I remember sitting in Sunday School and the teacher putting up a picture of a soldier on the flannel graph board then dressing him with parts of the armor listed in Ephesians 6. I know. That really dates me. Today, a teacher can use videos that explain the “armor of God” with animation, music, and puppets. I’ve just now checked out some of these videos and, as an adult, found them confusing. I don’t know how a child could take away much from these explanations – too much information, too little application.
Yet, these images have stuck in my head all these years. A helmet on the head, a shield, a sword, some kind of belt, an ancient vest, and shoes all to protect ourselves from Satan’s attempts to hurt us. Salvation, truth, faith, the word of God, peace, and righteousness are what we need for the battle, we are told. However, I have many questions about this understanding.
Why isn’t the armor covering the whole body? Crucial areas are left exposed, right? Eyes, sexual organs, legs, and neck have no protection. Yet, Satan often wins by attacking these areas of our lives.
Is the placement of the pieces of armor really significant? Doesn’t all of me need salvation, faith, and righteousness? Why isn’t truth wrapped around the head or heart? Are we making too big a deal out of the location of these qualities forcing an understanding that isn’t legitimate?
What bearing does the context of these verses have on our understanding of their meaning? For example, how does verse 10: “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” impact putting on the armor? Or how does verse 18: “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to the end with all perseverance” fit with the armor?
What is the big picture here? Does focus on the individual pieces distract from the real message Paul is giving us?
Let’s see if there is a better way for us to view this passage which includes the whole enchilada.
Knowing that no one today wears this kind of armor, can you imagine the “armor” looking more like an Iron Man suit? Imagine being covered from head to toe in protective attire strong enough to fend off the worst Satan and his cronies can throw at you. Your whole head is protected by a “wile-proof” helmet. Your body and limbs, including hands (gloves) and feet (boots), are fully covered. A powerful laser-dagger hangs at your side.
Additionally, imagine this attire as an invisible shield energized by the strength and power of God himself which you appropriate by faith and cooperation. No one can see the suit yet it functions beautifully when you work with it in faith.
Now, let’s call this suit “The Jesus Christ Almighty.” St. Paul explains that all those who have been united with Christ in baptism have “put on Christ” (Galatians 3.27). However, we must live out that reality by putting on the Lord Jesus Christ and making no provision for the flesh (Romans 13.14). By putting on Christ, we put on the protective suit.
He is salvation, righteousness, truth, faithfulness, the good news of peace, the Word of God and even more. All we need to withstand and defeat Satan is ours in Jesus Christ.
Living out your union with Jesus Christ, alive in Him and constantly abiding in Him, affords you the means to battle Satan and his armies.
Your responsibility is to put on this suit every day intentionally wearing it everywhere you go. However, it is only effective as you constantly commune with God in prayer and as you constantly attend to your surroundings (Ephesians 6.18). To be “watchful” to the end means to stay awake and to be vigilant. Add “perseverance” – constancy, diligence, persistence – and you have a call to constant readiness and awareness of God’s power and Satan’s attacks.
You dare not live any moment of your life without God’s protective suit on you.
So, how do you “put on/take up” this protection, Jesus Christ?
- Baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Immersed in the waters of baptism, a sign of your death and burial in Christ Jesus becoming united with Christ, is the beginning.
- Daily communion with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Start your day in communion with the Trinity and live out that communion in every moment of the day. By immersing yourself in the life of the Trinity each morning in humble repentance, prayer (“at all times in the Spirit”), quietness, and struggle, you enter into a life not your own. Christ lives in you and through you. You now have what is necessary to withstand Satan and his forces.
Please understand. As you put on Christ in this way, you are simultaneously putting on truth, faith, righteousness, salvation, the sword, and peace, the “armor” of Ephesians 6. In this daily “putting on” in communion and humble acknowledgment of the Trinity, you will begin to experience a persevering watchfulness required for the battle. You will experience Jesus Christ as the Way, Truth, and Life. He will also shine in you as your sanctification, goodness, and beauty. Satan cannot defeat this.
Here are some lessons to take from this passage:
- We must wage a constant battle with the forces of evil.
- We fight in God’s strength and power integrated with our efforts (“put on/take up”).
- Prayer (communion with the Trinity) and perseverance (steadfastness in Christ) are required of us.
- In this disposition, we are ready to pray for others (6.18-19).
I hope you have found this post enlightening. I hope it will make a difference in your battle plans for today.
Lately, as I’ve met with God in morning solitude and silence, the reality of the “armor” has registered with me like never before. I’m more aware of the battle I’m in and becoming more aware of what the Trinity offers to help me thrive in the battle.
Let’s pray for one another as we seek to walk this UnCommon Journey with Jesus Christ.