Season: 7 Episode: 096
No matter if you’re a Christian or not, you are in a spiritual battle. But the real question is are you engaged? Shanda breaks down the armor of God in a practical and applicable way. We look at Ephesians 6 and why many Christians may be familiar with this passage but they don’t understand what it means. God has given us the means to engage in the battle. Are you in the fight?
“You can’t fight spiritual battles with physical weapons.”
“The posture of a Christian is to stand against the enemy and engage in the battle.”
“Passivity toward spiritual battles does not eliminate you as a target.”
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Hey guys! Welcome back to another episode of Her Faith Inspires podcast where we take cultural issues and align them to biblical truth. I just finished a 3 week guest run and I usually do a solo episode in between guests so I can share what I feel God lays on my heart for my listeners, but with Laura Powell and the Afghanistan episode, I really felt I needed to squeeze that one in.
The episode today is a listener requested episode and will dive into a bit of theology but it’s a topic that we all need to understand. I think Christians are good at spitting out verbiage we’ve heard in the church but don’t necessarily understand what it means, and that goes for today’s topic … the armor of God.
Before we get into today’s episode, I want to remind you of a few things:
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So, let’s talk about why we are talking about the armor of God. First of all, we are in a spiritual battle. Like it or not, you are in a spiritual battle.
Someone sat across from the table from me a few months ago and asked why I continue to do my podcast and teach other people and sound the alarm about all that is happening in culture because … it doesn’t do any good anyway. People don’t listen. Nobody will change.
What a doom and gloom attitude.
But is that the way we’re supposed to live our lives? Are we supposed to sit back and be passive so we can live a quiet life and use the excuse that nothing will change and no one will listen?
You know who’s not passive? The enemy of our souls. And I’m going to do a few things in this episode.
I’m going to tell you:
1. How active the enemy is and why we cannot sit by and do nothing.
2. And then we’re going to break down the armor of God so that you know what it means to put on the armor and what that looks like in our walk with God.
When this episode was requested, my Canadian friend who sent me a message requesting it was very honest and said, “We talk about the armor of God but I don’t know that I fully understand it and it’s not explained well.”
I fully agree. There are tons of studies done on the armor of God, but how well do we apply this in our lives today? The armor is not physical … obviously. And I think because it’s not tangible and it doesn’t necessarily elevate the Christian in terms of virtuous words and a gain of some sort, a lot of people don’t invest in what it truly means to put on the armor of God.
So we’re going to talk about that.
But before we do, let me tell you what we’re up against in this life. I’m not talking about some fairytale or myth. I’m not telling you this may be the case or this might happen at some point in your life. The reality is that this is what we are up against in this world. We are in a spiritual battle. And my rebuttal to the friend who sat across from me that morning during coffee was this, “If you think all there is to this life is what you see, you’ve got another thing coming. I’m part of a spiritual battle, but like it or not, so are you. And if you choose to be quiet, or bow out of the fight, don’t think for one second you’re removed from being a target. Not at all. You’ve just deceived yourself into thinking you can hide in the shadows but what you don’t realize is that the devil lurks there too.”
My friends, we are in a spiritual battle. We don’t wrestle against flesh and blood … what does that mean? The physical is only the result of what is taking place in the spiritual realm. That’s why Paul goes further in Ephesians 6 and says that we wrestle against powers and principalities and dark forces in the heavenly realms. Our war is with what we cannot see.
And that’s why I believe many Christians forget that the battle is not in the physical. And you can’t fight spiritual battles if 1) you don’t know you’re in one and 2) if you use the wrong weapons, or 3) If you misuse the weapons you’ve been given.
So, how active is our enemy and why can’t we sit back and do nothing?
The Bible gives us great insight into what we’re up against on this earth. We have to remember that the same enemy in the garden is the same enemy we face today. He hates you. You are made in the image of God and for that reason alone he hates you because you are the very reflection of your Creator. In fact, the enemy hates every human being on this earth. He hates anyone and everyone because we are all image bearers.
Peter tells us in 1 Peter 5:8 to be alert and sober minded because your adversary the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.
There are a few things I want to point out in this verse. First, notice that Peter uses the words prowl and roar. The devil is a noise maker. He wants to intimidate and scare you into backing down. He wants us on the run, but Peter says to be sober minded, not fearful. How does the enemy devour? By shaking our faith. And many times he will do this with persecution. If he can keep us fearful of what we will lose in this life, he can easily devour our faith in God.
The other part of this is when it says he prowls around looking for someone to devour.
He is looking for the opportunity to devour and destroy a weak Christian. Someone who is not watching, not waiting, who is fearful. Don’t be his prey.
Jesus told us in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” There is only one way the enemy knows: that is theft. He only knows deceit.
Notice the complete and total annihilation in this verse … steal, kill, destroy. This is not a metaphor. There is not only physical death, but there is spiritual death. There is not only physical battles but there are spiritual battles.
Paul told us in 1 Cor 11:14 that the enemy disguises himself as an angel of light.
Jesus told us he is a liar and has been a liar from the beginning.
John 8:44 tells us he was a murderer from the beginning.
2 Cor 4:4 tells us he’s the god of this world.
Eph 2:2 says he is the prince of the power of the air.
The devil is not passive in his approach.
He is aggressive and he is always at work. He knows his time is limited and God has given him authority over the world .. and because the authority has been given by God, that means his power his limited.
For that reason, we must remember that we are all in a spiritual battle. Even those who don’t know they’re in one because they don’t recognize the fact that there is a spiritual realm because they only focus on what the eye can see.
So I wanted to remind you of what we’re up against. I don’t say that to scare you or to discourage you because let me also remind you … the enemy has been defeated. But sometimes we can say that and bow out of the fight because we think since he has been defeated we can be passive in our Christian walk. That’s just not true. God has defeated our enemy and He has given us the means to defeat him but the enemy, while on his way to eternal torment, is trying to take as many with him as he can.
So, if you do not have the armor of God, you are not armed. You are a naked soldier on the battlefield (because we’re all at war), you just don’t have any weapons.
What is the armor of God and how do we “wear it”?
I went through the armor and studied each one and really tried to make this understandable and applicable. Bible study is more than reading passages. It’s evaluating who the intended audience was, the time it was written, what the text says because it uses figurative language and then understanding and applying it.
Application is always last because you can’t apply what you don’t know.
This passage begins in Ephesians 6. It is the last chapter in Ephesians, but remember, the Bible was written with chapters and verses. They were placed there to help people navigate through it quicker and easier, but that also brings with it a responsibly to ensure we read it as it was intended to be read.
Paul is finishing up his exhortation with instructions for the church in Ephesus. If you go back to Acts 19, you’ll see that Ephesus was a place where a lot of witchcraft took place. Paul performed awesome miracles by the Holy Spirit in Ephesus and many from the town came and threw their books of magic into the fire to be burned.
The Ephesians had to be reminded that they did not wrestle against flesh and blood and that is what Paul intended to remind them of in this final chapter.
Paul begins with the purpose of the armor: So that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
Understand that the posture of a Christian is to stand. We are not to cower in fear. We are not to sit down on the job in passivity while others around us fight. Christians are not to lie down in laziness because we just don’t feel like engaging. We are to stand against the devil.
To some that may sound scary, but we’re not standing in our own strength. Remember that. Paul goes on to say how to stand.
Before he does that he breaks down who the enemy is like a general who goes to war informs his soldiers of the enemy they will face. He says in verse 12, “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 spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
If you don’t know your enemy, you can’t engage in the fight.
And if you’re not engaged in the fight, you’re going to be defeated. This isn’t a situation where if you don’t know your enemy then you’re not fighting the battle. That’s just not true.
Once Paul makes all of this clear, he goes back to the posture of the Christian. He says, “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.”
So far, we’ve already seen the word stand mentioned 3 times in 3 verses, and in verse 14, he starts with the word stand by saying “Stand firm then.”
Do you see here that the purpose of the armor of God is so that you will not be knocked off your feet or taken by surprise by the schemes of the enemy? The armor of God is preparation and protection from the attacks of the enemy.
So let’s get into the armor.
The first piece of the armor is kind of surprising. It’s the belt of truth. Now, I don’t know about you, but a belt doesn’t go on first when I get dressed. It usually goes on last and it’s an accessory … just something to match my shoes because I don’t like pants that don’t fit right. I’ll be tugging on them all day and it’s annoying.
But here we have the belt of truth mentioned first and there’s a reason for that. In first century Rome, the soldiers had to put their belts on first. Why? Because truth is the foundation of our very being. It is the foundation of our walk with God. I mentioned in my blog post titled “There’s a 75% Chance What You Believe May Have Nothing to do With Truth” that many people believe in things that have nothing to do with truth.
But truth … is defensive gear for the Christian. It is part of the armor that holds all of the other weapons, including the sword … linking truth with the word of God because His word is truth.
The belt of truth is defensive armor because it goes around your waist. It guards are innermost being against the lies of the enemy. Without the belt of truth, we are susceptible to false doctrine, deception and the lies of the enemy.
The next piece of armor is the breastplate of righteousness.
The breastplate covers the heart and is attached to the belt (another reason the belt goes on first with the soldiers armor). Our righteousness has nothing to do with ourselves. It is only because Jesus redeemed us and declared us righteous by His blood.
Each believer, at salvation, gets the breastplate of righteousness … however, it is attached to truth. So our belief and trust in God must be based on truth in order for our righteousness to be in Christ. Without truth, our righteousness is found, not in Christ, but in our own efforts, or our own attempt to get to God in some way.
Then we have the shoes for our feet which is the readiness of the gospel of peace.
When you put on shoes, it means you’re ready to go. I put on my tennis shoes when I get ready to workout. My husband puts on work boots when he’s ready for work. When we take off our shoes, it means we’re done for the day. It’s time to relax.
So here you have shoes for the readiness of the gospel. Remember, our posture as Christians is to stand. The shoes of the gospel of peace keep us balanced and firmly planted when the enemy tries to knock us off our feet by throwing fiery darts.
Remember … the armor is to help keep you standing against the schemes of the enemy. That’s the entire purpose of the armor. 2 Tim 4:2 says, “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season.” This means when it’s welcomed and when it’s not. When it’s accepted and when it’s rejected. No matter what the season of acceptance for the word of God, be ready at all times.
The shoes help us not only stand our ground, but to take the word of God with us wherever we go.
Next, we have the shield of faith.
During the first century, the Roman warriors shield was as large as a door and covered the solider from head to toe. We’re not talking about some tiny shield.
A shield provides protection. It’s the first barrier in the enemies attacks. All of us wrestle with doubt from time to time. And I’ve mentioned before that doubt accompanies faith. So don’t beat yourself up when you wrestle with doubt, but wrestle well.
Faith is synonymous with trust. It’s not blind. I’ve talked about his before. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen.” There is substance and evidence to the existence of the invisible God. We see that in creation, in intelligent design, in the knowledge of right and wrong.
How do we increase our faith? By the word. The Bible tells us faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.
Next, we have the helmet of salvation.
For the first century Roman soldier, the helmet went on last. It was the last piece of armor that the soldier grabbed before he was truly ready for battle.
The helmet is the helmet of salvation. It provides daily protection from our sin nature and helps protect our minds against the schemes of the enemy. I did a recent episode on transformation of the mind and mentioned the verse that says we now have the mind of Christ upon salvation.
The enemy will come and whisper things that make us question our salvation, and/or draw our attention to other things that can distract us in our walk with the Lord. With the helmet of salvation, remembering that we are saved and that our righteousness is in Christ, we can take every thought captive that raises itself against the knowledge of Christ.
In order to keep the helmet intact, we guard our minds with the word. We meditate on the word and place our thoughts on the things listed in Phil 4:8. I always say and I will continue to say, that thinking and guarding the mind is a very active and intentional part of our walk.
If you haven’t listened to the episode “How to control your thoughts so anxiety doesn’t control you”, I give some tips for how to do that.
And finally, we have the sword of the spirit.
The sword is the weapon of offense and defense. But as with any weapon, it must be used properly in order to be effective. So many people do not
- Read their bibles and if they do, they don’t know how to study
- They don’t know how to properly interpret what they read
Now, that’s not every Christian, of course. But let me drop this statistic again … 6% of Christians in America have a biblical worldview. That tells us something right there.
Got Questions, which is an amazing resource, says this, “God refers to His Word as a sword in Hebrews 4:12. Here the Word is described as living and active and sharper than a double-edged sword. The Roman sword was commonly made in this manner. The fact that it had two edges made it easier to penetrate, as well as to cut in every way. The idea is that of piercing, or penetrating; the Word of God reaches the “heart,” the very center of action, and lays open the motives and feelings of those it touches.”
The enemy doesn’t care about our feelings, our experiences, our education, or any other word that comes out of our mouths. All of those things can be challenged. But he knows the word of God is the truth and truth defeats lies. That’s why he cannot stand against the word of God, which is the sword of the Spirit.
I want to encourage out as we close this out that when you look around, as discouraging as the world can be, the battle is not in flesh and blood. You can do something about it by praying, knowing truth, guarding your mind with the word, carrying your sword of the Spirit, and being prepared with the gospel of peace as you head out the door each day.
Don’t let anyone tell you that standing for truth or talking to others about God isn’t going to do any good. The devil wants us discouraged. He wants us out of the fight. But there isn’t an option for that.
I also don’t want to walk away from this episode without mentioning what Paul says at the end of this segment on the armor. Verse 18: “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”
We cannot stop praying.
Pray for our Canadian brothers and sisters who are on lockdown. Pray for the leaders of these nations to fear and honor God. Most of all, pray for boldness for you, for me, and for Christians who bear the name of Christ because we are His ambassadors.
Paul was in chains and asked for prayer to keep speaking. He gave his life for Christ but also knew that to live was to live for Christ and to die was to gain because He would be in His presence.
You have been enlisted into this battle as an ambassador. You’re on the winning side. But don’t be passive because the enemy is not. The gates of hell cannot prevail against the church. Strand your ground. We need your voice.
Also, if you are looking for a guest speaker for a women’s conference or to talk about the importance of defending the faith and what that entails, email me at email@example.com. I also speak on other topics and many of them are talked about on this podcast.
Have a great week and I’ll catch you on the next one!