“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11).
So far we have talked about the following pieces of our spiritual armor:
- The Belt of Truth
- The Breastplate of Righteousness
- Sandals of Righteousness
Let’s now consider the last three pieces of armor and the glue that holds it together.
- Shield of faith: “…above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one” Ephesians 6:16. The devil works at making us feel defeated in our work, in our relationships and in our worship. He fills our minds with doubt and creates fear – the fruit of that doubt. When these doubts raise their ugly heads, we need to ask, “Where do I doubt Him?” Then we need to starve those doubts and feed our faith.
The shield used by the soldiers in Jesus day was typically in the shape of a triangle. This represents the Trinity to me. The fiery darts of the devil come in the form of all sorts of trials and to survive those trials we must know how to use the shield to protect us. Our effective protection is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
We all have our shields. Our children and grandchildren consider us their shield – quite natural for a child. But some adults choose shields like their education, properties they own, bank accounts or their jobs. None of these can protect us from the evil one.
The enemy’s goal is to keep us from God’s guidance. Satan loves it when we accuse God of not being faithful or not healing us. Early on in Paul’s ministry, he complained to God about his thorn in the flesh, but eventually learned that his thorn was a messenger of Satan and God’s grace is sufficient.
The devil spews false reasons for our troubles into our minds and hearts – always blaming God of course. He wants us to think that we sinned too much for God to forgive us. He wants us to question God’s love for us. After all, if He loves us, why is He allowing us to suffer? But the ultimate victory over any difficulty is always going to be our faith. Old Testament saints overcame with their faith. As soldiers of the cross, we can’t win the struggle if our minds and hearts are overcome with fear.
“You have not resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin” Hebrews 12:4.
Without faith, it is impossible to please God. We don’t need big faith either. Jesus said we could move mountains with faith the size of a mustard seed. But people think that if they have a big problem, they need big faith. Ask yourself, “Where does faith come from?” It sure does not come from motivational speakers, gifted preachers or hanging around nice friends. We get faith from studying the Word of God. Scripture says, “Thy faith has made you well.” It’s not faith about God but faith in God.
- Helmet of salvation: We are to love God with all our minds. Our emotional responses are the result of our thoughts. For example, repentance comes first from a decision we make in our minds. We are commanded to take all our thoughts into captivity:
“…casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” 2 Corinthians 10:5.
Too hard? Ask God! After all, He is the Lord of our intellect. Remember, sanctification is the present process going on inside us; glorification is the future process we will experience after this life. Salvation is not complete until the very end. With our minds being attacked from all sides, the helmet helps us adopt the truth through the Word of God and starve doubts.
- Sword of the Spirit: The sword is the Word of God and with it we fight evil. The lukewarm treat evil like a pet! We are never to entertain evil; we are to fight it!
This Sword is a double-edged sword; it is used offensively and defensively. The Word of God is profitable for teaching, correction and instruction. When you know the promises of God by studying His Word, you can use those promises to claim victory whenever you are in trouble. Dig into the Word and find the commandments to obey and examples of obedience we can follow; let the Word of God change you.
To understand what we don’ t understand, we must first obey what we don’t understand.
- Prayer: Prayer is the glue that is necessary for total mobilization and synchronization of all the armor.
“…praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” Ephesians 6:18.
When we are in battle we must stay in constant communication with headquarters. Don’t start your day or go to work without first communicating with the Commander in Chief; let it be a two-way conversation. Pray for victory; entreat the love and mercy of God. Prayer, intercession for others and thanksgiving should always be part of our daily communication with God.
Pray all the time in the spirit; ask God to give you a prayerful spirit. The purpose of prayer is for our spiritual growth. Allow prayer to:
- Turn your doubts into questions,
- Your questions into prayer and then offer that prayer to God.
Without prayer there is no victory! Even with every piece of our spiritual armor in place, if there is no prayer, we will lose. Someone once shared this with me.
God asks us to come to the edge of the cliff. When we look over we see a deep valley and we tell Him this is too much, we might fall. But He repeats, “Come to the edge.” When we finally obey, He pushes us from behind and we do fall, but only for a millisecond because he then gives us wings – wings like an eagle.
Put on the full armor of God every day and then pray without ceasing!