The Armor of God, found in Ephesians 6:10-17, is made up of the following six items:
The Belt of Truth, the Breastplate of Righteousness, the Shoes of the Gospel, the Shield of Faith, the Helmet of Salvation and the Sword of the Spirit.
I will start with the Belt of Truth but first let's look at the scripture.
The Armor of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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 the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 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. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
The Belt of Truth
“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,” (Ephesians 6:14).
Every other piece of the full armor of God is attached to the belt of truth. If you don’t begin with truth, you’ll never defeat the enemy. A soldier is only ready for battle when he is girded with his belt. A Roman soldier’s belt was made of metal and thick heavy leather and was the carrying place for his sword. It also had a protective piece that hung down in the front. His belt held all other pieces of his armor together. To be fitted with his belt, meant he was ready to face action.
Truth is the belt that holds the believers’ armor together as well. Ultimate Truth can be found in God’s Word and in the person of Jesus Christ.
Breastplate of Righteousness
..with the breastplate of righteousness in place. (Ephesians 6:14).
The breastplate of righteousness is part of the Armor of God.
The breastplate was a central part of the Roman soldier's armor—it provided protection for the torso, which contains vital organs like the heart and lungs. Without a breastplate, a soldier would be asking for death, as any attack could instantly become fatal. With a sturdy breastplate, the very same attacks become ineffective and useless, as blows glance off the armor.
We are instructed to “put on” this armor, which implies that we do not automatically wear it all the time. Putting on the armor of God requires a decision on our part. To put on the breastplate of righteousness, we must first have the belt of truth firmly in place. Without truth, our righteousness will be based upon our own attempts to impress God.
As we wear Christ’s breastplate of righteousness, we begin to develop a purity of heart that translates into actions. Wearing this breastplate creates a lifestyle of putting into practice what we believe in our hearts.
We are righteous not because of anything we can do, but through Christ and his perfect and complete work. He took our sin and thus imparted his righteousness onto us through his crucifixion and resurrection. So, righteousness begins and ends with God. It is not something we can muster up ourselves.
The Shoes of the Gospel of Peace
"As shoes for your feet, prepare yourselves with the gospel of peace."(Ephesians 6:14).
Paul wrote about “having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15).
Shoes, like the belt, may initially seem superfluous in a discussion about spiritual armor.
During the time of the apostle Paul, the shoes worn by the soldiers of the Roman Empire were called caligae. They were specifically designed to keep soldiers’ feet healthy during the rigors of long forced marches and were very different from the sandals worn by most of the populace. The shoes were constructed from three layers of leather, which were pulled up and laced around the ankle. A soldier’s shoes formed the foundation of his armament. They needed solid footing in order to concentrate on the battle at hand.
The sandals of the Roman soldier often were fitted with nails, or armed with spikes, to make the hold firm in the ground. What we wear on our feet determines our stability, and our mobility. An army may march on its stomach but it also marches on its feet. That is why care of one’s feet, and one’s footwear is a priority for a soldier.
Stand firmly for the truth. The gospel of peace prepares us to be ready to deal with what life throws at us. If we are clothed with the gospel of peace, we are ready for what life may bring.
The message of Christ is good news, it is a gospel of peace because it truly reveals how people can be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ (2Corinthians 5:17-19).
We as soldiers of Jesus Christ should march together in our gospel shoes. However, our mission is not to punish or destroy. It is to make the kingdom of God glorious and to spread the doctrine of that kingdom everywhere.
The Shield of Faith
"In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one." (Ephesians 6:16)
Up until now, Paul's description of the armor of God has been limited to items we wear. We put on the belt, the breastplate and the shoes, and they essentially hold themselves up.
The shield is different. Paul tells us that the shield is something we must take up, something we are required to raise. Just strapping it to our arm won't do any good at all if we don't make the effort to hold it aloft and use it.
Hebrews 11:6 teaches us that “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Faith is taking God at His word and acting on it!
Roman shields, depending on the type, could protect a good portion of the body. Especially in the Roman phalanx and legion formation, a soldier could protect most parts of his body with his shield (with the exception of the lower legs and feet). The Roman shield, or scutum, was a central part of the soldier’s defense. The scutum of the first century was rectangular in shape and rounded on the ends. It was typically made from two sheets of wood that were glued together, then covered with canvas and leather. The canvas and leather could be doused with water to protect against flaming arrows. Clearly, a shield is vitally important to a soldier. The shield of faith, likewise, covers our most vulnerable spots: especially our heart. This heavy shield can withstand the impact of fiery blows from the devil.
Faith is an unshakable belief in the promises of God. Though it is based on solid evidence, that doesn't mean faith comes naturally or easily. Faith can not only protect us from the blows of the devil. It can help us push back against him. Faith involves a huge element of trust. We must examine the evidence and see that God has proved Himself to be unchanging and consistent, and then we must firmly believe that He will fulfill His promises to us. All believers have this promise: “Everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith” (1John 5:4). Faith is a protective barrier between us and the schemes of Satan. When we believe God and take Him at His word, we remain grounded in truth, the lies of the enemy lose their power, and we become over comers. In that way, faith is our shield.
We need to take up the shield of faith in every circumstance. If we drop it for any reason, we leave ourselves very vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks. The shield of faith comes from God alone, and we need to ask him to arm us with it to help protect ourselves from the devil.
Helmet of Salvation
Ephesians 6:17 instructs us to put on the whole armor of God and to “take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
We are continuing to look at the Armor of God found in Ephesians 6. The next piece of armor, the helmet. Protecting your head is paramount. In warfare, the helmet and the sword are the last two pieces of armor a soldier would put on. The helmet, hot and uncomfortable, would only be put on when the soldier faced impending danger. In Roman times, the helmet had various shapes, but it generally was made of bronze fitted over an iron skull cap lined with leather or cloth. With his head protected, the soldier feels safe in the midst of a fierce battle. It was the final act of readiness in preparation for combat. A helmet was vital for survival, protecting the brain, the command station for the rest of the body. If the head was badly damaged, the rest of the armor would be of little use.
In battle, a soldier would be at a severe disadvantage without a helmet. In Roman times, the enemy would first attack a soldier’s head. Because the brain controls decision making and reaction time, they could gain an advantage if they were able to injure the soldier’s head and cause them to enter a state of confusion.
The devil operates similarly in your life. If you are confused or feel unstable in your relationship with God, then you are more vulnerable to his attacks.
For believers, the battlefield often takes place in the mind. Satan will fire assaults of doubts and try to make you believe lies. When we put on the helmet of salvation, it gives us the confidence and safety during attacks from the enemy. We need to protect our mind.
As we wear the helmet of salvation every day, our minds become more insulated against the suggestions, desires, and traps the enemy lays for us. We choose to guard our minds from excessive worldly influence and instead think on things that honor Christ. In doing so, we wear our salvation as a protective helmet that will “guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Jesus said, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). The idea in this verse is that, as we prepare for Satan’s attacks, we must grab that helmet and buckle it on tightly. Salvation is not limited to a one-time act of the past or even a future hope. God’s salvation is an ongoing, eternal state that His children enjoy in the present. It is daily protection and deliverance from our sin nature and Satan’s schemes.
God knows every thought you have ever had or will ever have. Sometimes your thoughts lead you away from God, and other times they draw you closer to Him. It’s always your choice. No one, including the enemy, can make you think anything. The helmet of salvation protects your mind from the attacks of the enemy and helps you live victoriously every day. The battle always begins in your mind before it becomes an action.
A helmet only protects your head; that’s why it’s essential to put on the entire armor of God. Your mind is protected by the assurance that God’s grace has saved you. You have the opportunity to put on the whole armor of God and rest in the hope of salvation that protects your mind and helps you live a godly life.
Salvation and eternal life are gifts God greatly desires to give to mankind: “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4).
The Sword Of The Spirit
...and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:17)
Christians may notice something interesting: every piece of armor (with the exception of one) is defensive. The defensive pieces help us block the blows of Satan.
We have only one offensive piece of armor, instead of defensive: the sword of the Spirit, or, the Word of the Lord (the Bible). All the pieces of the armor come from God, but this piece in particular is God himself, the Holy Spirit.
Both offensive and defensive in nature, a sword can protect a soldier against the blows of an enemy. Soldiers have to know how to properly wield a sword for maximum effect.
This is the great weapon placed in the hands of a believer. We have all read passages of Scripture when the words suddenly seemed to come alive, leap off of the page at us. Perhaps we have experienced this in some moment of temptation or doubt, when we were assailed by what Paul calls here the flaming arrows of the evil one (v. 16). But it has been answered immediately by a passage of Scripture that flashed to mind, something we had not been thinking of at all, but which supplied the needed answer. That is why this is called the sword of the Spirit, because it is not only originated by Him as the author of the Word, but it is also recalled to mind by the Spirit and made powerful by Him in our lives. It is His answer to the attack of the devil, who comes to discourage us, defeat us, lure us aside, deceive us, or mislead us in some way.
The sword is both an offensive and defensive weapon used by soldiers or warriors. In this case it is a weapon belonging to the Holy Spirit. Swords were used to protect oneself from harm or to attack the enemy to overcome or kill him. In both cases it was necessary for a soldier to get rigid training on the proper use of the sword to get maximum protection. All Christian soldiers need the same rigid training to know how to properly handle the Sword of the Spirit, “which is the word of God.” The sword that Paul refers to here is the Holy Scriptures. We know from 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that the word of God is from the Holy Spirit and written by men. Since every Christian is on the spiritual battle with the satanic and evil forces of this world, we need to know how to handle the Word properly. Only then will it be an effective defense against evil, but it will also be an offensive weapon we use to “demolish strongholds” of error and falsehood (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
The purpose of the sword of the Spirit, the Bible, is to make us strong and able to withstand the evil onslaughts of Satan, our enemy. The Holy Spirit uses the power of the Word to save souls and then to give them spiritual strength to be mature soldiers for the Lord in fighting this corrupt and evil world we live in. The more we know and understand the Word of God, the more useful we will be in doing the will of God and the more effective we will be in standing against the enemy of our souls.
The more we are exposed to Scripture, the more the Spirit can use this mighty sword in our lives. If you never read or study your Bible, you are terribly exposed to defeat and despair. You have no defense, you have nothing to put up against these forces that are at work. If we do not know the way our sword works, it will do us little good in battle.Therefore, read your Bible regularly.
1 Peter 3:15 calls us to be ready to give a reason for the hope that we have. But if we don’t have a solid knowledge of Scripture, we may not be able to give a proper explanation.
Video: SPIRITUAL WARFARE | Put on the Armor of God
Whether we realize it or not, we are in a spiritual battle. Although spiritual warfare is unseen, it’s absolutely real. The Bible speaks of spiritual warfare in many places. Our best defense in this war is to remain close to Jesus and constantly use what He has given us.