Familiar verse from Ephesians: “Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Recently it broke into my awareness that I could not rattle off the parts of the armor — in order — confidently. But it got worse. I could not even say simply what I should be doing to “put on the whole armor”. I had fog. I figured I’d better open the Book. Results — a stack of notes, valuable insights into things I had not been seeing but now am using, plus a crazy idea to try to distill highlights into a song. Here’s what I came up with. Please give it a sing-along listen, then let’s talk about suiting up.
Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)
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 Lord’s people.
These are for “the day of evil”. That’s not a swirling spectacle described in the back of the book of Revelation. That’s any day we have to live in this world. We need this armor all the time. “Putting on” this armor — it turns out — is lifestyle. It is the way of everyday life for a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.
There are six parts to the armor we are told to put on —
1. The belt of truth
2. The breastplate of righteousness
3. Feet fitted (shoes)
4. The shield of faith
5. The helmet of salvation
6. The sword of the spirit
— and we might add “prayer — in the spirit” as #7. It goes with all of them.
What are these? What parts of us do these protect? What do these protect us from? What actions do these call for? Lots could be said. Let me offer this “quick start” guide.
1. The belt of truth — Live right
Making dumb mistakes hurts. God says don’t live life making dumb mistakes. Putting on the belt of truth means we are to live smart, with integrity, honesty, diligence. Eat right. Learn right. Take care of your health — spiritual, mental and physical. Keep good company. Avoid debt. Read Proverbs. Pray Psalm 139:23,24: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Be open to His answer. Armor is for protection. Can you see how living right makes God’s job of protecting us so much easier? Don’t get taken out of the game by committing dumb life-style fouls.
2. The breastplate of righteousness — God made you righteous so quit badmouthing yourself
If we put this armor on in the order listed we might start working on the belt of truth and discover things we don’t like about ourselves. So the Lord needs to reel us in from our own sense of badness. God says, “You are forgiven. You have been made righteous in Christ.” God made you valuable. Learn it and live it. Don’t focus inside yourself. Up, up! Eyes on the Lord! Don’t fall for something as dumb as getting taken out by a poor self-image.
3. Feet fitted …(shoes) — Learn the Bible
This is beautiful. Get educated in the Scriptures. Make it a study. Make it a hobby. Make it the center of your social life. Talk about it. Share it with others. Have something to give to him that needs it. Why “feet fitted”? God’s Word is our foundation — we stand on it. We walk on it. Walking helps us get to others we might help. Notice it is the “gospel of peace“. We do not use it to walk on other people — to belittle or to argue or prove to them that they have problems. Peace. Gospel of peace. Use it to build wonderful relations. People who don’t like peace — or light — will either change or leave. That’s up to them. Keep the faith, keep the light — as much as possible, keep peace. Don’t get taken out by simply not knowing what the Bible says about the situation.
4. The shield of faith — Think about what you are thinking about
We delight in trusting the Lord. The dark side of this world constantly attacks our trust in the Lord. Pay attention to which thoughts you entertain and embrace. Eyes on the Lord, not the world. Be in the world, not of it. Don’t buy Satan’s lies. Lead every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Resolve anger. Forgive. Maintain a light heart. Prove all things — keep that which is good. Keep the faith. Don’t get taken out by a diet of too much world and too little Christ.
5. The helmet of salvation — Endure, maintain hope
Hope builds endurance — so we build hope by learning and remembering God’s promises. How does this all end? Read the Book. It ends well. Endure. Don’t get taken out by “becoming tired of it all.”
6. The sword of the spirit — Apply God’s Word real time with Christ-in ability
It says “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”. We already talked about preparing our feet with the gospel of peace — about learning God’s Word. Here, we go about using God’s Word in real time situations. We manifest holy spirit and minister with God’s Word. This is the Word in action. While the other pieces of armor are basically defensive, this one reaches out. Don’t miss out on the action — signs, miracles, wonders, deliverance, rewards — by being a wallflower.
Prayer — Can you see how all of these depend on prayer and believing? Every one of these pieces of armor requires the Lord’s help AND our taking action. Now THAT is the making of a winning team.
Putting on the armor pre-flight checklist
Pilots run through a pre-flight checklist before taking off. IDEA — as you drift off to sleep at night — or as you greet the morning — try doing the same. Pray your way through a pre-flight armor checklist and see what the Lord shows you. Check each piece of armor by asking yourself —
[belt] “Am I living right? Anything I can work on improving today?”
[breastplate] “Am I embracing my God-given righteousness and not criticizing myself?”
[shoe] “A Bible verse I like is ________”
[shield] “Is the thought of anything — or anyone — from the world eating my liver? Lord, if it is mine, help me fix it. If it Yours, help me get off of it.”
[helmet] “Am I energized right now by the Lord’s promises for what’s to come?”
[sword] “Can I manifest God’s power or ability in me right now?” (Tip — [pray]…)
With that I wish you a great day — or sweet night’s rest — as you put on the armor.
God bless you lots!
LYRICS – Put On The Armor
Song by Dale Reichel (2023)
1. Jesus I know and Paul I know
But who on Earth are the seven of you?
Those sons of the priest fled naked and wounded.
It seems they had failed to learn something Paul knew.
Put on the belt and breastplate and shoes.
Take up the shield and helmet and sword.
Pray always for each part, for each you will use.
Put on the armor of the Lord.
2. Jesus we know, and Paul we know
And here on Earth we have good work to do:
To bring God’s love to hearts that are wounded.
For us to do well let’s learn something Paul knew.
The belt of truth – we’re to live right and honest.
The breastplate of righteousness – quit self-disgust.
The shoes – learn to read and share the Bible.
The shield – block fear sent to weaken your trust.
The helmet – endure by recalling He’s coming.
The sword – wield God’s Word with God-given power.
Suit up for service and faithfully pray
As you put on God’s armor ev’ry hour.
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