Finally, build up your strength in union with the Lord and by means of his mighty power. Put on all the armor that God gives you so that you will be able to stand up against the Devil’s evil tricks. For we are not fighting against human beings but against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world, the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers of this dark age. So put on God’s armor now! Then when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist the enemy’s attacks; and after fighting to the end, you will still hold your ground. So stand ready, with truth as a belt tight around your waist, with righteousness as your breastplate, and as your shoes the readiness to announce the Good News of peace. At all times carry faith as a shield; for with it you will be able to put out all the burning arrows shot by the Evil One. And accept salvation as a helmet, and the word of God as the sword which the Spirit gives you.
Jesus’ whole life was one of power and authority. While He walked on the earth, he commanded the demons, the elements, and all creation. We are to follow his example, to be like Him. 1 John 2:6 says, “if we say that we remain in union with God, we should live just as Jesus Christ did.” So why do so few Christians live like Jesus lived? Why do we not see people of God commanding the elements, recognizing and commanding demons, and living victorious lives on this earth?
The scriptures plainly teach that we have authority through Jesus to do the works he did and even greater (Jon 14:12). In Luke 10:19, Jesus told his followers, “Behold I give you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” So why do Christian people succumb to the power of the enemy instead of putting the enemy under their feet? Perhaps at least part of the problem is that we do not put on the armor of God daily so we can recognize and resist the tricks of the devil.
In studying the various aspects of being in the military, we may easily compare the military soldier with the Christian soldier. When a man enlists in a branch of the service, everyone knows that one of the first things he must do is get a regulation haircut and regulation uniform. Soon, he looks and dresses like all the others in the branch in which he has enlisted. Therefore, no one stands out. Each soldier is still an individual with his own personality, talents, physical looks and preferences, but the apparel is the same so that when the individuals are together, they form a unit.
When we enlist in the army of God, we are not an island. We are to be a unit. That does not mean that we are not individuals, but we are a corporate body made up of many members, just as the army is a unit, a body made up of many soldiers. And just as soldiers in a military unit wear the same uniforms, members of the body of Christ are instructed to put on the same uniform, the armor of God.
We are told in Galatians 3:27 that when we are baptized into Christ, we have put on Christ. In Romans 13:12, we put on the armor of light, and in verse 14, we put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 4:24 instructs us to put on the new man. Then in Colossians 3:8-14, we are told to put off anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communications and lying—all the old man and his deeds—and to put on the new man—bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering, forgiveness, forbearance, and love.
As a soldier in the army of God, we must choose the right apparel. We must be dressed and always ready for battle.
A soldier must learn and practice using his weapons so that he will know its range and power and not be afraid of it. Second Timothy 2:15 admonishes the believer to “study (the Word) to show himself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” He must practice for accuracy, just as believers are instructed to “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” Ephesians 6:10.
Soldiers must learn to march in step, in unity. One person out of step will throw the others off. He can get back into step and the platoon can compensate and get back in sync. However, if many are out of step, the exercise is almost impossible to complete. Practicing together as a group is very important to establish unity. Soldiers must work as a team, complementing one another in weaknesses and strengths. Likewise, Christian soldiers must pray together, socialize, and work together as a team to accomplish the purposes of God in the church. In Ephesians 4:1-3, Paul implores believers to “walk worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
A soldier is issued supplies he needs for his job, including manuals of instruction. God has given His soldiers ministry gifts and gifts of the Spirit and a manual—the Word (1 Corinthians 12 and 14, and Ephesians 4:11). In this Manual, we can find all we need to live a victorious life on this earth.
Finally, a soldier receives orders which tell him where to go, when to go, how to get there, and what to do when he gets there. We have orders to “go to all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” Mark 16:15).
So, what is the armor of God? Exactly what does it mean to “gird your loins with truth? Truth, righteousness, salvation, peace—those things are abstract and cannot be literally “put on” like a shirt and a pair of pants. How do we put on something that is abstract? When we spiritually discern, or understand the Word of God, using scripture to interpret scripture with much prayer and allowing the Holy Spirit to teach us, we can understand how to arm ourselves against the tricks of the enemy. (See 1 Corinthians 2:10-14).
Gird Your Loins with Truth
First, Paul tells us to gird our loins about with truth. We need to first understand that the loin is the part of our body that has to do with reproduction. And second, that the truth is the Word of God. Webster defines gird as “to encircle, to surround, to equip.” If we encircle, surround and equip ourselves with the Word of God, we will reproduce the truth when we open our mouths (out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks). Therefore, our words will line up with the Word of God. We will be secure in the truth and the enemy cannot trick us with lies and make us believe that we are weak, sick, poor defeated people.
The Word of God is “a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path” (Psalms 119:105). Psalms 119 is filled with principles, wisdom, and David’s feelings and experiences with the Word. The Word brings life, light, and strength to the believer. Without it, the believer will spiritually die.
Most of us have been programmed to speak what we hear all around us instead of what the Word of God says because that’s all we have known. We can look at the life of Jesus and learn that He was careful to speak the truth, therefore producing life everywhere He went. We say, “Oh, it doesn’t mean anything, it’s just a figure of speech” when we say things like “I was tickled to death.” But, in all honesty, that figure of speech is in opposition to the Word. Proverbs 17:32 says, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” Which is the truth, a figure of speech or the Word of God? Which produces life? When we fill ourselves with the Word of God, with truth, we will speak the truth and see a change in our lives because of it.
The way we gird ourselves with the Word is to prayerfully read and study it diligently. We must put the Word inside us—consume it and feed on it until it consumes us. By reading John 1:1-5 and 14, we learn that the Word is Jesus, the Christ. Therefore, when we consume the Word, we are putting Christ (the anointed One with the anointing) inside us. Colossians 1:27 reveals that Christ in you is the hope of glory. And what is this hope? Isaiah 11:9 speaks of the day or time of the generation of Jesus, saying, “for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea,” and Habakkuk writes of his vision which, “is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak and not lie (Habakkuk 2:3).” This vision is “the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. (2:14).
What is this knowledge? The Word of God. What is this glory? Christ in you. How will the knowledge of this glory fill the earth? When Christians are filled with the Word, they are filled with Christ. The more they are filled with Christ, the more they will be ‘Christ-like’. The more the earth is filled with these Christ-like people, the more the glory will fill the earth. But, you say, this will never happen because the earth will be burned up when Christians are raptured. While it is true that this carnal ‘earth’ will be destroyed with the judgment of a God who is ‘a consuming fire’ (Hebrews 12:29), the righteous will inherit the earth which was made by God for His pleasure and will not be submitted in defeat to a defeated devil. This is plainly stated in many scriptures such as Psalms 37:9, 10, 11, 18, 22, 29, 34, 37, 38; Proverbs 2:21-22; Genesis 8:21; Isaiah 1:9; Psalms 115:16; Isaiah 60:21, and Matthew 5:5. Then, the new heaven and new earth, the glorified body of Christ, which has been changed into immortality ‘in the twinkling of an eye,’ will cover the earth—the anointed One with the anointing filling His people. So, we are to girt ourselves up with the Truth, the Word, Jesus Christ.
The Breastplate of Righteousness
Next, Paul says to put on the breastplate of righteousness. The breastplate covers the heart area or the area of the emotions. We are created to be emotional people. We experience happiness, sadness, loneliness, fright, surprise, confusion, love, hate, and many other emotions daily. Righteousness is simply right standing with God. Second Corinthians 5:21 says, “Him who knew no sin God made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Righteousness is the ability to stand in the presence of Father God without the sense of guilt or inferiority. It is to be made ‘right’ or worthy through the blood of Jesus Christ.
We know from the scripture that Jesus died for our sins and that on the third day He arose from the dead after He had put our sin away and satisfied the claims of justice as our substitute (Romans 10:9-10). When we take Him as our Savior, confessing Him as our Lord (Master), we receive God’s nature and become His righteousness. Then we no longer should live by our emotions but can live by the Truth. When we feel like we are worth nothing, we know that we are created for the glory of God, formed and made by God (Isaiah 43:7) and that He delights in us because we are the righteousness of God through Christ (Proverbs 11:20). When we feel fearful and/or unloved, we can go to the Truth and know that God is always with us and nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39).
For every emotion, there is a truth we can find to guide us to a victorious, joyful life. When you feel happy, read Psalms 144:15; sad, Philippians 4:4; angry, Ephesians 4:26; afraid, Proverbs 28:1; hurt, Ephesians 4:32; worried, Philippians 4:6-7; lonely, Psalms 132:4 and John 14:18; shy, 2 Timothy 1:7; stupid, 1 Corinthians 2:16. (Don’t just sit there, look these up and read them! In fact, memorize them. You never know when you will get emotional about something in the middle of the day with no Bible.) Any emotion we feel must give way to the fact that we are the righteousness of God.
Shod the Feet
Then we are to have our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God and brought sin into the world, man became separated from a holy God by sin. It says in Ephesians 2:14-15 and 18, Jesus Christ broke down the partition sin had built between God and man and became our peace with God. This is the gospel of peace. Because of this, mankind can again have a personal relationship with God. We can “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” Hebrews 4:16. Our feet are the parts of the body which we are given to walk, so once we realize that only by Jesus do we have peace with the Father, we are commanded to walk in peace and carry this message of peace to others (2 Corinthians 13:11; Hebrews 12:14). Jesus says in Matthew 5:9 that peacemakers shall be called the children of God.
Shield of Faith
We are to now be armed with the Shield of Faith. The shield of the Roman soldier was large enough to cover him completely once he knelt behind it. Our shield is faith. In Hebrews 11 we learn how the faith of our forefathers kept them during times of troubles. They simply believed God. When He told Abraham to leave his country, Abraham left. When He promised him a son, Abraham expected one and received one even though he was old. Noah built a great boat without seeing the rain, then gathered the animals and entered with them and with his family, solely on the Word of God that a flood was coming.
Romans 12:3 says that God has given to every man a measure of faith. This faith grows when the man hears the Word of God (Romans 10:15). Hearing the Word means to believe it and to do it. When we read in the Word that we are the righteousness of God, we can believe it, speak and act like the righteousness of God. When the Word says “by His stripes we were healed,” we can believe it, speak it, and act like we are healed. Most of the time we believe we are sick, talk about how sick we are, and act like we are sick, therefore, we are sick. When the Word says we are redeemed by the blood, we know we are redeemed and we no longer have to walk in a sinful state. And if we sin, Jesus is our advocate and we can receive forgiveness for every sin. (1 John 2:1).
This faith shields us from the fiery darts of the enemy when he tries to convince us that we are nothing, lost, sick, desperate, down and out. By our faith in the Word of God, we know that we are the child of a King, healed, the head and not the tail, strong, rich (let the poor say I am rich and the weak say I am strong, 2 Corinthians 8:9; Joel 3:10), blessed and seated with Christ in heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3, 20; 2:66).
The Helmet of Salvation
A helmet shields the head including the brain, the ears, and the eyes. This is what we think, what we hear, and what we see. Salvation is deliverance. We have been delivered from the clutches of the adversary, translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. With the helmet of salvation, our eyes, ears, and minds are protected so that we allow only right and true thoughts to dwell in our minds and receive only those things that are true according to God’s Word.
Remember the story of Elisha and his servant who were surrounded by the Syrian army in 2 Kings 6:15-17. Elisha’s servant was fearful, but only because he could not see the whole situation. He saw the army surrounding them and he thought there was no chance for victory. Elisha prayed for God to open the young man’s eyes, allowing him to see that the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire, a mighty army of angels ready to fight for Elisha.
When we look at the circumstances around us, we cannot see what is going on in the spiritual world. We cannot see with our natural eyes what God is doing on our behalf and what he is working in us and for us. This is when faith steps in. This is when we meditate on the Word of God and declare the Word of God. We resist wrong thoughts about ourselves and others. We carefully guard what enters our minds through our eyes and our ears. In Psalms 101:3, David says, “I will set no wicked thing before my eyes.” What we see may be opposite what the Word says, and we do not have to receive it. What we hear may be wrong, so we should not listen to it.
The enemy may try to convince you that you are not saved, that you are nobody, that you won’t be healed, that your prayers will not be answered, but your helmet of salvation will guard you against such thoughts when you have it on. We remember that we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). Philippians 4:8 gives us a list of things on which we are to think. The Amplified version says it like this: Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].
Sword of the Spirit
Finally, we take up the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. This is the only defensive weapon we are given to fight the fight of faith. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, he used the Word of God to fight the enemy. The Word will always overcome the enemy when we use it to resist him. That is why it is essential to learn the Word, to ‘hide it in our hearts’ and use it in every situation we face. The Word should be so much a part of us that it is the first thing that comes to our minds when something comes up. We should learn to effectively use the Word to defend ourselves and others against the devil.
Just thinking the Word is not enough. We must remove it from the sheath and wield it (speak it out) for it to be effective. It helps to declare the Word as we face each new day and any situation we may face during the day. The scriptures say “from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks,” so whatever we have the most of in our hearts is what will come out of our mouths. Therefore, we must fill our hearts with God’s Word to protect ourselves and live victoriously.
We are to constantly speak the truth so we can cause the truth to be evident in our lives and the lives of others. Proverbs 18:21 tells us that “life and death are in the power of the tongue and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” We know from Genesis chapter one that the worlds were spoken into existence, and so we know that words have the power to create. Knowing these truths, we can surmise that with our words, much of our world is created. When we realize that by our words we are justified and by our words we are condemned, we know that we had better watch our words. Words are powerful. Mark 11:23 says it plainly: “I assure you that whoever tells this hill to get up and throw itself in the sea and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.” When we learn to speak the Word of God over our circumstances and situations, we will see positive results.
Put on the Armor of God
Putting on the Armor of God should be a daily practice, at least until the principles are rooted strongly in the heart. Then the practice should be renewed periodically so we are always aware of our battle array and in constant preparation for battle. We cannot afford to become complacent for a moment, lest we become defeated believers. Just as we properly dress ourselves to fit every social occasion, we should properly dress in the attire God has provided as we face each day’s battle.
So now, let’s put on the Armor of God.
Father, I thank you for your Word. I thank you for the blood of Jesus Christ by which I am redeemed. I am strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. I put on the whole armor of God.
I gird my loins about with truth that I may walk in the truth and reproduce truth. I hide your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you. I am your sheep and I know your voice, therefore I know the truth from a lie.
I put on the breastplate of righteousness to cover my emotions. I refuse to be controlled by my emotions, but I will live by the truth of your Word. Thank you, Father, that I am made the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus.
I put on my feet the preparation of the gospel of peace. Thank you, Jesus, for breaking down the wall between the Father and me so I am free from sin and have peace with God. I will now carry this message of peace to others, preparing them to accept the Gospel of peace with God. Jesus, you are my peace.
I take up the shield of faith to protect myself from the fiery darts of the enemy. No matter what he tells me or tries to make me believe, I know I am saved and my Father is always with me. Nothing can separate me from His love.
I put on the helmet of salvation to protect my mind, ears, and eyes from things that would harm me. I guard my mind because I have the mind of Christ. I am careful what I watch, listen to, and think because I want only the Truth in my mind. I will think on the things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy.
I take up the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, to defend myself and others. Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. No matter how circumstances appear, I know your Word is true and will come to pass. I can rest in your Word and not be bothered, worried, or afraid of anything. I will study your Word to show myself approved to You. Thank you, God, for your Word.