When our kids were little, we bought all of them “Armor-of –God” costumes: plastic Roman- looking things with crosses on them. Everyone looked like little soldiers for Jesus. We had lots of fun, and they were great object lessons, but I’m not sure we ever really grew out of them into God’s armor. I know I hadn’t for many years, until the Lord fitted me in His armor.
I love how Paul finishes Ephesians with, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” Ephesians 6:10. Finally, Paul is saying, there’s one more thing–after learning to sit with Christ in heavenly places by faith, and walk with Christ in earthly relationships in love– we need to be in strength, inside of Christ, clothed in His power and might! Then we can put on the full armor of God. We have to come reside inside of God to put God’s armor on. Otherwise, it doesn’t fit; doesn’t feel right; doesn’t work right.
This reminds me of a scripture that, over the years, has become a source of great comfort to me and a directive in times of battle. Isaiah 27:5 says, “Or let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me.”
We have to take hold of God’s strength to make peace with God. We may be freaked out; He isn’t. We may be ashamed and in confusion. He isn’t. He is in perfect peace and complete victory. This is why we must first strengthen ourselves in the Lord; then we can put on the armor of God. Like a NFL player knows his “football gear” isn’t a substitute for personal training and strength, God’s armor has to be worn over His strength. I couldn’t imagine myself standing in a professional football game and feeling anywhere safe or ready just because I had the “football gear” on. No way; that gear isn’t going to help me at all! I’m off the field; I am not going to play just because someone gave me the gear!
Before we step into the battle, we learn to “put on Christ” by sitting with Him in heavenly places. How? We learn who Christ is, what He has accomplished, and what we have been given in Him. We also learn who we are becoming as we wholly fellowship with Him in Spirit and in Truth. We grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ. We practice receiving His provision of strength and power and might as the eyes of our understanding are enlightened to know “. . . what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places” (Ephesians1:19-20).
It’s hard enough just accepting by faith that ALL of His power is now available to us in Christ, let alone put on His warrior suit! But in time, with practice, Christ as our “warrior suit” feels right. So let’s move on and put it on.
Gird your loins with truth. Truth equals Jesus. It’s all He has done, all we have been given, and all we are in Him. He is all in all. Loins are our mid –section, the place from which all of life proceeds. So, our gut, our hips, our reproductive organs: Everything must be formed into His truth. The “put on” in the Greek means to “sink into” truth.
Put His righteousness over your heart. The truth of Christ which opens relationship with God is justification– and that is our righteousness. You see, the armor of God is really the fastening together of all of the provision of Christ freely given to us. Actively believing, we put it on and sink into God’s armor for us. God is our armor.
Having shod your feet with peace. The word “shod” means to bind under one’s feet; think of tying your sandals, or lacing your shoes. This is the act of putting peace under your feet. Peace is the first fruit of justification, “Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God” (Romans 5:1). “And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly” (Romans 16:20). “For the kingdom of God is…righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). We are wearing Holy Spirit shoes!
Above all, take the shield of faith. Shields up! The word “shield” comes from the Greek word “door” or “portal”; faith is where we live and how we live, since we live by faith and not by sight. For me, faith is a door into the unseen, into the promises of God which hold me with patience in the midst of all tribulation. Faith is essential; it extinguishes all fiery missiles of evil. Stepping inside my faith means, “Shields up!” Nothing can reach me there, and everything hostile to God is extinguished when it comes in contact with my faith. Sure, the battle might rage outside, but inside, all I hear is an occasional, “Boom, boom,” as missiles are extinguished, one after another. Israel has the Iron Dome; we have the “Faith Dome”.
Take the helmet of salvation. Our thoughts are meant to think on salvation: all of its provision and fulfillment. In 1 Thessalonians 5:8, Paul further elaborates, “. . .and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.” Hope keeps our minds from sinking into negativity and despair. There is a better day ahead! As we set our minds on the things above, where Christ sits majestically, we put on the helmet of the hope of salvation, passing through the veil to where Christ lives.
Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. All that God has spoken forms the sword of the Spirit in us. When we declare these words out loud, the Spirit wields His Word, dismantling all opposition. Our voices, declaring what we have heard Him say to us, is the sword of the Spirit in action!
All right, we have the armor on. Yeah, it’s huge; I mean, it’s really big. It ought to be, it’s God’s warrior suit and that suit is named JESUS! Clothed with Christ (see Romans 13:14), we’ll grow up into this armor; we will become comfortable wearing it, and confident in it, until no one will know it’s just us inside. The devil will think it’s Jesus.
Now let’s play football! Oh yeah, “football” for the believer, by the way, is praying with all prayer in the Spirit. No wonder we need God’s warrior suit. . .