The Weapons of Our Warfare Pt. 3 – The Armor We Live In

In parts 1 & 2 I talked about the enemy’s domain and his activities. Now it’s time to talk about why I did this teaching in the first place. Honestly, I wanted to show that our victory in the battles the enemy engages us in is tied to the depth and intimacy of our relationship with God.

In pretty much any talk about spiritual warfare, there is a particular passage that comes up that most of us can quote, or at least paraphrase.

Ephesians 6:10-18

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.”

First, let me say this — there are a plethora of commentaries written about this passage, and I’m not trying to raise my voice louder than theirs. I just want to sit around this small table with you and give my thoughts, and hopefully hear yours. If I get long-winded (and I will), take a break, eat a piece of cheesecake for stamina, and then come back.

Secondly, we cannot detach this portion of scripture from those that come before it. Doing so will make it appear as though Paul had a touch of ADD. The chapter begins with children – obey your parents; then parents – don’t exasperate your children. This is followed by slaves – obey your master, and masters – treat your slaves well. And then Paul says, “Finally…”. So I believe that Ephesians 6:10-18 is less about what we know theologically, and way more about what we do with what we know. In other words, this passage is not about what we know, but how we live. Let’s dig in.

If I had to put a title to what I’ve learned in the past 31 years of following Jesus, that title would be…

No Other

…so I’m going to approach this passage from that perspective.

The very first thing we’re told is to be strong in the power of His might. Other versions say strengthened by the Lord and His vast strength. Your own strength will not be enough. Not by a long shot.

We try to draw strength from so many wells, but there is no other strength that will sustain us through this life, but Jesus. Through dark nights of the soul, or in the valley under the shadow of death. Even just the everyday work of fighting depression, fighting anxiety, fighting fear, fighting pain, fighting to stay above the water. Oh, we can suck it up and hold on and push through, to a point. But, by divine design, our weakness and limitations and our utter lack of strength will eventually become evident, and where we go for strength will determine whether or not we taste victory over what is trying to do us in.

Jesus taught me that there is no other place to find what I need. He’s it. The fellowship with Him that comes from time spent in the secret place has strengthened me for the journey, strengthened me for suffering, for trials, and even for the green pastures and still waters (because sometimes, it takes the strength and power of God to get us to just lie down, be still, and drink deep of Him).

Be strengthened by the Lord…and no other. It is His strength, not our own that is a weapon against the enemy who seeks to wear us down.

truth like a belt

It’s an interesting word, Truth. Most of us would think it means we are to gird ourselves with the truth of God’s word, but it actually carries a little different meaning, so I do not have the standard take on this word that many have.

The root word it comes from means “loving the truth, speaking the truth, truthful.” See what I mean? Interesting. The actual word truth in this passage means “sincerity of mind and integrity of character, or a mode of life in harmony with divine truth“.

It’s not about being able to quote scripture passages, and it’s a whole lot more than not lying on your tax returns. Girding yourself with the truth means living true. Living without pretense, without shadows, without hypocrisy. It is a life that is in harmony with the Truth, not at odds with Him.

When you are clothed in the belt of truth, try as he may, the enemy will not get you to compromise or to live in a way that creates disharmony with God’s truth. You won’t be caught in a lie, found out, or exposed as pretending to be something you are not, because that is not the life you are living.

No other way of living provides this kind of spiritual defense.

the breastplate of righteousness

that word righteousness means “integrity, virtue, purity of life, uprightness, correctness in thinking, feeling, and acting“.

The breastplate is “consisting of two parts and protecting the body on both sides from the neck to the middle“.

Isn’t it interesting that the meaning of righteousness as used in this passage includes correctness in thinking, feeling, and acting? And isn’t it also so interesting that these things protect us against the schemes and attacks of the enemy?

Note: In the armor, the breastplate is attached to the belt. So the breastplate of righteousness for the Christian, is attached to the belt of truth. Here’s what I think – if we aren’t living lives of truth, we will not be able to live a life of righteousness.

This can all sound like a “do it yourself” Christianity. Living righteously out of our own strength. Oh, believe me, it is not. We know that our righteousness comes from Christ alone. Our own ability to be right and live right with God is a big fat zero. And the good news is that we receive the righteousness of Christ upon our confession of faith. Boom. Done. We have been made right with God. But…

If the way we live our lives does not reflect the righteousness of Christ that is in us and on us, then we are unprotected from the attacks of the enemy. This is what I’m saying…this armor isn’t about our salvation, it is about how we live it out. Without the lifestyle that reflects what Christ has done, we are deer in an open field against an enemy with a stellar aim.

There is no other righteousness but the righteousness of Christ that can make us right with God. And there is no quicker way to oppression than for a person who has been made right with God by the blood of Christ, to live a life that is not right with God.

feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace...

I’ll be honest, this one has been one of those things that for years I could not figure out, so I just nodded and quoted and more or less went along with everyone else’s explanation. But that thing in me that needs to know God, and know what He’s actually saying to me, wouldn’t let go of this verse. Once I realized that this whole passage is talking about how we live, then I began to dig and this is what I found that satisfies me, at least for now.

“it also has the meaning of firm footing (foundation);… if that is the meaning in [this passage], the Gospel itself is to be the firm footing of the believer, his walk being worthy of it, and therefore a testimony in regard to it.” (Vines Expository Dictionary) From other sources (which I will list at the end), I found snippets of explanation that helped me form a coherent and less abstract view of this verse:

Be ready to quickly and cheerfully go where you are sent, never allowing your feet to move off the firm foundation that is the gospel of Christ. It is a gospel of peace, so walk worthy of that gospel. You have peace with God, so do not live as though you do not. Let your life be a testimony of the good news, where ever your feet take you.

There is no other gospel worthy of the giving of our lives than the gospel of Christ. No other place for our feet to stand, and move upon, than that firm foundation. All other ground is sinking sand. May our lives speak of this gospel day in and day out, as we move upon the earth.

take up the shield of faith

The word faith is our faith in God, authored by Jesus. It is far more than the belief that God exists, it is the trust we have in Him. Satan is not trying to get us to not believe in the existence of God (even demons believes He exists), but what he’s after is our trust in God. That said, this verse is telling us to take up our shield of faith (trust) so that the flaming darts of the enemy will be extinguished. In ancient times, the shield was made of leather, and they would soak it with water before battle because there would be fiery arrows coming at them. That shield is as big as a door, able to protect everything behind it.

Isn’t it interesting that Jesus is called the living water, and the author and perfecter of our faith? So when we raise a faith that has been soaked in Jesus, there is no flaming arrow that will not be extinguished!

No other faith, no other trust that we put into a person or a thing, will protect us against what the enemy is firing at us. It is only our faith (trust) in God that will fully shield us, and extinguish satan’s fiery weapons.

Take the helmet of salvation

The helmet is “the protection of soul which consists in (the hope of) salvation”. (Blue Letter Bible Lexicon).

Our soul is our mind, our will, and our emotions. It is to our soul that the enemy will attempt to bring despair, discouragement, hopelessness, fear (of death), and get us to live our lives in response to those emotions and thoughts. The hope (assurance) of salvation, that future life that awaits us with God, is a guard for our soul. But here’s the catch…that hope of salvation has to trump our desire, or hope, for a good, pleasant, comfortable, unbothered life on this earth. When our hope of salvation is simply a “given” that we don’t think much about as the years go on, then our hopes for a “better” life here will uncover our mind to all sorts of thoughts, emotions, and eventually belief systems that can cripple our soul.

No other hope can protect our soul except the hope of our salvation. We have been promised life with God for all eternity, but we were never promised a life on this earth without trouble, sorrow, trials, or pain. This is life in a fallen world. But we have been given a hope to see us through it all with a depth of joy and peace that cannot be touched.

{“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”} (Psalm 51:12)

the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Here is what we know for sure — Satan is a liar, and God’s Word is true. There is no other way to tear down a lie than with truth. I will preach this until I die – get yourself into the Word of God and keep yourself there. There is no substitute. The best sermon is not a sword. That podcast you listen to is not a sword. Your daily devotional is not a sword. All of those things are good, and they serve to help us grow, but if you try to bring one against the enemy, you’ve brought a butter knife to a sword fight.

It doesn’t matter that you don’t like to read. It doesn’t matter if you find it boring or hard to understand. The fact remains that it is the only sword you have, so by golly you should learn to weild it well. Otherwise, you are susceptible to any and every lie that the liar wants to whisper to you.

There is no other sword. But no other sword is needed. Pick it up. Learn to use it. Start coming against the lies that you’ve been believing.

Prayer is a weapon we will discuss next time, so I won’t go into it here.

I know this was long and if you hung in there with me, you should get the last piece of cheesecake. And, thank you!

But I can’t end it without going back to my first point. The whole reason I began looking at teaching about spiritual warfare in the first place, was to show that it is directly tied to the depth and intimacy of our relationship with Jesus.

Looking back over every weapon, over the life lived in the armor of God, it comes out of time spent with Him. It comes from that place of seeking His face, seeking His ways, and desiring to know Him more. The hours that become days that become years spent in the secret place, in His word, in recurring surrender and repentance and worship, is what fits us for the armor.

After 31 years, the most humbling realization I’ve had is that I have not yet arrived. Like all of us, I have good days and bad days. Victory and defeat. Falling down and getting back up. Learning and forgetting and relearning it all. And yet, His goodness and His faithful love have followed me all of these days and years, and I am forever grateful.

Sources: Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance; Vines Expository Dictionary; + various NT commentaries.

5 Comments on “The Weapons of Our Warfare Pt. 3 – The Armor We Live In

      • Yes thanks Karla. Thankfully none of our family have caught the virus, although it has affected life in so many different ways and restrictions on daily life come and go. Currently we can only meet in groups of six – that includes children, meaning that we cannot meet our second eldest and his family all together as there are seven of them! They only live 45 minutes away. If we cross the border into Wales the rule of six still applies but does not include children under 12 years of age so we can meet in Wales but not in England as four of the children are under 12!

        Hope you are getting over Covid-19 – it sounded horrible.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Goodness, your restrictions are much stricter than ours! But that may be a good thing, other than not being able to visit your son and his family.

        I am slowly but surely coming out of Covid. Still have daily fatigue, and some shortness of breath, but that’s about it. It certainly was the worst sickness I’ve ever had, and mine wasn’t even as bad as some have had it. I was so thankful not to have to be hospitalized or put on a ventilator.

        I’m hoping all of this goes away soon, but something tells me I may be a bit naive. lol.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Daily fatigue doesn’t sound good.

        Things are not going too well in the UK since the university students went back. Lots of local lockdowns. Nothing is close to being normal again in the UK.

        There are inconsistent rules across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. We live close to the Welsh border so we could cross the border to legally meet up with the grandchildren but most of South Wales is now in local lockdown – if that spreads to mid-Wales then that option gets removed. It’s a mess.

        Liked by 1 person

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