Put On the Full Armor of God
Have you ever faced a challenge and prayed you could stay in the spirit? Have you ever had a “panic attack” because a situation seemed out of your control? Have you ever wanted to change your state to a more resourceful one? Paul models a strategy for us in Ephesians that can do all the above and more. Using this scripture as a pattern came to me through divine guidance. I regularly use a circle of excellence in my daily life, and while researching scriptures for my book, I read Ephesians 6, and it just clicked in my mind, this is God’s circle of excellence!
Paul wrote Ephesians to increase the understanding and knowledge of the young church in Ephesus. Within the first Chapter he informs the Ephesians of God’s ultimate purpose: 1:9-10 “And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.” God’s ultimate purpose is to bring all things under Jesus.
Paul goes on to list several ways that we can move towards God’s highest goal. Paul ends his letter to the Ephesians with a metaphor giving directions on how to live their lives within an evil world to support God’s ultimate purpose. Notice that Paul clearly defines their being one enemy and that enemy is the Devil. The evil schemes of the Devil can attack us in many ways. We are not to run from the enemy, nor stand up to the attacks with our own strength; we are to stand in the Strength of the Lord.
Ephesians 6:10-11, 14-17 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes… Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."
Ephesus was a large Greek city and the readers of this Epistle would have been very familiar with the Armor Paul writes about. Paul uses the word Panoplia, which refers to the heavy armor worn by Greek soldiers. The armor often consisted of a breastplate, girdle, shield, helmet, gauntlets, boots, and a sword. The armor was not only defensive, but also offensive. Defensive armor was to defend from attacks of the enemy, and the offensive armor was to inflict damage upon the enemy.
We are not to use this armor to seek out the Devil, we are to “stand firm.” The attacks will come, that is inevitable, and we are to be prepared. This entire passage directs our attention to the necessity of knowing God’s word, the belt of truth, the readiness from the gospel, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. For without knowledge of scripture we are left to stand against the enemy with only our own strength. In his second letter to the Corinthians Paul tells us, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” (2 Cor 10:3-5) We are not to fight the enemy with manmade weapons; we are to use divine power, the Word. This demolishing of strongholds, if the stronghold is within us, is what Bobby Bodenhamer refers to as Bitter Roots (Hebrews 12:15), the places in us that the enemy occupies.
Greek heavy armor also has an interesting feature or lack thereof: it did not provide any protection for the back. The Greek soldier was forced to face him enemy, and would never consider turning away from the enemy because his back was exposed. We too should never turn our back on the enemy, when we stand and face him in the armor of God, he does not have power over us.
This pattern is effective for the direct attacks of the enemy, but it is also very valuable in everyday life. Imagine going through a challenging day, a job interview, a business meeting, or teaching a small group with the Armor of God on. How does that image differ from the last time you faced such a situation relying only on your own strength?
Choose a situation in which you may be challenged, attacked, or even might need to be proactive to accomplish a goal.
The Belt of Truth: The belt, the Word of God holds the
rest of the armor in place, we can have on the armor but without the Word,
the armor will not protect us. So what is the Biblical truth in this
situation, what specifically does the Bible tell us? Physically imagine
putting on a wide leather belt with the Word of God stamped on it. What
Scriptures will encourage you in this situation?
The Breastplate of Righteousness: Psalm 119:172
states, “For all your commandments are righteousness.” Ancient Christians
did not believe the mind was the center of their being. It is not
coincidence that most ancient readers considered the heart and vital organs
as the center of their being. Imagine putting on a metal breastplate
inscribed with all the Commandments of God. Create a visual image of your
breastplate with the ten commandments written on it. The breastplate is
primarily meant to protect the heart, and vital organs.
with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace:
The Scriptures give us firm footing to stand on, we do not lose our
footing because of our doubts, we do not trip because we are secure in the
word. We are also able to move where the Lord guides us. The NASB and King
James both use the word "preparation" in place of "readiness", meaning this
is something we must do in advance. When the enemy attacks, it is too late
to be looking to the gospel of peace. We must be prepared for such attacks
before they happen, we must already have our footing. What scriptures
ground you in the Word of God? What kind of boots represents this image for
you? Reach down and lace up those boots and feel how they ground you.
Imagine seeing those boots on your feet and physically bend over and lace up
up the shield of Faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the
flaming arrows of the evil one: The shield of the Greek soldier
varied in size and shape, but Paul uses the Greek word Thureos,
referring to a large 4’ by 2’ shield shaped like a door. These shields were
wooden, covered with leather, and often before a battle the leather was
soaked with water so flaming arrows would not catch the wood on fire. The
Greek soldiers would line up with their shields side by side creating a wall
in front of them. When they were attacked by archers, they would place the
shields over their heads creating a solid structure protecting them from the
In this instance "faith" is the Greek word pistis, meaning a moral conviction of the truthfulness of God and especially reliance upon Christ for salvation. When we take up the shield of faith we are holding our convictions and our reliance upon Christ up for the enemy to see. When we stand with other Christians we create a wall of defense from the attacks of the enemy. Imagine holding a shield in front of yourself that symbolizes your faith in God’s Word and your reliance on Christ’s salvation.
The Helmet of Salvation:
Salvation in this usage, sōtērion a derivative of sōtēr,
a direct reference to Jesus the deliverer or savior. Paul is inferring that
we should put on Jesus, who will preserve us. Put on the helmet of
Salvation and be saved from danger or destruction, and feel a state of
prosperity and happiness. The crests of ancient Greek helmets were often
decorated with images of powerful beasts, Lions, Chimera’s, and Griffons,
what animal or image is on the crest of your helmet? You may also choose to
use the imagery of the original Greek helmets by choosing an animal that
represents the power of Jesus.
Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God: Paul
reinforces the importance of the word as an offensive tool to be used in the
face of the enemy. Speaking the name of Jesus and saying scriptures out
loud repels the attacks of the enemy. We are not stand idly by as we are
being attacked; we are to stand firm and attack with the one weapon we have
in the face of the enemy, the Word of God.
Future Pace: Create a disassociated image of yourself
wearing the Full Armor of God in any future situation, try one positive
experience and one expected challenging situation to start. (A "dissociated"
image is an image where you "see yourself" in the image. You are in the
position of being an observer of yourself in the image.) Notice how the
events are different when you are wearing the Armor. Associate into the
image and run the movie as if you were in it, noticing what you see, hear,
and feel in this situation with the Armor on. (Whereas you see yourself in a
"dissociated" image, you "do not" see yourself in an "associated" image. You
are "inside" and experiencing what is happening in the image.)
Lastly, be sure disassociate from the image and save it for later reference. According to the research of Marilyn Atkinson PhD. a future paced image should always be left dissociated at the end of working with it. If it is associated the brain accepts the future pace as already having been accomplished and stops moving towards the goal.
Before you enter into any situation where the resources available through having the Armor on, take a minute to mentally put on the Armor and associate yourself into the movie of the best possible outcome.
I like to take a little time each night before I go to sleep to imagine wearing the armor of God in two or three specific times and places the next day. This daily reminder to put on the Armor of God allows me to be more resourceful in situations planned and unplanned throughout the day.
©2006 Tony Husted All rights reserved.