“Finally, be strong in the LORD and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of GOD, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rules, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of GOD, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of GOD, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” – Ephesians 6: 10-18
Ephesians 6 is a difficult passage to read when attempting to understand what is occurring in the world. We are often reminded that everything is neutral and that there are interpretations that are not helpful to the harmony of groups or communities. Yet there are realities that exist that teach us that there are constant battles ongoing between believers and those that do not believe.
Why would Paul, formerly known as Saul, say these words even when he was part of those that were educated by scripture. He had to have known something either through revelation or through experience. He was one of those that attacked the Church of Christ and attempted to eradicate the preaching that he is now preaching. This is a complete change from the Saul of the previous years.
Paul is telling us to be ready to be active and not passive. Paul is not saying you can be neutral and everything will be alright. Paul is saying that there are schemes and battles to be fought only through the word of GOD. Paul allows us to understand that we are equipped to fight battles against our adversaries through the use of very specific tools and protective devices metaphorically. We know that an armor represents protection, we know that a belt signifies upholding, we know that a breastplate signifies covering our heart and upper body, we know that shoes signify steardy support for movement, and we know that a helmet is to protect our mind and brain. Why was Paul saying this like we are prepared to fight? We are to be prepared against the plots of our adversaries.
Jesus once stated that we love the GOD of Jacob because He loved us first. This is truth. We are infinitely and abundantly loved by GOD. Nothing that we do can take away His love for us as long as we are repentant and choose to follow His way. If we choose to forsake GOD, then GOD forsakes us. GOD has already stretched out his hand multiple times in the past with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and Moses, and Joshua, all the way to Jesus. He has made known to us the importance of following His steps. However, free will exists as well. That option of abandoning eternal salvation for carnal pleasures. And because of this we know that the world hated Jesus because Jesus is a visible representation of salvation. They hated Him without cause.
Therefore, we know that there is something occurring. There is salvation and hope or damnation and gloom. While the salvation and hope may be understandable, there is much that is ongoing that attempts to take away our hope. There are difficult instances and temptations that attempt to take this hope from us, but through the equipment given to us by GOD and described by Paul, we are able to stand firm in our faith.
The Whole Armor of GOD
a) Belt of Truth
b) Breastplate of Righteousness
c) Shoes of Readiness
d) Shield of Faith
e) Helmet of Salvation
f) Sword of the Spirit, Word of GOD