The Armor of God: What It Is and How to Use It

Armor of God

Armor of God

God has provided us a wardrobe to wear as we enter in battle each day. As you dress in the morning, you need to suit up in God's armor as well. Ephesians 6:10-18 in the New Testament of the Bible lists all the components of the armor of God: "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. 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 saints."

Belt of Truth

Buckle it securely around your waist. Know that God is with you every step of the way. He alone is the truth in life. Spend time in His Word and learn His truth!

Breastplate of Righteousness

As you put on your breastplate, thank God for His never ending mercy towards us. He has given us righteousness when we follow Him. He will teach us every day if we open our eyes and ears to see and hear Him. The cross is an excellent example of God's mercy to us. He gave His Son for us so that we may spend eternity with Him.

Sandals of Peace

Without God in our lives, we could not have peace. The "peace that transcends all understanding" (Philippians 4:7) is available to us only as we give our lives entirely over to His control. As you strap on your sandals each day, give your cares and concerns to Him and ask Him to carry them. God's Peace will be left in their place.

Shield of Faith

This is another defensive weapon in our arsenal. We use this piece of armor to guard against the constant assaults by the enemy. Each morning as you pick up your shield, thank God for your faith. Faith that comes in knowing He will never leave or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:8).

Helmet of Salvation

When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are given this defensive piece of armor to protect us. We know that we have been saved to battle with Him here on the planet Earth. We can do so willingly, knowing that we will spend eternity with Him.

A jubilant soul doesn’t become despondent. It is the one who is downcast who is at risk. Discouragement is unbelief, but unbelief is faith in the power of Satan. Once you begin to believe in unbelief, everything goes wrong. So, in faith and confidence, pull the helmet of salvation tightly down upon your head, and lay hold of the sword of the Spirit!

David’s strength was not especially great, but by faith he put a stone in his slingshot and hurled it toward Goliath. A preacher once said that if Goliath’s forehead had been 10 meters thick, the stone would still have penetrated. I think so too! When used in its sharpness, and when administered by an enlightened understanding in the full assurance of faith, the sword of the Spirit can put whole armies of evil spirits to flight. But no one can use the sword of the Spirit victoriously without having put on the rest of the armor of God.

The Sword of the Spirit

This is our only offensive weapon in the armor of God mentioned in this passage. Our sword is His Word, the Bible. With it we can slay the evil in the world as it presents itself to us. Read your Bible, learn His Word and memorize verses. Keep it on the tip of your tongue.

Dressed in this armor daily, we are prepared to enter the world. Without it we will be prey to attack. Think about each piece as you put it on. Thank God for supplying us with His armor to protect us.

Whole Armor of God – The Offensive Weapon

Lastly, Paul gives us the offensive weapon in the whole armor of God. The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God is our gift from the Father to know Him. Through His Word, believers are given the information regarding God’s great love for us and all that we have in an obedient life in Him.

A greater spiritual weapon is not conceivable. In Jesus' temptations in the desert, the Word of God was always His overpowering response to Satan.

Through His word comes the power to operate in all the other pieces of armor that He provides, truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation.

Examining the Armor of God

We are to take up the whole armor of God — a phrase meant to suggest that it provides complete protection from every angle of attack. It is after having put on all the armor that a believer is equipped to stand firm.

There is much that can be said about this armor, and you can find a great deal of resources on this passage. For our purpose, we will focus on the more principle aspects of how the Christian is protected from the schemes of the devil.

The Belt of Truth (Eph 6:14a)

Belt-of-Truth-Armor-of-God
Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth…  |  Image Credit

A soldier’s belt wasn’t a final accessory to hold their pants up. It was an important piece of the armor, which other pieces fastened onto and which also held his sword.

Just as the belt was the foundational element of the Roman soldier’s armor, truth is at the center of the armor of God.

Christians must hold to what is true because the truth gives us a firm foundation on which to stand for Jesus Christ.

Christians must hold to what is true because the truth gives us a firm foundation on which to stand for Jesus Christ.

What is truth? Scripture is. When Jesus prayed to the Father in John 17:17 he said, “Sanctify them by your truth. Your word is truth.”

God’s Word is inerrant and unchanging, and so we continue to uphold the truth of Scripture regardless of how the culture changes.

Scripture should have an effect on the way we live, raise our kids, do business, vote, and engage our communities. We are trying to rescue those who have been ensnared by false teaching, theological or otherwise.

We must be loving yet uncompromising when it comes to truth. To do anything less would be to chip away at our own foundation, the result of which could only be our downfall.

The Breastplate of Righteousness (Eph 6:14b)

Breastplate of Righteousness - Armor of God
…and having put on the breastplate of righteousness…  |  Image Credit

Faithfully living out the truth is part of what it means to put on the “breastplate of righteousness.”

To be a Christian and walk in a way unworthy of the calling to which we have been called is to march into battle with a chink in your armor.

We are to live righteously. To be a Christian and walk in a way unworthy of the calling to which we have been called is to march into battle with a chink in your armor.

But there is another sense in which the Christian puts on this piece of armor. Philippians 3:9 say our righteousness “is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.”

When we are made righteous through faith in Christ, we are forever made right with God. So many of Satan’s attacks are deflected by knowing that we are righteous in the eyes of God.

This is why “it is well with my soul.” This is how the hymn writer is able to write:

Though Satan should buffet, 
though trials should come,
Let this blessed assurance control; 
That Christ has regarded 
my helpless estate, 
and hath shed His own blood for my soul.

The Gospel of Peace (Eph. 6:15)

The Gospel of Peace
…and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.  |  Image Credit

This righteousness that becomes our breastplate is a rightness with God which can only be obtained through the gospel of Jesus Christ. This righteousness brings us peace.

That is this “gospel of peace” which carries us through life.

We don’t give much thought to footwear, but the Roman army’s shoes were an innovation that allowed them to travel further and faster than their enemies. These boots, called caligae, had heavy soles with hobnails in them to provide traction for the wearer.

The Roman soldier’s footwear is what enabled him to travel through any terrain he may encounter along his journey.

Similarly, the peace of the gospel is what equips us to travel over rough roads as we carry this same gospel to others.

The Shield of Faith (Eph. 6:16)

The Shield of Faith (Eph. 6:16)
In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one |  Image Credit

We also have with us the “shield of faith.” The Roman shield alluded to here is a large, oblong shield — about 2 1/2 feet by 4 feet. It was about the size of a refrigerator door.

This was at a time when average height was just over 5 feet, so this was a large shield that gave a great deal of protection. Similarly, faith shields believers from many troubles.

These troubles are compared to darts. Darts are an especially helpful illustration as a weapon of Satan. This is not one of hand to hand combat; it is a projectile. By nature, it is launched from a distance to strike its mark unexpectedly.

Like a dart, strong temptations and sinful thoughts come upon us suddenly. Sin seeks to pierce your defenses and inflame lust, pride, anger, contempt, or any number of sinful reactions.

But the Roman soldier was not only up against darts, but these darts were often set on fire before being sent out–making them even more dangerous. These were not quite darts as we think of them, nor were they simply lit arrows. They were more like specially prepared spears that were lit before being launched and designed to spread flamable liquid on the enemy.

To combat these flaming darts, shields were wet down before battle.  If they were not, the shields would be set ablaze.

When temptations to sin hit their mark, they can set our minds and hearts ablaze with wicked thoughts and desires.

Similarly, when temptations to sin hit their mark, they can set our minds and hearts ablaze with wicked thoughts and desires.

This is why we must use the shield of faith, which can extinguish these fiery darts. When temptations come, are we going to believe what the devil says, or are we going to believe God in faith?

This is what took place in the garden. Would Eve believe what the serpent told her—that God was withholding something good from her—or would she believe God?

Are we going to believe that sin—any sin—will be more satisfying to us than obedience to God?

Are we going to believe that sin—any sin—will be more satisfying to us than obedience to God?

The shield of faith extinguishes the fiery darts when we trust the promises of God, when we know that He is exceedingly more precious than anything that may be sacrificed in His service.

The Helmet of Salvation (Eph. 6:17a)

Helmet-of-Salvation-The-Armor-of-God
…and take the helmet of salvation  |  Image Credit

So you can start to see how well we are protected by our armor. And we have not only a shield but a helmet also: The “helmet of salvation.”

Like a helmet covering our head, our salvation protects us from being dealt a deathblow. Those who are in Christ cannot ultimately be defeated by Satan.

In Romans 8:38-39 we read:

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Christians do not fight for victory, we fight from a position of victory.

Our “helmet of salvation” gives us confidence, knowing we will emerge victorious. As has been said by others, Christians do not fight for victory, we fight from a position of victory.

And so we see that the “whole armor of God” leaves the Christian well protected against the dangers of the battlefield, and we need every part of it. But we have not been equipped only for defense but for offense.

Lastly, let’s examine the weaponry we have to fight the spiritual war.

The Weapons of Our Warfare

The Christian soldier is not called to be defensive only, but offensive.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 says:

For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.

So what are the weapons that we have? Ephesians 6:17-18:

…and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 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.

The weapons of our warfare are the Sword of the Spirit (the Word of God), and prayer.

Weapon 1: The Sword of the Spirit

Sword-of-the-Spirit-Armor-of-God
…and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God  |  Image Credit

Let’s start by examining the sword of the Spirit. We are told that the sword is the very Word of God, given to us by the Holy Spirit.

Just as every Roman soldier would be equipped with a gladius (that’s Latin for sword), every believer is equipped with the Word of God.

A sword is a weapon used both for offense and defense. So is Scripture.

This is an especially helpful illustration because a sword is a weapon used both for offense and defense. So is Scripture.

To wield the sword of the Spirit is to use Scripture to defend against attacks on truth and to “destroy strongholds” of false beliefs.

We must not be afraid to use Scripture against any opinion, ideology, or worldview which would place itself in contention with the Word of God.

Of course, in any movie you’ve ever watched that involves any sort of sword fight (or light saber battle) you’ll notice that they are constantly deflecting blows from the enemy—as often as they are attacking with their own sword.

And so it is with the Sword of the Spirit. We use it to defend ourselves against error and outright attacks on the truth of God by knowing and wielding Scripture.

Is this not exactly what we saw Jesus do when tempted by Satan in the wilderness? In Matthew 4, Satan tries to tempt Jesus with allurements of food, pride, and power.

How does the Lord respond to each of Satan’s temptations? “It is written…”

How does the Lord respond to each of Satan’s temptations? “It is written…”

When we are tempted to doubt who God is, compromise the gospel, neglect our spiritual duties, or to decide for ourselves what is and is not immoral, our response must also be, “it is written.”

Can you see how vitally important it is to guard your time in the Word? To intentionally set apart a portion of your day to reading Scripture?

We can’t effectively wield Scripture to defend ourselves from error if we are not intimately familiar with truth.

This is why we must read our Bibles. We must study the Word. We must conform our lives to its truth. We need to be memorizing Scripture so that it will be readily available when attacks come. We should meditate on it day and night.

No wonder there are a hundred other distractions that get in the way of our time in the Word! No wonder the Bible is attacked as an ancient book with little relevance today. No wonder those promoting unbiblical worldviews insist arguments from Scripture don’t count.

We must start seeing these things for what they are: calls for us to drop our sword. But we must not do this. What soldier gives up his weapon in the midst of a battle?

We cannot put aside our Bible as we engage with others. To do so is to set aside that which God has given for defending truth and liberating others from deception.

Weapon 2: Prayer

prayer
praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.  |  Image Credit

Our other offensive weapon, or tactic, is prayer:

…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

What are we doing when we pray? We are approaching the very throne of the holy, almighty, Triune God – the Creator of all things. The God who spoke the universe into existence. The God who made the mountains and the seas. The God who created man from the dust of the earth; the God who parted the Red Sea; God whose sent His Son to deliver us from sin and death.

God is eternal, unchanging, all-powerful, all-holy, and sovereign over all things. And we get to approach his throne in prayer!

We pray because through prayer we have access to the throne of grace, where we speak to the One who sustains us.

We pray because through prayer we have access to the throne of grace, where we speak to the One who sustains us. Remember, we rely on His strength.

And so we are to be “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” We are to pray at all times. Not just in hard times, when trouble surrounds us and courage fails us. We are to be people of prayer, in both good times and in bad.

So we must pray, and we must keep alert, the text says, “with all perseverance.” Our enemy will not rest, so prayer must be continual, unceasing.

Our enemy will not rest, so prayer must be continual, unceasing.

We are to be in prayer not only for ourselves but for our fellow soldiers of the cross all over the world. The text says at the end of verse 18 “-making supplication for all the saints.”

This tells us that we should pray for other Christians, our fellow warriors on the battlefield.

Pray that our churches may shine as beacons of truth even as the world around them grows darker. Pray for those in the world who are under the siege of persecution and oppression. Pray for those on the front lines of God’s advancing army, bringing the gospel to the lost. Pray for those who have been wounded by the schemes of the devil. Pray for your loved ones, that they may take up the armor of God. Pray. Pray. Pray.

Prayer and Scripture. These are the weapons of our warfare.

We are in a war. How can you keep from becoming a causality on the spiritual battlefield? Familiarize yourselves with the weapons of our warfare.

Make prayer and Scripture a daily priority in your life.

Put on the whole armor God and make use of the spiritual weapons you have been given.

Conclusion

We recognize that as believers we are in the midst of a spiritual battle. We thank God that we are well-equipped to stand in the evil day. No matter what may happen our eternity is secure and Christ’s ultimate victory is certain.

The Christian life is not a vow to never lose a battle, but it is a commitment to always fight.

To those here who have been greatly wounded in the battle—take heart! You may be wounded, but you are not defeated. The Christian life is not a vow to never lose a battle, but it is a commitment to always fight.

Rely on the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, take up the armor of God, and press on.

To those here who are weary, under a constant barrage of fiery darts—take courage. We are not asked to rely on our own strength, but to rely on the strength of Christ. He is never outmatched and never grows weary.

To those who are distressed at the state of our nation and our world—take comfort. We know that although darkness creeps in from every side, God has equipped us to stand firm in the evil day and against the schemes of the devil.

Our duty is clear: Under the banner of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are to:

“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.”

The Armor of God Prayer

Ephesians 6:11-18

“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 maybe 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 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 saints. “

First—Put on the Armor of God

The Helmet of Salvation

Thank you, Lord, for my salvation. I receive it in a new and fresh way
from You, and I declare that nothing can separate me now from the love
of Christ and the place I shall ever have in Your kingdom.

The Breastplate of Righteousness

And yes, Lord, I wear Your righteousness today against all
condemnation and corruption. Fit me with Your holiness and purity—
defend me from all assaults against my heart.

The Belt of Truth

Lord, I put on the belt of truth. I choose a lifestyle of honesty and
integrity. Show me the truths I so desperately need today. Expose the
lies that I am not even aware that I believe.

The Shoes of the Gospel of Peace

I do choose to live for the gospel at any moment. Show me where You
are working and lead me to it. Do not let me become slack in my walk.

The Shield of Faith

Jesus, I lift the confidence that You are good against every lie and every
assault of the enemy. You have good in store for me. Nothing is coming
today that can overcome me because You are with me.

The Sword of the Spirit

Holy Spirit, show me specifically today the truths of the Word of God
that I will need to counter the snares of the enemy. Bring them to mind
throughout the day.

Then—Pray

Finally, Holy Spirit, I agree to walk in step with You in everything—in all prayer
as my spirit communes with You throughout the day.

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This article is based on a sermon I preached at Grace Baptist Church in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

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