Last week we looked at the first two pieces of the armor of God: truth and righteousness. Both are so crucial to our walk as believers that without them we are in constant peril of spiritual attack from the enemy.
Today we’ll examine the remaining pieces of our God-given spiritual armor:
And having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Eph 6:15-17
Once again, the Apostle Paul refers to Isaiah, specifically 52:7, where the prophet wrote: “How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, and says to Zion, “Your God reigns!” This may have been a favorite passage for Paul, as he also quoted this in Romans 10:15. From this, we can start to see the context of Paul’s instruction to shod – or bind under – our feet the gospel of peace.
As soldiers of the Lord, we are to bring the love of Christ to the world. But first we must be sure we are standing on the true gospel. Without the gospel underneath us as the solid foundation of our faith, we might as well be standing in quicksand. While we could certainly share the gospel with the lost even if we don’t believe it nor have it in our heart (cf: Phil 1:15-18), that scenario does absolutely nothing to secure our eternal place with God, nor provides any benefit or spiritual protection. We must be sure we are planting our feet on the gospel of Christ in everything we do, and in this we are able to stand firm (see: Eph 6:14).
Next we are told to take up another piece of armor: the shield of faith. Tying in perfectly with the other protective layers of truth, righteousness, and the gospel, the shield of faith allows us to cover ourselves very effectively from direct blows. Paul says with it we will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. This shield of true faith in Christ as our Savior guards us against targeted attacks by the enemy. These may come as blatant false teaching and assaults on our beliefs, or perhaps more subtly as doubt, fear, anxiety, and even depression. We may still suffer some wounds in life’s troubles, but without the shield of faith our grief will be significantly worse and more severe than if we placed all our hope and trust in the Lord to carry us through the heat of the battle.
Another vital piece of our armor is the helmet of salvation and again is an Old Testament reference from Isaiah 59:17. This is from of a very fascinating prophetic passage outlining how the Messiah would put on a breastplate of righteousness and a helmet of salvation to bring God’s justice and vengeance to the world. Clearly, of all this spiritual armor we must have on, salvation is the most important. Protecting our head protects our life both physically and spiritually, and viewed from the eternal perspective, the helmet of salvation preserves us from eternal spiritual death and separation from the Lord.
Finally, we are told to take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. You may have noticed that this is the only offensive spiritual implement we are given, and thankfully Paul makes it extremely clear what this sword is: the word of God.
The ‘word of God’ is a subject far too deep for this simple devotional, but if you have time do a word search on this phrase and take a look at all the times it is used throughout Scripture. To touch on a few, it refers to the method of creation, our salvation, an offensive weapon against the enemy (here and also in Heb 4:12), the gospel, the written testaments and epistles, and even Christ Himself.
For our purposes today, I’ll focus on the physical word of God we have which is the Bible. Next to prayer, reading, learning, memorizing, studying, and sharing Scripture are the most powerful and effective weapons we have against the enemy. One may be able to defend against attacks, but what good soldier goes to battle without a weapon of his own?
The same is true for us. Being without a weapon – in this case a love and knowledge of God’s word – we are left with a perilous weakness. To be effective in our family, ministry, relationship with Christ, and reaching the lost, the word of God must be always in our hand. How often we take lightly the power of knowing His written word, and this is always to our detriment!
Let’s change that and strive to become as intimately familiar with God’s word as a solider is with his weapon. Spiritually bearing all this God-given armor, standing firm in the faith and on-the-ready with weapon in hand, we too can be an effective spiritual warrior for Christ in bringing the gospel of peace to the world.