Stand as a Soldier
By Logan Lanier
The battle is here; the fight is upon us. We know who the enemy is; we know how he attacks. Now, we must suit up in the battle armor equipped to win the war. Yet, we cannot don just any armor because not just any armor is good enough. Only the whole armor of God is sufficient in spiritual warfare.
Paul describes this armor in Ephesians 6:14-17 as “loins girt about with truth and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.”
Putting on our armor daily gives us the strength and ability to stand against the many attacks of the devil. Once the armor is put on, it must be activated by prayer and supplication (Ephesian 6:11,18). Our power only comes from and is God’s power and communication and obedience to Him is the way to initiate it. We cannot simply put on one of the pieces of armor and expect to win; each piece is vital to victory, including prayer.
Looking at the first piece of armor discussed in Ephesians 6:14 “loins girt about with truth”, we see the foundational piece of our armor is truth. The phrase “loins girt about” translates to a fastening of a belt, the securing and equipping with knowledge of the truth. We fasten the belt of truth by learning more about the Truth (John 14:6). Growing in truth (II Peter 3:18) involves daily study of the word of God. Girding ourselves with truth involves consistently aligning our choices with God. The belt of truth provides balance to our mind, protection from the deception of our enemy, strength to our spiritual core, and stability for the breastplate of righteousness.
The Breastplate of Righteousness is held secure by the fastening on of Truth. Through the truth, we know that because of the righteousness of God, we can act in righteousness. The intended purpose of the breastplate of armor is to protect the heart of the soldier. Righteousness is simply defined as right living; practical righteousness is found through the intentional application of truth to each decision we make. In other words, the breastplate is put on when we act in righteousness through our obedience. Through this intention and diligence, we put on the new man draw closer in fellowship with the true Holy One (Ephesians 4:22-24). This is where we find protection and safety.
“And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace”. The first two pieces of armor, truth and righteousness, are easily connected to the core of the soldier’s body. Paul then describes the third piece of armor as one intended for your feet. In basic terminology, the command is to stand wearing the shoes of peace. Your image here may differ depending on what kind of shoes come to mind. The shoes spoken of are that of a Roman soldier; these shoes were created for stability, protection, and anchoring the soldier. They were designed to anchor the soldier to the ground regardless of its layout. The spiritual component attached to these shoes is peace. The tranquility and rest found only in Jesus (John 14:27) is our anchor. Peace allows us to be anchored and stable during turmoil. When we put on the shoes of the gospel of peace, we can stand firm in the fight. How then do we put on these shoes? Scripture tells us that peace is activated by trusting in God (Isaiah 26:3), keeping our mind on Him, submitting to the Holy Spirit, and giving thanks (Philippians 3:6-7). Trust in God activates thankfulness which activates peace. In spiritual warfare, peace keeps us stable and still in the presence of God.
The next piece of armor comes with a command to “take” for the intention to “quench all the fiery darts of the wicked”. The previous pieces of armor were items to put on and the shield of faith is something to take up, to hold onto. Faith is protection that quenches the direct attacks from the enemy; it is action driven by knowing that what God says is true. Trusting the truth and goodness of God’s character is the framework needed for faith to thrive (Proverbs 30:5). Because we trust God, we take those steps of faith needed to snuff out each of the darts trying to attack us. Without works, faith is dead (James 2:18). Without taking up the shield of faith, we will be injured by the fiery darts. Take up the shield of faith through acts of obedience knowing that God is good, and His promises are true.
No armor would be complete without the final two pieces. Every soldier needs a helmet. Going into battle without a helmet means certain failure and death. The helmet’s most obvious purpose is to protect our mind; it also grants security that shields us from paralyzing fear. The price for helmet of salvation we wear has been paid in full (Ephesians 2:8-9). Because of the goodness of God, we are chosen and adopted to His family. When we put on the helmet, we put on the identity given to us by God and we can take the thoughts captive that attempt to deceive us otherwise (II Corinthians 10:4-5). We are chosen (I Peter 2:9), adopted (Ephesians 1:5), created intentionally (Psalm 139:14), and His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10) among many other identifying characteristics. We wear the helmet of salvation by owning our real identity.
The last piece of battle armor is the mighty weapon, the sword of the Spirit, the word of God. For spiritual warfare, what better weapon could we ask for. The scriptures are powerful and “sharper than any two-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12). In our warfare, we rely on the truth and power of God’s word to guide, direct, instruct, and lead us through every day (Psalm 32:8). We can trust the word of God to be our weapon because it is “given by inspiration of God” and it is “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (II Timothy 3:16-17). The word of God has authority; this weapon we yield in battle is trustworthy. With its authority, the word edifies and so the soldiers of God “may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” Not only is it trustworthy, but it is also effective and precise in its purposes and goals. The weapon of our warfare is authoritative and trustworthy and more powerful than any attacking weapon we might find ourselves fighting against.
With the armor of God fully in place, we stand ready. As a soldier prepared for battle, we are fully equipped with the truth, righteousness, faith, peace, salvation, and the Word of God. The battle is here, and the fight is upon us. Stand as a soldier of Christ, strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.