In the Bible the Apostle Paul visualizes our spiritual armour like a Roman soldier's outfit and gear to help us personalize these spiritual truths. Since we can't see them in a tangible way, we have images here to grasp what God has provided for our victory over Satan. Now we must study, understand - and use our spiritual armour!
Paul was close up and personal with the guards in Rome, to whom he was chained for their full shifts. He probably wrote this in his letter to the Ephesians because he had just taught it to his guards, chained to him, and wearing just such gear. They handled and used their equipment evert day, so they would have caught on quickly.
But I haven't seen a Roman soldier in my life time, have you? So we must study our spiritual armour before we can use it.
Let's start from the top. While dressing in the morning we can in prayer put on each piece of our armour by faith, and this way we are not so likely to miss one.
This is crucial. The Romans understood the importance of protecting one's head, for if you bring down an enemy's head, the rest of the body will fall too. Salvation needs to come first in our Christian walk, and we need to be quite sure we are saved, and grateful to God for it. If you are not saved you are open prey for Satan!
Let's thank God for our helmet of salvation often. Satan's most favourite tactic is to make a believer doubt they are saved, and to get discouraged - lose hope. If he wins on that point, we are a fallen soldier. It is vital for our spiritual armour.
You only need to be saved once, but you need to know it and base it on Scriptural facts. Find verses to base your conviction on, and repeat them often, - for your sake, and to remind Satan that you KNOW you are saved for time and eternity. So keep your helmet of salvation on!
Your heart is the source of your motives and emotions. But the Bible says, "the heart is desperately wicked, who can know it?" (or who can fathom the depths of depravity in our hearts?) When we are saved, God covers us with the Righteousness of Jesus Christ, His Holy, pure and sinless Son. Jesus took on our wickedness and gave us His righteousness instead. The Roman soldier wore a metal covering strapped to his chest so that if an enemy shot a dart or arrow towards his heart, it would not be able to go through.
As a believer we have Jesus' wonderful righteousness protecting our heart from doing evil, or even having an evil intention and motive! So often we forget that. It is as if we lay that righteousness down and lose it. Satan comes along and strikes us with the arrows of bitterness or resentment, and anger, or just fills us with dread and fear. He can only do that when we are not wearing the spiritual breastplate of the righteousness of Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.
Let's protect our heart! Consciously desire, and believe that God has you covered with Jesus' righteousness, and the things that will come out of your heart - will change and be like Jesus.
In our spiritual armour we have the belt of truth. Do you know how to buckle it up? The Roman soldier would tighten his belt to gather up his clothing and hitch them up a bit, so that he could move freely without being hindered. When we believe in lies or half truths we hobble ourselves for effective spiritual life.
In John 1:1 Jesus said to His Father, "Your Word is truth." He also said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life." So it is Jesus, or the Bible that we must believe, and we must renounce all lies of Satan. When we are free of lies and believe the truth as embodied in Jesus, we can stand, run or obey His commands without being hindered.
Thinking and speaking the truth in love will really tidy up your Christian life.
Roman citizens wore sandles, and slaves went barefoot. On the other hand, Roman soldiers had to be ready to go anywhere and everywhere on short notice and so they were fitted with special shoes. No matter what the terrain was like they were ready for action!
Christian believers need to be ready for action at all times too. Do you clearly understand the gospel, - even have some training - in how to present it to others? We should be able to witness, no matter what situation we find ourselves in. We want to avoid fumbling to prepare and losing the moment that is hot and ready for us to act.
So the shoes of readiness with the gospel of peace are the training and preparations we make for Christian service. The more prepared we are the less likely we are to stumble. Again, vital to our spiritual armour.
The Captain of the Lord's army provides us with an important piece of equipment for our own safety in our spiritual armour. Perhaps you did not realize this, but when the enemy, Satan, attacks us we are to crouch down and hide behind our huge shield of faith.
The shield of the Roman soldier was big enough to completely cover him. None of the enemy's arrows and poisoned darts could reach him.
In the same way, God.has guaranteed to keep us safe as long as we trust in Him! Many promises in the Bible reassure us of that.
Satan's flaming arrows can include temptations, and haunting questions meant to get us to doubt God will take care of us or solve our problems. If he can get us to doubt God's love and purposes for us, we give up and start believing his lies. Then Satan has won! But if we hide behind our faith in God, and meet every attack with the conviction that "God will take care that for me," then we are kept safe.
Have you noticed that so far our spiritual armour has nothing for an offensive weapon?
We have one. It is the preaching and our stand on God's Word that gives us power to make inroads against the onslaughts of Satan. We may gain time to get ready for battle by crouching behind our faith in God, but when we need to fight back, or take more ground, we do it by claiming and preaching the promises of God in the Bible. His Word, we are told in Hebrews, is "...living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12 NIV)
There is much more you can learn as you consider your spiritual armour. What a gift! Be sure you use all your gear.