truth it’s communicating. Maybe surprisingly one of the most commonly used illustrations is that of battle.
Time and time again the Bible tells us that we are in the middle of a battle (2 Corinthians 10:3, 4; 2 Timothy 2:3, 4).
But this battle is different from the ones that play out on physical battlegrounds around the world. It is not against flesh and blood, but rather it’s against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil (Ephesians 6:12). We are in spiritual warfare.
This is why we need to put on the whole armor of God. No soldier would go into battle without the proper gear, and no Christian should go through life with God’s armor.
Let’s break this passage down a little further and take a look at each piece of this spiritual armor. What is the armor of God?
What Is The Armor Of God?
So, what is the armor of God?
Before we break down the pieces of the armor of God, let’s read through Ephesians 6:13-18:
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. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:11-18
In this passage the apostle Paul is using the imagery of the armor of a Roman soldier to help his readers understand what the armor of God actually was. Let’s break down this spiritual armor piece by piece.
What Is The Belt Of Truth?
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist. Ephesians 6:14
For a Roman soldier the belt is what held the rest of his armor in place. It was a foundational piece, and without it the soldier would not be protected nor effective.
The belt was both offensive and defensive. It had a piece of armor that hung down in the front, as well as holding his sword and other pieces of equipment.
It’s no mistake that Paul tells us to put on the belt of truth first. This is our foundation; it’s what holds everything together.
To put on the belt of truth means that we are putting our faith in God’s truth and what he says is best. To wear the belt of truth is to not buy into the lies of culture, Satan, or what we think is best. Rather we base our lives and our faith off what the Bible says.
Without the belt of truth the rest of the armor will fall apart. It’s pivotal for Christians’ faith and life to be founded in Scripture.
Want to learn more about how to put on the belt of truth? A great FREE resource is the YouVersion Bible App, you can find 1,000s of reading plans. And my FAVORITE resource is Core 52 which will grow your Bible IQ and faith in just 15 minutes a day.
What Is The Breastplate Of Righteousness?
With the breastplate of righteousness in place. Ephesians 6:14
The breastplate was the most vital defensive piece of armor a Roman soldier would wear. It protected the vital organs when an inevitable blow would come his way.
The breastplate was worn to protect against quick and unexpected attacks when you didn’t have time to raise your shield.
The breastplate of righteousness protects us from unseen attacks and accusations from Satan. This piece of armor is given to all followers of Jesus. In other words, this is not something we do to cover ourselves. It’s what Jesus has done for us.
The breastplate of righteousness is what Jesus has done for us that we could never do for ourselves.
What Are The Shoes Of the Gospel Of Peace?
And with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. Ephesians 6:15
Without comfortable shoes, a soldier is quickly rendered ineffective. Good shoes allow a soldier to march to the battle and have sure footing once engaged. Anyone who spends most of their day on their feet knows the importance of supportive shoes.
When it comes to our spiritual armor we put on peace like a soldier puts on shoes. Paul is telling his readers to stand firm with peace. One of the most effective weapons that the enemy wields is that of worry.
Worry is based on the illusion that we are in control. But we aren’t. God is. We can find peace when we recognize God’s sovereignty over the things we cannot control.
That is what Paul is telling us to do in Ephesians 6:15. Put on the shoes of the gospel of peace so that we can be anchored in God and find peace. Without this piece of the full armor of God, we will not be able to stand firm.
What Is The Shield Of Faith?
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Ephesians 6:16
Roman shields were often covered with an animal hide that before a battle would be dipped in water. When fiery arrows came their way the shields would extinguish the flames.
In a similar way, a Christian will face fiery arrows from the evil one, and we are in need of a shield of faith. Christians should dip their shield in the living water. Our shield is our faith, and it regularly needs to be replenished to be fully functional.
Jesus modeled this for us perfectly in this life. He regularly snuck away to spend time with his father. His shield of faith helped him defend against the fiery darts Satan hurled at him.
Putting on the whole armor of God isn’t something we do once and we are done. It’s something that requires regular maintenance. Get alone with God so that you can dip your shield of faith in living water.
What Is The Helmet Of Salvation?
Take the helmet of salvation. Ephesians 6:17
Your head is one of the most vulnerable parts of your body. One blow to your head and you can be knocked out of the fight. That’s why soldiers wear a helmet; it protects their head and allows them to stay in the fight longer. It would be foolish to wear all your armor but neglect to put on your helmet.
When it comes to our spiritual armor the helmet of salvation is also the most crucial piece for the Christian.
The helmet of salvation is the work that Christ through the cross and resurrection that redeems us. It is because of salvation that we are able to fight. But this piece of spiritual armor isn’t just about our salvation, it also involves the protecting of our minds and thoughts.
The full armor of God is founded in the resting in the redeeming work of Christ. That’s the good news that Jesus came to deliver. Wearing the helmet of salvation means that we are placing our hope and trust in what God has done for us.
What Is The Sword Of The Spirit?
The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
All the other pieces of armor are primarily defensive; they protect in the battle. But a soldier doesn’t enter a battle to merely defend himself, but to attack the enemy. A sword is an offensive weapon that in the right hands can be deadly.
Similarly, Christians aren’t called to simply defend, but to attack. To do that we need the sword of the spirit.
What is our sword of the spirit? It’s the Word of God. Look at Jesus, he masterfully wielded this powerful piece of spiritual armor. He was constantly “attacking” the enemy with Scripture.
For a Christian to be successful in battle, we too must wield the sword of the spirit. That means that we need to actually read the Bible so that we can arm ourselves. No soldier would enter a battle without a sword, and no Christian should try to go through life without God’s Word.
For more on how to read the Bible: The 5 Best Tips To Read Your Bible Effectively
Put On The Whole Armor Of God
So, what do we do now?
Paul ends this list of spiritual armor by telling his readers to pray. (Ephesians 6:18)
After we’ve put on the whole armor of God prayer should naturally follow. It is in his strength that the full armor of God is built on. Without God our armor is useless, and we will be powerless in the fight.
Prayer is not just asking God for the things we need, although that is part of it. Prayer is about connecting with God, more than it is about getting from God. When we put on the whole armor of God we are placing our reliance in him and what he’s done for us. Prayer reminds us of that.
Want to learn how to pray more effectively? Check out: How To Pray To God (10 Powerful Ways To Pray)
Every Christian needs to arm themselves with the armor of God. Even though we can’t see it, we are in a battle. On our own we will lose the fight. But through God’s mighty power and provision we will not only survive, but defeat the enemy.
Put on the whole armor of God and get in the fight. You are equipped to live the Christian life that Christ Jesus has called you to. You have God’s armor to repel Satan’s attacks. So put on the armor of God and get in the fight.
If you are looking for a resource to help you grow your faith I HIGHLY recommend Mark Moore’s books Core 52 and Quest 52. These simple 15 minute daily readings will help you connect with God and understand the Bible better. They are INCREDIBLE. Plus there’s kids/teen versions as well!
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