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Be Armed and Ready!

Putting on the Whole Armor of God

Rebekah L Holt

“Is not our life a warfare? It is so; for we struggle with the common calamities of human life.  Is not our religion much more than warfare? It is so; for we struggle with the opposition of the powers of darkness, and with many enemies that would keep us from God and heaven.  We have enemies to fight against, a Captain to fight for, a Banner to fight under, and certain rules of war by which we are to govern ourselves.” Matthew Henry

Equipped for the Battle of Life –

To face the battle of life—the Lord has provided us with armor that is 100% impenetrable, bullet proof—spiritually speaking!

Ephesians 6: 10-18 is the familiar passage outlining the armor of God:

“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Stand therefore, having your 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:  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”

The WHOLE armor includes:

Centurio legXXXPhoto by Fabryb13A Girdle/Belt of Truth –

TO “gird” [or girdle] up the loins” is a common expression in the KJV for putting one’s self in readiness for any service that might be required…The girdle was a symbol of strength, activity, and power… This often referred to the skirt of a robe being tucked into a belt at the waist for freedom in motion.  Likewise, to gird one’s loins in battle was to protect vital organs and provide a useful utility belt that other articles could be hung on.

In a spiritual sense, truth is a foundation for Christianity.  Without being girt about with truth, we leave ourselves dangerously exposed for compromise and deception; our potential for effectively defending our Christianity is thus handicapped.  Mixing false ideologies (e.g. evolution, etc.) and heresies (e.g. theistic evolution, prosperity doctrine, etc.) limits the spiritual and intellectual2 freedom that our Savior desires us to engage in.  John 8:28“You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”

“It was prophesied of Christ (Is. 11:5) that righteousness should be the girdle of His loins and faithfulness the girdle of His reins.  That which Christ was girded with, all Christians must be girded with.  God desires truth…  This is the strength of our loins; and it girds on all other pieces of our armour, and therefore is first mentioned.”3


In the book of Psalms, truth is also said to be our shield and buckler—a method of defense (Ps. 91:4).   Scripture reveals that the wicked are not valiant for truth (Jer. 9:3), instead, they resist (2 Tim. 3:8) and turn away from it (2 Tim. 4:4).  Those who are devoid of truth are likened to the devil who “abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him.  When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar and the father of it” (Jn. 8:44). 

It is sobering to consider the words of Christ, “He that is not with me is against me…" (Mt. 12:30). Those who choose not to believe what God has revealed in His Son (Jesus Christ), His written Word (the Bible) and His natural revelation (a created world) are rejecting the truth.  They are without excuse (Ro. 1:20). 

Like many people today, Pilate asked, “What is truth4?” when the answer was standing before him.

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (Jn. 14:6).

 Breastplate of Righteousness –

472px-Zbroja BatoregoZbroja Batorego“Righteousness must be our breast plate. The breast-plate secures the vitals, shelters the heart…5 Righteousness is His coat of arms…and it is called the armour of God, because He wore it first and so fitted it for us.6

Righteousness is defined as “acting in accord with divine or moral law:  free from guilt or sin; morally right or justifiable.7

Righteousness is a way of living out a lifestyle based in Christ’s example and a foundation in God’s law that shields our hearts from erring in sin. According to Christ, out of an evil, degenerate heart proceeds sin (Mt. 15:16, 18-20; Mt. 12: 35). “All unrighteousness is sin” (1 Jn. 5:17).

Christ Himself “engaged His own strength and righteousness8 to save us from the clutches of sin.  “There is none righteous, no, not one; …He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor, therefore, His arm brought salvation unto Him, and His righteousness, it sustained Him; For He put on righteousness as a breastplate…” (Ro. 3:10; Is. 59:16-17).

As Christians, we are to be imitators of God as Christ was (Ep. 5:1). The Lord loves righteousness (Ps. 45:7).  His attribute is righteousness (Ps. 145:17). His “right hand is full of righteousness” (Ps. 48:10). His name is “The Lord Our Righteousness” (1 Jn. 2:29). The Lord is the Source of Righteousness (Phil. 3:9).      

So what are a few benefits for those who are righteous?  They will enjoy the fruits of righteousness (Phil. 1:11). They are “delivered out of trouble” (Pr. 11:8).  Their hope “shall be gladness” (Pr. 10:28). Their labor will tend to life (Pr. 10:16). Their prayers are heard of the Lord (Pr. 15:29). The righteous shall receive eternal life (Mt. 25:46).

 Feed Shod with the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace –

800px-Caligae from sideCaligaeThough seemingly insignificant, foot protection is essential in navigating a path of debris and guarding one’s health.  Without the use of one’s feet, a soldier is vulnerable and open prey, lagging behind in the march.   Having one’s feet shod is to be prepared for treading upon otherwise, crippling terrain.  It is the support—the foundation—that our entire body depends upon for unfettered ambulation.  Likewise, the gospel of peace—the message of Christ—prepares our lives for action, protects us from being crippled by sin and allows us to stride forward in the march of life.

“The preparation of the gospel signifies a prepared and resolved frame of heart, to adhere to the gospel and abide by it, which will enable us to walk with a steady pace in the way of religion, notwithstanding the difficulties and dangers that may be in it.”9


Christ’s words brought peace “These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace” (Jn. 16:33).  We find that peace comes from loving God’s law: “Great peace have they which love Thy law: and nothing shall offend them” (Ps. 119: 165). “The work of righteousness shall be peace” (Is. 32:17).  Perfect peace comes to those “whose mind is stayed” on the Lord (Is. 26:3).  Christians are exhorted to “follow after peace” (He. 12:14).  The next generation being instructed in the ways of the Lord holds a promise: “great shall be the peace of thy children” (Is. 54:13).

Shield of Faith –

“Faith must be our shield…This is more necessary than any of them.  Faith is all in all to us in an hour of temptation.  The breast-plate secures the vitals, but with the shield we turn every way…”10

 166px-Shields.-david-fieldsjpgPhoto by David Friel

In our text, we are exhorted to take “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” We find the shield can be held at all angles to block the darts as we press on forward into the fray or stand our ground.

Scripture tells us that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (He. 11:1).  We are to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7).   As Christians, we are justified and saved by faith in Jesus Christ (Mk. 16:16; Ro. 5:1; Ep. 2:8) “the Author and Finisher of our faith” (He. 12:2).  A Christian’s Faith is believing, trusting, being fully persuaded and living in expectation of the sovereignty of God and salvation through Christ (2 Ti. 1:12; Jn. 5:24). It only takes a small portion of faith to get started (Lu. 17:6)—faith in a real Christian continues to grow (2 Th. 1:3).  When we approach the Lord in prayer, we are to “ask in faith, nothing wavering” (James 1:6).

The trying of our faith brings a forth “patience” (James 1:3) and a spiritual harvest (Gal. 5:22). “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls” (1 Pe. 1: 7-9).

We are exhorted to “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Ti. 6:12) and to “continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel” (Col. 1:23). 

Let us be as the apostles and ask the Lord to “Increase our faith” (Lu. 17:5).

 Helmet of Salvation –

Greek - Corinthian Helmet - Walters 542304 - Three Quarter 295x350Greek Corinthian Helmet“But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation.  For God hat not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Th. 5:8-9).


“The helmet secures the head. A good hope of salvation, well founded and well built, will both purify the soul and keep it from being defiled by Satan, and it will comfort the soul and keep it from being troubled and tormented by Satan.  He would tempt us to despair; but good hope keeps us trusting in God, and rejoicing in Him.”11


For generations, mankind has utilized numerous styles of head protection.  Today, a helmet is designed in various shapes to meet standards specific to deflect and absorb dangerous force. God provides Christians with a helmet of protection suitable to withstand any threat to our “head”—the portal of our spiritual minds, intellect and soul—Salvation in Jesus Christ.  

“In Is. 59:17 Jehovah is represented as arming Himself for the defense of man, and among other articles He puts on is “a helmet of salvation,” seeming to teach that salvation is the crowning act of God.”12


Korona sredzkaKorona SredzkaChrist brought this “crowning act of God” in humility by His stepping into His creation as a man--“He is become my salvation” (Ex. 15:2). “For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people” (He. 2:16-17; Read He. 2:9-18).

In order to put on the helmet of Salvation, each of us must recognize our need for redemption from sin, yearn for reconciliation with God and “put on” Christ through confession, profession and belief (Ro. 10:9-11).  Salvation comes only through Jesus Christ (Jn. 14:6; 2 Co. 5:18).  Christ is “the Author of eternal salvation unto them that obey Him” (He. 5:9).

Salvation cannot be earned, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ep. 2:8-9).  Yet, Christ would have us come to Him as willing, faithful individuals as no one else can make the decision for us to trust and obey Him“…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Ep. 2:12-13).

“Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord…Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Ti. 1:8-10).

 Sword of the Spirit – The Word of God –

412px-Sword of st.FerdinandSword of St.Ferdinand“The word of God is very necessary, and of great use to the Christian, in order to his maintaining the spiritual warfare and succeeding in it…Scripture arguments are the most powerful arguments to repel temptation with. Christ Himself resisted Satan’s temptations with, It is written” (Mt. 4: 4,6-10).13


“The word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (He. 4:12).


Christians are not left without a weapon to cut through what threatens our lives.  Scripture rings true that God supplies all our needs (Phil. 4:19)—and in this life we NEED a means of defending ourselves (2 Co. 10:4).  A doubled edged sword cleaves the opponent no matter what direction it is thrust—an effective defense when armed with strength, skill and a determination not to flinch or retreat.  

The Word of God is a defense that can never be destructed or overcome.  It is the Living Word that endures forever (1 Pe. 1:25)!  Regardless of godless men and the devil’s attempts, God’s word remains untarnished, fixed, sure and will continue to remain to all generations (2 Pe. 1:19; Ps. 100:5; Is.40:8).  “The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure” (Ps. 111:7). What God establishes cannot be destructed (Ro. 11:29).  His Word preexisted mankind’s creation and is made manifest by the life of Christ—Jesus Christ is the Word made flesh (Jn. 1:1, 14).  Christ was before all things and has put all things under His feet (1 Co. 15:27).  

God’s Word is a treasure to be hidden within our hearts enabling us not to sin against Him (Ps. 119:11). When God speaks—even the wind and the seas obey Him (Mark 4:35-41).  His word does not return void (Is. 55:10).  He provides us with benefits and a security of gaining a return when His Word is applied to our lives (1 Ti. 6:17).  God cannot lie and must remain true to His promises (Ro. 15:4; Nu. 23:19; Ro. 6:18).    

“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.  The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing t

he heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.  The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much find gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.  Moreover by them is Thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward” (Ps. 19: 7-11).

Prayer and Supplication in the Spirit –

“Prayer does not mean that I am to bring God down to my thoughts and my purposes, and bend His government according to my foolish, silly, and sometimes sinful notions. Prayer means that I am to be raised up into feeling, into union and design with Him; that I am to enter into His counsel 

and carry out His purpose fully...Some people think God does not like to be troubled with our constant coming and asking. The way to trouble God is not to come at all.” D.L. Moody


398px-Messkirch Epitaph Wilhelm von Zimmern 03 Wilhelm von Zimmern

Prayer and supplication is often overlooked as part of a Christian’s armor. Prayer is being in communication with God.  It provides us the marching orders, reassurance and relief in conferring the situation with our Superior Officer.  Prayer is a communicative expression of our recognizing our dependence on God that gets us prepared to see God at work.  God does not “need to be enlightened” to our needs (in His sovereignty, He always knows what we will ask before we do- Mt. 6:8). “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear” (Is. 65:24).  Prayer brings us into a working relationship with the Lord and He does want us to reach out to Him with our needs.  Supplication is defined as asking or begging for something in earnest humility.  The Lord wants us to recognize our dependence on Him and to come before Him without ceasing (1 Th. 5:17).  The prayers of the saints are precious in the sight of God.  They are likened as a fragrant sacrifice (Rev. 5:8).  

We are to pray:
    • By seeking the Lord continually (1 Chr. 16:11)
    • Through abiding in Him (Jn. 15:7)
    • With thanksgiving (Acts 27:35)
    • By asking, that it may be given; by seeking, that we might find; and by knocking that the Door may be opened– Stay at it! (Mt. 7:7)
    • Asking that we may receive and our joy may be full (Jn. 16:24)
    • Without ceasing (1 Th. 5:17)
    • When afflicted (James 5:13)
    • Always and not to faint (Lu. 18:1)
    • Watchfully, for the spirit is willing and the flesh is weak (Mt. 26:41)
Promises to those who pray:
    • Answers and insight:  “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jer. 33:3).
    • Deliverance: “He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him” (Ps. 91:15).

If we are without knowledge of how or what to pray about, even there the Lord provides us aid.  “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Ro. 8:26).

“Keep praying in order to get a perfect understanding of God Himself.” Oswald Chambers

Remember: “…No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly” (Ps. 84:11).

Watching with Perseverance and Supplication for all Saints –

Nehemiah 4knight-arthur-smith5Photo Courtesy of Arthur Smith illustrates a watchful, ready people that were prepared to meet their adversaries who desired to hinder the work of rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls.  Nehemiah’s preparations of arming the Israelites allowed the small remnant to continue their work while remaining guarded in cause of assault.  Their watchful preparation deflected their enemies’ advance—though armed and ready, there was no physical battle.

God knows the human limitations for being engaged in tough warfare.  In His mercy, He does provide us with times of rest.  Yet, in order to win the battle, it is just as important to persevere in watching for potential threats and abiding in Christ as it is to be armed and ready.

Watch is defined as looking and observe intently with expectation, to exercise caution, to be guarded, careful, and protective, follow closely, be alert and maintain an interest in.Once a soldier is all suited up, he is not constantly fighting in hand-to-hand combat.   

Perseverance is “steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.”

Jesus Christ gives us instruction to be watchful and to pray while providing us the reasons:
  • “Watch and pray” for we know not when the earth will pass away and Christ will return again (Read Mk. 13:31-37). 
  • “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mk. 14:38). 
  • “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Lu. 21:36).

The Apostle Paul urged the Christians at Ephesus to “watch and remember” his three years’ worth of warnings against false teachers who were “speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:28-31).  To the Corinthians, he exhorted, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong” (1 Co. 16:13). 

The New Testament maintains in teaching believers:
  • “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving” (Col. 4:2).
  •  “Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober” (1 Th. 5:6).
  • “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry” (2 Ti. 4:5).
  • “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer” (1 Pe. 4:7).

In Revelations, Christ warns us to be “be watchful” and to “strengthen the things which remain”. “Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you” (Rev. 3:2-3; Read Rev. 16:15).  

 Again, we find that we are instructed to pray with supplication—a begging, humble earnest request.  A second emphasis is placed on supplication in the Ephesians 6 text, yet this time with watchful, steadfast, enduring effort for the sake of all Christian brethren (not just ourselves). 

576px-Jean-François Millet II 001Art by Jean-François Millet IIPraying always - It would be well for the soldier who goes forth to battle to pray - to pray for victory; or to pray that he may be prepared for death, should he fall. But soldiers do not often feel the necessity of this. To the Christian soldier, however, it is indispensable. Prayer crowns all lawful efforts with success and gives a victory when nothing else would. No matter how complete the armor; no matter how skilled we may be in the science of war; no matter how courageous we may be, we may be certain that without prayer we shall be defeated. God alone can give the victory; and when the Christian soldier goes forth armed completely for the spiritual conflict, if he looks to God by prayer, he may be sure of a triumph. This prayer is not to be intermitted. It is to be always. In every temptation and spiritual conflict we are to pray…

With all prayer and supplication - With all kinds of prayer; prayer in the closet, the family, the social meeting, the great assembly; prayer at the usual hours, prayer when we are specially tempted, and when we feel just like praying, prayer in the form of supplication for ourselves, and in the form of intercession for others. This is, after all, the great weapon of our spiritual armor, and by this we may hope to prevail.14



Prepared for the Work of the Lord –800px-Roman Infantry 1.jpg-david-frielPhoto by David Friel

Wearing God’s armor is vital to our survival as Christians.  Created with a free-choice, it is sobering to consider that we can reject to wear or rely on the protection God offers us unreservedly.    Putting on His armor requires an active willingness. We would consider a modern day soldier suicidal to venture into war unprepared, lacking skills, discipline, or training for combat.  However, has it been considered that we too must be spiritually prepared, submitted to our Commander Christ that He might teach us His ways?

Following our Savior’s footprints is a march that will take one foot in front of the other for a lifetime.  Christ has set us an example, cut a path for us to follow, recorded His Word, the Bible, as a Map and Compass, and freely offers us the armor He wore and tested for protection.  However, there is effort required.  As the receivers of the free gift of Salvation, we Christians hold a responsibility to pursue His pathways faithfully, to read His Map, to be guided by His Compass and to put on His protective gear that permits the Holy Spirit to work in our hearts so we may be righteously armed and ready.  

 Good Christians, do your part—abide in Christ Jesus where there is complete provision, total protection and true victory! 

1. Unger, Merrill F., et. al., The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, 1988, p. 477  Back to text

2. Often, true emotional and physical freedom is also restricted by not truly embracing the whole truth of Christianity! Back to text

3. Henry, Matthew, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, Ephesians 6: 10-18 Back to text

4. John 18:38 Back to text

5. Ref. 3  Back to text

6. Henry, Matthew, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, Isaiah 59:16-21  Back to text

7. Merrium-Webster Dictionary website, visited 9/12/13  Back to text

8. Ref. 7 Back to text

9. Ref. 3  Back to text

10. Ref. 3  Back to text

11. Ref. 3  Back to text

12. Ref.1, p. 106  Back to text

13. Ref. 3  Back to text

14. Barnes, Albert, Notes on the Bible, (1834), http://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/cmt/barnes/eph006.htm, 2/2/14  Back to text