Source: Bill Bellican
It is important to have a firm grasp of what it means to appropriate the spiritual armor provided by God. To help with this understanding, the following information is taken from notes adapted from The MacArthur Study Bible (Eph. 6:10-18). A brief devotional prayer follows this information that can be used as a daily reminder and conversation with God about putting on the armor of God.
First, we will consider biblical interpretation adapted from commentary on Ephesians 6:10-18:
A true believer having a Spirit-controlled life can be sure to be in a spiritual war. Paul closes the letter to the Ephesians with both warning about that war and instructions on how to win it. The Lord provides His saints with sufficient armor to combat and thwart the adversary.
Ultimately, Satan’s power over Christians is already broken, and the war is won through the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ that conquered the power of sin and death. However, in life on earth, battles of temptation go on regularly. The Lord’s power, the strength of His Spirit, and the force of biblical truth are required for victory.
The armor should be the Christian’s sustained life-long attire. This spiritual defense is necessary if one is to hold his position while under attack. Satan’s deception and schemes are propagated through the evil world system over which he rules, and are carried out by his demon hosts. Satan wants us to distrust God, forsake obedience, have doctrinal confusion, falsehood, be hindered in service, be divided, serve in the flesh, live hypocritically, be worldly, and reject biblical obedience in any way. Wrestling with Satan and his hosts involves their use of trickery and deception. Coping with deceptive temptation requires truth and righteousness.
Paul emphasized the necessity of the Christian appropriating God’s full spiritual armor by obedience in taking it up or putting it on. Standing firm against the enemy without wavering or falling is the goal.
The pieces of this armor include the:
Belt – The belt helps to pull together all the loose ends prior to battle. In this sense, the belt pulls together any spiritual loose ends (i.e., hypocrisy, lack of devotion) through truth. This tucks away anything that hinders victory.
Breastplate – As a symbol of righteousness and holiness, this is the Christian’s chief protection against Satan and his schemes. As believers faithfully live in obedience to and in communion with Jesus Christ, His own righteousness produces in them the practical, daily righteousness that becomes their spiritual breastplate. Lack of holiness leaves them vulnerable to Satan.
Sandals – This footgear pertains to the confidence of divine support that allows the believer to stand firm, to know that he is at peace with God, and to understand that God is his strength.
Shield – The shield speaks to basic trust in God. The believer’s continual trust in God’s word and promise is necessary to protect him from temptations to every sort of sin. All sin comes when the victim falls to Satan’s lies and promises of pleasure, rejecting the better choice of obedience and blessing.
Helmet – Satan seeks to destroy a believer’s assurance of salvation with his weapons of doubt and discouragement. Although a Christian’s feelings about his salvation may be seriously damaged by Satan-inspired doubt, his salvation itself is eternally protected and he need not fear its loss. Satan wants to curse the believer with doubts, but the Christian can be strong in God’s promises of eternal salvation.
Sword – As the sword was the soldier’s only weapon, so God’s Word is the only needed weapon, infinitely more powerful than any of Satan’s. It is used both defensively to fend off Satan’s attacks, and offensively to help destroy the enemy’s strategies. It is the truth of Scripture.
Second, the following prayer regarding putting on the spiritual armor was adapted from online devotional material by Charles Stanley (April 28-29, 2007 entry):
Praying On The Armor of God
Prepare yourself for each day’s spiritual challenges by making the following prayer part of your morning routine:
Dear Lord, as I get out of bed today, I know I’m stepping onto a battlefield. But I also know You’ve given me everything I need to stand firm. So in the power of Your Holy Spirit, I put on the armor of God:
First, I place the helmet of salvation on my head. Protect my mind and imagination. Guard my eyes, allowing no sin to creep in. Focus my thoughts on the things of God.
Let the breastplate of righteousness keep my heart and emotions safe. I pray that I won’t be governed by my feelings, but by truth.
Wrap Your Word around me like a belt. And safeguard me from error.
I put on the sandals of peace to guide my steps. Plant my feet in Your truth. Empower me to stand firm against attack.
Next, I take up the shield of faith. Protect me from Satan’s fiery arrows. Place me shoulder to shoulder with Your army to oppose the Devil’s schemes.
Finally, I take up the sword of the Spirit, Your Word. Help me to read the Bible in a fresh, exciting way so I will always be ready to deflect attacks and pierce hearts with Your truth.
I know I’ll face assaults today, Lord. But You’ve empowered me to stand firm. Give me strength for the battle today.