Ready For Battle
Open Your Bible
Ephesians 6:10-24, Romans 13:8-14, 2 Corinthians 10:3-4, 1 Timothy 6:11-12
You and I could gather around our screens and Bibles today like we were kids in Sunday school, felt board placed front and center. We’d label the felt man with his felt armor, giving each other a pep talk about putting on the full armor of God— not that shoddy, DIY armor we tend to wear. Then we’d retire to the Fellowship Hall for breakfast casserole while the choir practiced in the next room.
The conversation (and the casserole) would be worthwhile, but I’m wondering if today we might dig a little deeper into the text together.
What is this spiritual battle Paul has us suiting up for in the first place? To find the answer, let’s hop over to Revelation 12.
The text describes a dramatic event where “the ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the one who deceives the whole world” is thrown out of heaven with all his angels (Revelation 12:12). We know how the story ends: death and Satan are conquered by perfect sacrifice of Jesus, the Lamb, on the cross (Amen!). But where is the Defeated One now? Look at Revelation 12:11-12:
They conquered him
by the blood of the Lamb…
Therefore rejoice, you heavens,
and you who dwell in them!
Woe to the earth and the sea,
for the Devil has come down to you
with great fury,
because he knows he has a short time.
Paul entreated the Ephesians to dress for battle because the battle is real and ongoing. The evil one has been defeated, but he is not going down without a fight. He lives to destroy goodness and steal the true life that only the Christ can bring (John 10:10).
This is no ordinary battle, and it calls for extraordinary armor.
But wait! Before we suit up and give it the ole college try, putting forth our very best efforts (ahem) to fight for victory, let’s remind each other of a few, very important things.
First, the victory has already been won by Jesus. We know the outcome of this battle. Our efforts do not win the victory. Christ’s life, death, and resurrection won the victory (1 Corinthians 15:15).
Secondly, you and I are not average soldiers. We are co-heirs with the Great High Priest, children of the undefeated King! The armor described by Paul in Ephesians 6:14-17 bears striking resemblance to the high priestly garb described in Exodus 28. What’s more, check out how the prophet Isaiah described the coming Messiah, our Jesus:
Righteousness will be a belt around His loins;
faithfulness will be a belt around His waist.
– Isaiah 11:5
He put on righteousness like a breastplate,
and a helmet of salvation on His head;
He put on garments of vengeance for clothing,
and He wrapped Himself in zeal as in a cloak.
– Isaiah 59:17
Sound familiar? And, the Old Testament often describes God as a shield:
After these events, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:
Do not be afraid, Abram.
I am your shield…
– Genesis 15:1a
How happy you are, Israel!
Who is like you,
a people saved by the Lord?
He is the shield that protects you,
the sword you boast in.
Your enemies will cringe before you,
and you will tread on their backs.
– Deuteronomy 33:29
As for the feet? The high priests donned bare feet because they stood on holy ground. And, of course, bare feet were Jesus’ jam (John 13:4-5).
Now, back to Paul’s letter: he already reminded the believers of their new spiritual clothing two chapters earlier. “You took off the old self,” he said, and “you put on the new self” in Christ (Ephesians 4:22-24). He wrote it in his letter to the Romans, too: “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 13:14).
Do you see it? This armor is all His— His truth, His righteousness, His salvation, His Word. He fought the battle and won, and He laid the armor of victory on us.
So, yes— suit up today. Put that felt helmet, shield, and belt on your little felt figure. Pray earnestly at all times and “with every prayer and request,” just like Paul describes (Ephesians 6:18). Pray for boldness—not to proclaim all the answers, but to proclaim the mysterious gospel (Ephesians 6:19).
It is indeed a battle—a battle both won and ongoing—but you and I were made to fight it. Not by armor of our own making, but by the already tried and true armor of the Mighty One, our High Priest, our Messiah and King.
May our feet spread His gospel as long as we have breath.