The Armour of God
Ephesians 6:10-18. 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural (Amplified Bible)) places.
:13 Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
BELT OF TRUTH
:14a Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth.... To gird your waist with truth means to make yourself confident in the truth in much the same way as you would put on a belt. You need to make sure the belt is facing the right way and thread it through the loops, and then to fasten it in the right hole for the right fit. In much the same way, we need to have an understanding of truth that is the right fit with the Scriptures and with the leading of the Holy Spirit, and to have it fastened or secured to ensure stability. As it is written,
2Ti 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
2Ti 3:17 that the man of God may be perfected, thoroughly furnished to every good work.
Knowing and being secure in the truth is important to avoid being led astray with false teachings, and it enables us to stand in confidence.
BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
14b having put on the breastplate of righteousness.... The breastplate protects you as you face a battle or confrontation. It protects our vital organs, particularly the "heart" (soul), which is susceptible to spiritual damage. Righteousness simply means right standing before God, and it should be noted here that Jesus is our righteousness. Right standing before God is achieved chiefly through having a good, honest, and open relationship with Him. Once again, a good relationship means spending quality time with the other person, in this case, God. Sin will separate us from God and therefore weaken our protection (breastplate), but praise God, He is quick to forgive us when we ask Him to. Putting on the breastplate of righteousness is achieved by spending time with our Lord, and then walking in obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit and in accordance with Scripture, avoiding temptations and and resisting the evil one. It protects us from discouragement from others, or criticism from someone who sees things differently from us, but it can also come in many other forms. Most importantly, it enables us to stand in the truth that we know.
:15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.... Having your shoes on is symbolic of going out. When we go out we need to be ready to be able to meet people’s needs as we come across them. The fact that Jesus was prepared to die in order to provide our salvation means that we should at least know what to say to someone who has not yet found that salvation. If we find ourselves in a situation where we cannot answer a question or a need, we need to sort it out so that next time we will be. There is nothing wrong with saying to someone "I don't know, but I will find out for you", but it is much better if we can be prepared through knowing our Bible and spending time with our Lord. Having Jesus in our hearts and a good knowledge of the Bible is a very good way to get ready to go out! Jesus often spent time alone with His Father and then did the things that the Father showed Him. John 5:19. This is the preparation that I strive for, to know His will before I embark upon my day, so that I might walk in the Spirit in total obedience.
SHIELD OF FAITH
:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.... The shield of faith is obviously very important . Paul says "Above all" when talking about taking the shield of faith. A shield talks of protection. Faith talks of knowing, and believing God, and knowing His direction for us. For example if God was to say to you "Move to a certain town", then that is just what He would expect you to do. Almost without doubt someone, or perhaps even several people might come and say to you "Don't be silly, God doesn't want you to do that!". The fact that you KNOW what God told you to do protects you from the doubt and hurt (fiery darts) that would otherwise sway you. There are two main aspects of faith. One is simply knowing that God is, and that "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" 2 Timothy 3:16,17. The other side of faith comes and develops as we spend time with our Lord. It is knowing Him on a personal basis each day and being led by the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that He does nothing unless He sees His Father do it first. John 5:19. So it should be for us, having first spent time with our Lord in fellowship, to be prepared for what lies ahead in each day. Walking in faith simply means walking in obedience, not only to what we know is right behaviour, but more importantly, as led by the Holy Spirit. Importantly, faith can come in an instant, either through you just knowing you have to do something, or when He tells you to do something. Faith should never be confused with want or desire. Statements such as "I'm just believing for a miracle" is not faith because it has not come from God. If God had told/shown you that He was going to do something, your statement would be more like "God said, and I believe Him".
HELMET OF SALVATION
17a And take the helmet of salvation.... The helmet obviously protects our heads and in particular, our minds and is simply the knowledge and reassurance we have of our salvation. Because we know Jesus not only in the Scriptures, but also in our hearts, this is our protection against doubt and anything else that would seek to undermine our faith. Romans 8:15-16 reads "For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption (sonship) by whom we cry out Abba Father". The ways to keep our helmet firmly intact are chiefly to have a good Bible knowledge (through regular reading), but more importantly, to make sure that our actual personal relationship with the Lord is alive and meaningful.
SWORD OF THE SPIRIT
:17b and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.... Word here is the Greek word "rhema" which means an actual spoken message from God. Therefore the sword of the Spirit is the word (or message) that God speaks to us. It is a quickened word which God provides to counter a wrong situation, or to encourage someone when they need it, to give direction or reassurance etc. You can picture God sitting up there in Heaven and He sees something that needs His attention. He says to Himself "Hmmm, I think I'll send Moses with a message for those people. Holy Spirit, go to Moses and tell him to go to Pharaoh and say 'If you don't let my people go I will bring a plague of locust upon your land'". The end result was that Pharaoh could not stand against the Lord, and had to let His people go. It is the same today. God uses us to take a message from Him to different people at different times according to His purposes. We can all hear from God like this, and His message can be one of reassurance, rebuke, direction, or any one of a number of different things. For that sword to be all sharpened up and ready for use requires an active relationship with the Lord. Take time out at the start of each day, and then periods throughout the day, to just give Him your fellowship. It is amazing how He speaks to people who have the ears to hear! This is another piece of the armour of God that is automatically intact and properly fitted when we have a right relationship with God.
When David faced Goliath, Saul had David fitted out in his armour, but David found that it was heavy and uncomfortable, and so he chose to go without it. In the same way we cannot wear anyone else's armour. It is not good enough to know about God through someone else. We are each responsible for our own personal relationship with the Lord to keep our armour intact. The plus is that when we have a right relationship with Him, our lives are complete and nothing can match the beauty that we find there even in adversity. There are many different aspects to having a meaningful relationship with God. Some of these are regular Bible reading, prayer, thanksgiving and praise, but along with these is the need for time out to "be still and know that I am God". A time of fellowship where we stop and let Him enjoy our company, while we enjoy His. A time without noise, or the need to do or say anything. A time of just being still before Him and available to Him.
Eph. 6:10-18. 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.:11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural (Amplified Bible)) places.
:13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.