Protective equipment of all kinds exists to keep people safe from injury and death. Firefighters have special uniforms to keep back the flames, medical personnel have gloves that protect them from diseases, cyclists wear helmets, boaters wear life vests, and divers wear masks. Soldiers, though, have a different kind of need.
While others need protection from fire, water, infection, or falls soldiers need protection from an enemy who seeks their destruction. Because of this they need gear that protects their vital organs, but also allows for speed and flexibility in movement while holding up under harsh conditions. In addition to this they also need a weapon so that they can counterattack.
Paul’s words to the Ephesians serve as a reminder that Christians are soldiers at war. Not a war of bullets and bombs, but of lies, temptation, and confusion. Our enemy is real and he will relentlessly pursue our destruction and the frustration of God’s plan. In light of this Paul says that we should stand. Stand your ground in spite of the evil one’s attacks. Not in your own strength, but by the power of God seeking the protection of the Armor that He provides and using the Sword of His word to fight back.
The Battle Gear that God provides has been specifically designed to give us maximum protection if we will put it into use. The first piece of equipment is the Belt of Truth. Like a belt, truth holds everything together. As Christians we gain truth from God’s word. Knowing it and applying it skillfully is our best defense against the lies of the enemy. Along with it is the Breast-Plate of Righteousness. It is designed to protect the vital organs of the chest, especially the heart. A life of doing right helps set boundaries that protect us from the trap of sin and it’s hardening of our hearts.
The Gospel of Peace serves as the solid foundation on which we stand. The Gospel is the message of salvation and hope that leads to peace with God through Jesus. Any other message would dilute our purpose and cause us to stumble. When the enemy attacks with lies and temptation it is the Shield of Faith which allows us to withstand the attack. It is our faith in God and His word which gives us hope. Not a blind faith, but trust in God’s character and His promises will defeat the enemy. The Helmet of Salvation provides us with the assurance of God’s presence in this life and in the life to come. Belief in this makes us fearless. Knowing that we belong to God means that the enemy can only do to me what the Father allows and even if he takes my life he doesn’t win because the moment I exit this world I will rest with my God.
It’s not all about defense, though. We can also take the offensive the Sword of the Spirit and Prayer. These weapons bring to bear the power of Almighty God in our lives and will overpower anything that the devil throws at us, if we will put them to use. Every soldier is taught the value of care for and use of His equipment. Yours has been issued to you, but it will do you no good if you keep it on the shelf. You are at war and the enemy will bring the fight to you. Are you ready? Take up your Armor and your Sword and fight the fight with prayer and faith in God. Honor Him and you will see your foe defeated and left powerless. One day we will be able to lay our weapons down, but until then stay in the fight.
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