The concept of the “Armor of God” is a powerful and symbolic metaphor found in the New Testament of the Bible.
It serves as a spiritual guide for Christians, offering a vivid depiction of the tools and attributes necessary to stand firm in the face of spiritual battles and challenges.
It paints a picture of a spiritual warrior donning a unique set of armor, each piece representing a distinct aspect of faith and preparedness.
We may not think of ourselves as great warriors, but if we belong to the family of God, we have been enlisted into the army of God.
Most of the time, we think being a Christian is about love, forgiveness, and peace – and it is. However, we are also called to be soldiers of the cross. Warriors of God – defenders of truth.
But our battle, although it may seem like it at times, is not with flesh and blood (people). Ephesians 6 says it like this:
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. Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)
As Christians, we are placed on the front line of this spiritual warfare and given divine weapons described in Ephesians 6 as the Armor of God.
During the time the Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians, he was under house arrest under the rule of the Roman soldiers who served the Emperor. He knew what it looked like when a soldier was preparing for battle.
So, he used the metaphor of armor to encourage the church to prepare for battle against our enemy by putting on the whole armor of God.
So, what are these 7 pieces of the full armor of God that the Apostle Paul describes in Ephesians 6? They are listed in verses 13-18:
- Belt of Truth
- Breastplate of Righteousness
- Gospel of Peace
- Shield of Faith
- Helmet of Salvation
- Sword of the Spirit
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Armor of God Verse
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. Ephesians 6:13-18 (NIV)
7 Pieces of the Armor of God
The armor consists of seven key components, with each piece of armor carrying its own significance and purpose.
These pieces are often seen as both defensive and offensive tools, equipping believers to combat the forces of evil and adversity in their lives.
Understanding and embodying the symbolism of each piece can provide guidance and strength to those navigating the spiritual journey.
As we dive into each piece of the Armor of God, we will explore their meanings, their relevance in a modern context, and the profound lessons they offer for individuals seeking to strengthen their faith, resilience, and spiritual resolve in the face of life's challenges.
Belt of Truth
For a Roman soldier, the thick leather belt stabilized his gear.
When it was tightened up, the belt provided back support; it held the soldier's sword so he would always be ready. And he could also store food or water for nourishment.
And just as importantly, the Roman soldier would gather up his robe and tuck it into the belt so there would be no loose ends to entangle him during battle.
As Christians, the Belt of Truth symbolizes a life that’s grounded in truth. Satan is a liar, a deceiver, and he tries to lead us away from the truth – to get us caught on loose ends.
But when we put on the Belt of Truth, we are putting on God’s truth. The truth is presented in His Word. This truth keeps us from believing the subtle lies that can lead us astray.
When Jesus was praying for His disciples, He asked the Heavenly Father to sanctify them in the truth.
“Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” John 17:17 (NIV)
Jesus wanted us to be sanctified (or set apart) by the truth. We have the truth, the truth that sets people free. (John 8:32) And it is our responsibility to put on the truth and walk in integrity.
Breastplate of Righteousness
The breastplate of a Roman soldier protected his vital organs, like the heart and lungs.
In close combat, these organs would have been very vulnerable. By protecting these organs, the soldier had a better chance of walking away.
Our Breastplate of Righteousnes is our righteous living. We are called to be holy because God is holy. (1 Peter 1:15-16)
Satan uses every opportunity to attack our hearts and our spirit. He’s an accuser, he tries to make us feel guilty, and sometimes he convinces us that we are not good enough.
But the Breastplate of Righteousness keeps us aligned with the truth of the Word and away from the deception of sin. We are saved by grace; nothing we can do can make us lose that position in Christ.
By living a life of obedience and trusting God for the forgiveness of our sins, our hearts are safe from the attacks of evil spirits.
Gospel of Peace
Soldiers need sturdy footwear for their long marches and aggressive battles. Without the proper shoes, a soldier could not stand.
In comparison to God’s armor, Paul encourages us to have our
“feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” Ephesians 6:15 (NIV)
The Gospel of Peace is the good news of the gospel of Christ. It’s what brings peace between believers and the Father.
According to the Gospel of Peace, we are to live peaceably with all men as much as possible (Romans 12:18). God’s love is an example for us to follow.
Satan will try to disrupt peace in our lives. He creates turmoil and division, even in the church. But God wants us to take peace wherever we go. As Christians, we should be the ones promoting peace and reconciliation while sharing the Gospel that brings peace to all.
Shield of Faith
The Romans used shields that were big enough to block their whole body when they knelt down behind them. These shields provided protection for the men closest to the battle.
I’m sure you’ve seen pictures of fiery arrows coming down on a group of soldiers. Sometimes these shields were covered in oils that would put out the fire of the flaming arrow.
In Ephesians 6:16, Paul warns us that Satan attacks us with flaming arrows. Maybe they are fiery darts of doubt, flames of fear, or traps of temptation.
The Shield of Faith is our shield against these weapons. Our faith is in God’s promises.
We can extinguish the flaming arrows of doubt, fear, and temptation by trusting in God’s Word and believing what God says is true.
Helmet of Salvation
No soldier would ever go into battle without a helmet. Helmets were made of leather or molded steel. Some protected your eye, your nose, and your ears. But the main protection was to cover the head and brain
As Christians, we can’t take salvation up every day, as it seems Paul is saying in Ephesians 6:17. When we obtain eternal life through faith, we can be assured that our salvation is secure every day.
We have the confidence that we cannot lose our salvation, which keeps our minds aligned with the truth that our identity is secure in Christ. We are a child of the King and adopted children of the Heavenly Father.
Satan tries to create doubts about identity in Christ. Sometimes we get thoughts that maybe we’re not good enough.
Or maybe we think we don’t deserve what the Word says we will have. Those are lies from the enemy and should be taken captive.
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthinthians 10:5 (NIV)
Sword of the Spirit
The primary offensive weapon for a Roman soldier was his sword. With his sword, he could defend himself or slay the enemy. Without the sword, the soldier would surely die.
The Sword of the Spirit, Paul tells us, is the Word of God. But we cannot use our Bible as a sword.
However, we can hide this weapon in our hearts (Psalm 119:11), because our spiritual battles are not physical.
And just like the Roman soldier, if you don’t have the Sword of the Spirit and you don’t know how to use it, you will surely be defeated.
Satan knows God’s Word. He knows how to twist it, to taint it just enough so some will never know. He tried to use the Word of God to tempt Jesus when Jesus was in the wilderness.
But Jesus used the Sword of the Spirit like a two-edged sword to deflect Satan’s temptations and cut him down with the truth of Scripture.
Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only. Matthew 41:10 (NIV)
In order to use the Sword of the Word properly, we need to study it, memorize it, and apply it to advance the Kingdom of God.
Although it’s not technically a part of the physical armor of a soldier, communication is key to a successful outcome. The soldier receives orders and relays messages to their commander.
Often, these messages were verbal, so listening was a great skill to have.
Our direct line of communication with our Commander in Chief is prayer. Prayer is how we tell God how grateful we are for His provision.
We pray about our needs and ourr times of trouble. We pray for each other. Paul encourages us in Ephesians 6:18 to pray on all occasions:
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. Ephesians 6:18 (NIV)
Satan tries to disrupt our communication with the Lord with distraction and busyness.
Or with thoughts that prayer isn’t important. But that’s a lie. God desires to communicate with the hearts of His children through prayer.
Prayer aligns us with God’s will and empowers us to stand firm against the enemy’s evil devices.
Armor of God Prayer
Dear Heavenly Father, as I face the challenges in my daily life, allow me to be dressed in Your armor so that when evil comes, I will be able to stand.
I will cinch up the belt of truth, so I will be able to walk in the light of your Word and discern right from wrong.
And slipping on the breastplate of righteousness, please guard my heart against the accusations and doubts of the father of lies.
May my feet be ready with the gospel of peace, enabling me to bring Your message of forgiveness and reconciliation to everyone I encounter. And taking up the shield of faith, please help me as I extinguish the fiery darts of Satan’s lies.
Placing on the helmet of salvation, remind me of my identity in Christ and guard my mind from doubt and fear. And wielding the sword of the Spirit, may it be a sharp and powerful weapon in my hands to slice through all deception from the enemy.
Teach me to pray in the power of the Holy Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests as You strengthen me for the spiritual battles.
And staying alert, give me discernment to pray for all Your people, that together we may stand strong, shining Your light into the darkness of this world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
So, wrapping it up, the seven pieces of armor described by the Apostle Paul is a metaphor, encouraging Christians to be prepared to stand against the devil’s schemes as we engage in spiritual battle.
Just as a soldier meticulously puts on his armor to safeguard his physical body in the heat of battle, we are also encouraged to “put on” our spiritual armor, not for show, but to prepare to battle the enemy in our daily lives.
Once we accept the Father’s gift of eternal life, we enter into the battle that will one day end in victory for all Christians. But until then, let us prepare ourselves daily.
Clothed in this spiritual armor, we embark on a lifelong journey of good work, not relying on our own strength but drawing upon the power of the Holy Spirit.
Armed with prayer, we put on the pieces of armor to ward off all attacks of the enemy.
Through the discipline of Scripture-based prayer, we find ourselves firmly grounded in God's truth, living a righteous life through faith, promoting the peace of God to the world, trusting in God's promises, and resting in the assurance of our salvation.
We also effectively wield the Word of God as a sword while fervently praying for both ourselves and others. All of these efforts we dedicate to the glory of God and the advancement of His eternal kingdom.
If studying the Bible better is on your list of things to do this year, be sure to visit our Bible Study Resources page where you'll find everything you need to make Bible study a regular part of your daily routine.
So let me ask you, are you in the battle? If you’ve accepted the free gift of God’s love, the gift of salvation, then you have been enlisted into the army of God.
And you have been equipped with the arsenal needed to engage in the spiritual battle against Satan’s attacks.
Paul encourages us in Ephesians 6 to stay strong:
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. Ephesians 6:10-11 (NIV)