“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” (Eph. 6:10–11).
God bestows upon us the spiritual gear that will guard us against the enemies of God. The devil and his demons seek to make us fall and fail so that we will never get back up again. As Peter reminds us, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
Even though we face horrible enemies, we can be strong and courageous in the Lord. We can fight. We can stand against the temptation to sin and the evils of Satan by the power of Christ’s Spirit, whether we are big or small. In Ephesians 6:10–20, the apostle Paul describes six pieces of much-needed armor God gives to all believers, so we can hold our ground against the devil.
1. The Belt of Truth (v. 14)
The truth holds everything together. The deceptions of Satan fall down before it. We have a truth that sees the big picture from the highest mountaintop. Satan would have us think we are all alone, weak, guilt-ridden, and fearful—that the battle is lost! Nevertheless, our King Jesus speaks to us by the Spirit, reminding us of the gospel in his Word. Our armor is held together by this belt of truth. All we think, do, or say is to be governed by God’s truth. Without the belt of truth, Satan can easily strip us of our armor, making us useless and defenseless.
2. The Breastplate of Righteousness (v. 14)
Christ’s righteousness covers us like armor. The best armor covers our hearts, concealing our vital organs from Satan’s darts. Even though we sin daily and don’t obey God as we should, we have Christ’s perfect righteousness and holiness to cover our hearts from the bitter venom of the devil. That we stand as well-pleasing in God’s sight is our strongest defense. Our personal armor will crack and wear out with use. It cannot bear the strain of our enemies’ strength, yet Christ’s armor will never become worn out or be pierced. Christ’s righteousness as our breastplate can never be harmed or damaged, cracked or faded.
3. The Shoes of the Gospel of Peace (v. 15)
The Father’s peace is our foundation so that our feet never falter. Whenever we take our eyes off of Christ and think God’s love is unsure, we will stumble and fall. Nonetheless, God continually grants us his abiding peace! Our Father in heaven gives us the shoes of peace. We can run across the rocky terrain of this world with his perfect shoes.
4. The Shield of Faith (v. 16)
Faith is upon our shoulders and deflects the enemies darts of doubt. The best shield is then given to us—the shield of faith in Jesus. The fiery darts shot at us are extinguished. Our shield of faith is a gift from God. The ability to believe is given to us as a present, like a great shield covering our vulnerable flank.
5. The Helmet of Salvation (v. 17)
Salvation crowns us and guards our minds in Christ Jesus. God places upon our heads crowns—the helmets of salvation—to guard our minds. He crowns us with the glory of heaven! Everyone can see our high helmets lifted up, proud and courageous before the enemies of God.
6. The Sword of the Spirit (v. 17)
The Word of God is in our hands as our weapon. God places the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, into our hands, and his enemies shudder at the thought. We defend ourselves with the best weapons of this king of glory! With the sword of the Spirit in the power of prayer, we can subdue the enemy’s lies and deceptions that infect us. His Scripture governs us and guides us into all truth. His Word points us to Jesus’ all-sufficient righteousness. He speaks to us the comforting peace of the Father and gives faith to the weary to cover our vulnerabilities. His Word brings this precious armor to us day and night, so we might stand like David before Goliath.
God’s grace from beginning to end surrounds us, indwells us by the Spirit, and fills us with courage. Our needs are granted beyond our wildest imaginations as heirs of Christ’s kingdom. To be counted among the hosts of heaven and given the armor of God’s people is an honor unmatched by the rulers of this world!
And tho’ this world, with devils filled, Should threaten to undo us;
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim- We tremble not for him’ His rage we can endure,
For lo! his doom is sure, One little word shall fell him.
(Martin Luther, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”)