Open Your Bible
Ephesians 6:10-24, Isaiah 59:12-17, 1 Thessalonians 5:5-11
Armor isn’t something I spend too much of my imagination on. Historically, when I’ve heard Paul use the word in Ephesians 6, I’ve bristled a little and tried on a softer metaphor for my spiritual life. Armor is steely and defensive. It’s an outer shell that protects you from threats. As someone who struggles with defensiveness most days—with my walls as high up as they can go—putting on armor feels like the last thing I should be doing.
Here’s what I’m learning more every hour, though. God relates to us so, so differently than our enemy does. God rescues us. He intercedes and shows us mercy. He seeks our good. We can feel safe letting down our walls in God’s presence and speaking with vulnerability because He has shown Himself to be trustworthy. The enemy, however, does not seek our good. He seeks to kill and destroy (John 10:10). Paul’s letter to the Ephesians describes how we battle against one who schemes against us, who is evil, and who partners with other leaders in the realm of darkness (Ephesians 5:11–12).
That’s a situation that calls for armor. But tough, steely armor wouldn’t be very effective at protecting us against all the armies of darkness. We need even better protection: the armor of God. We exchange belts for truth and sandals for peace. We exchange shields for faith and swords for the strong and Holy Spirit of God. “Put on the full armor of God,” said Paul to his audience, “so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11). Suiting up in this way doesn’t mean we will always be fool-proof; even people who trust in Jesus can make foolish choices. But it does give us much better tools to defend ourselves against the enemy. Because it isn’t just us fighting now. We’re part of a supernatural partnership with our victorious God.
Friends, there is a battle going on for our hearts and souls, and we have a part to play in defending them. As we lace up hiking boots before thrashing through poison ivy or strap on motorcycle helmets to avoid injury, shouldn’t we prepare ourselves even more for spiritual threats? Even though I still don’t love the imagery that armor conjures up, I think that’s the point—our enemy doesn’t like the imagery either. He knows how powerful truth, righteousness, faith, and peace really are. No matter how many flaming arrows get thrown, they still aren’t strong enough to penetrate when we have clothed ourselves in Christ. God has equipped us with everything we need to stand against the darkness.
We will have days that feel victorious.
We will have days that feel less than victorious.
But He is always with us.
Lord, have mercy.