Paul spends most of these final two chapters discussing how different groups of people should behave. And then his last words, apart from the farewell at the very end, he talks to all believers about the spiritual warfare we are in, and how we can be ready for battle.
Make no mistake, my friend. We are in a war, and no believer gets an excuse from the front lines. The second you decided to become a follower of Jesus, the enemy, the destroyer of souls, satan, declared war on you, specifically and personally.
You don’t want to go into battle unprepared, and Paul told us what we must do to engage and be the best warrior we can be. Paul says to “Put on the FULL armor of God so that you can stand against the Devil.” If you’re going into battle, it is essential that you have the full armor. Why would you leave anything that can help you be victorious behind? Put on the FULL armor.
What is the full armor?
The first thing to put on is the “truth like a belt around your waist.” Truth is the base, the foundation of our armor. How can you know the truth? Well, if you’re listening to this show, I think you know the answer to that question. You must read and know what God’s Word says! And you need to know all of it. You should never stop being a student of the Bible. I have read the entire Bible several times now, and I always learn something new each time I read it. Gird yourself with the truth.
The next thing Paul says to put on as you don your armor is “righteousness like armor on your chest”. Other translations call this the breastplate of righteousness. It protects your vital organs and your heart. And as believers, we have been given the righteousness of Christ. This will enable us to resist the attacks of Satan, as Jesus resisted him in the desert.
Next, we need to protect our feet with “the sandals of readiness for the gospel of peace.” When Paul wrote this, Roman soldiers wore brass greaves, or shoes, which protected them from gall-traps (an early form of land mine) and sharp sticks placed by their enemies. The readiness for the gospel of peace refers to the steady resolve and even progress we can make in the battle.
We are to “in every situation take the shield of faith”. Some translations say, “Above all (or ‘Over all’), take the shield of faith.” How useless would we be in the spiritual battle if we did not have faith? This truly is the thing that is absolutely necessary. Satan can throw his worst at you, and if you have the shield of faith, he cannot defeat you. The Romans carried shields that could completely protect them from any attack from the front. It was tall enough to cover them from head to toe, and this is the kind of shield that Paul had in mind. The faith that God gives us can do the same.
Next is the helmet of salvation. Properly translated, this could read the “hope of salvation”. Not the kind of hope that says, “I hope I get a new bike for Christmas,” but the assured expectation of that which *will* happen. When we know that we know that we know that Jesus is the victor, the enemy will not be able to attack our minds with doubt or thoughts of giving up the fight.
And finally, we are to take the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s Word, the Bible. Going back to the time when Satan tempted Jesus in the desert, how did Jesus deal with the temptations the enemy threw at him? With the Word of God. He didn’t try to reason with him, or argue logic with him. He quoted Scripture. And what happened? Satan gave up. He left. The Word of God is sharper that a two edged sword. It cuts through the lies of the enemy. Use it skillfully. Familiarize yourself with it. Make it yours. Learn it. Memorize it. Know how to find what you need in it. Become a student of it.
If you daily put on the full armor of God, you will be prepared for the battles that inevitably come your way. If you aren’t facing battles, then you’re doing something wrong. If the enemy isn’t attacking you, then he doesn’t consider you a threat. A vital, effective believer should keep the enemy worried. I know I want to be the kind of Christian that makes him lose sleep every night.