Workers in the oilfield are required to wear the proper PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) on location, and there are many different elements. You wouldn’t think of going out without your FR’s (Fire Retardant Clothing), steel toes, hard hat, safety glasses, gas monitor or gloves. The same is true of our Spiritual lives. Many people go out unprepared and not “wearing” the right gear.
A life of faith is not a walk in the park. Choosing to live differently than what the world calls normal will bring conflict into your life. A life of faith can be a battle. Some battles are big and some are small, but there’s something to be gained (and potentially something to lose) in every battle. If the Christian life was all about rainbows, potlucks, side-hugs and singing Kumbaya, then this passage of scripture wouldn’t be necessary. Because life is worth fighting for and living well, it’s important to know what you need to prepare and persevere through life’s difficulties and challenges. It’s time to get ARMED AND READY!
“…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.” (Ephesians, 6:19–20, ESV)
The influence of the Apostle Paul is incredible. Most of the New Testament was written by him, and the words he wrote are recited, spoken and thought about daily by thousands of people. If you would’ve met him, you likely would not have thought he was capable of such a strong legacy.
“…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…” (Ephesians 6:18, ESV)
The word “ALL” shows up again in this verse, and that lets us know the importance prayer has. Part of putting on God’s armor is the alertness that is required to use it properly. Prayer is key. We are to pray at all times, in all kinds of ways, with all perseverance for all people.
and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, (Ephesians 6:17, ESV)
Here towards the end of the passage we come to the Sword of the Spirit. Everything else we’ve put on to this point is for defense and protection. There’s only one weapon that we are called to put on, and that is the Sword of the Spirit – which is the Word of God. This isn’t the only place in the Bible that uses this kind of language.
“and take the helmet of salvation…” (Ephesians 6:17, ESV)
It’s interesting that here in the middle of the passage we get to the helmet. The helmet protects our head which is symbolic for our intellect and thinking. This is where we develop strategy. It would seem like we should talk about the helmet first, but in spiritual warfare, other things needed to come first. This is important for a few reasons.
“In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one…” (Ephesians 6:16, ESV)
Anytime the word “all” shows up in the Bible, it is important. If there’s something we need in literally every circumstance, that’s something we need to pay close attention to. In this case, we need the shield of faith in all circumstances.
“…and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.” (Ephesians 6:15, ESV)
It’s interesting that an important part of gearing up for battle is to pay attention to your feet. Roman soldiers had their feet fitted with intricate shoes that were built for stability and long marches. What good is the best armor in the world if your feet can’t take you into the action? We are learning here that fitted feet are an essential part of being armed for battle.
“Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness…” (Ephesians 6:14, ESV)
The next piece of armor we need to put on is the breastplate of righteousness. The breastplate was the piece of armor covering the chest to protect it from arrows and close-range blows. The breastplate protects the critical organs and allows the soldier to be protected in the midst of battle. This is a large piece of armor with incredible importance.
“Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth…” (Ephesians 6: 14)
Now that we have a good idea of what we’re up against, we can now look to the different things we put on to stand firm with God’s strength in us. By the end of this passage, we’ll be protected from head to foot. We will not be defenseless against the present darkness we are facing. We will be armed and ready!
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12, ESV)
Part of what we have to be prepared for is that we’re engaged in more than we can even see. Not only do we face challenges in the physical world, we also face challenges in the spiritual world.
“THOSE WHO STAND FOR NOTHING FALL FOR ANYTHING.” – ALEXANDER HAMILTON
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. (Ephesians 6:11, ESV)
Standing firm is a huge part of being strong (see previous day). It is significant in this verse that before taking a stand you have to make a choice. Taking a stand means being prepared to take a stand. This verse tells us that making a choice to put on what you need is the key to standing firm.