Ephesians 6:10-19 | Hebrews 4:12 | 1 Timothy 6:12
Pro Tip: It’s metaphorical; don’t buy any actual armor.
Don’t be deceived: the battle is real, the enemies are real, and the armor is real. It’s just not physical. So save your money and refrain from purchasing chain mail, helmets, and the like.
Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.(Ephesians 6:11-12 NLT)
Did you read the part about unseen evil rulers and mighty powers? Whaaaat?! Don’t look now, but…good grief, there are evil spirits out to get us!
Take a deep breath. Gather up your courage. God provides you a suit of armor to shield you from these invisible lurkers. Here is an inventory of your protective equipment:
|Shoes||The Peace that comes from the Good News|
You have a full suit of armor at your disposal. But as Paul mentioned above, you have to put each piece of the armor on. Buckle on truth by choosing honesty and refusing to deal in lies. Wear your body armor by doing what is right–regardless of what others do. Keep pushing forward, knowing that God loves you and doesn’t hold back anything from you, even his only Son. Deflect the devil’s flaming arrows of doubt (and worse) by trusting in God to keep his covenant with you as a follower of Christ. Protect your mind by knowing that when the battle is over you will have an eternal home in Heaven.
In addition to defensive gear, God provides you with a powerful offensive weapon. It is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17 NLT). You may recognize the ‘word of God’ as scripture, but did you know this about it…?
For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.(Hebrews 4:12 NLT)
If you ever see soldiers fully dressed for battle, you will see them wearing and carrying thousands of dollars worth of protective gear, weaponry, and mission-critical equipment. Their government invests heavily to equip them and preserve them in times of conflict.
In a similar way, your heavenly father invests heavily in your protection and readiness for spiritual battle. Don’t leave yourself open to shadowy attacks; put on the full armor of God, sharpen your sword, and report for duty.
Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.(1 Timothy 6:12 NLT)
Questions for Group Discussion
- How shocking to you is the idea (in Ephesians 6:12) that you are up against spiritual forces of darkness? Is it hard to believe? How conscious of this should you be? Could problems arise from dwelling on this fact too much?
- Have you ever considered that addictions and other afflictions could be the result of spiritual forces? Could it be that some are purely physical, while others are not?
- Why do you think the forces of darkness take any interest in targeting God’s people? Are they just bored?
Challenge: Unpack Your Gear
The great thing about a metaphor is that it says much more than even what is written. A metaphor paints a picture of your concept and, as we all know…a picture is worth a thousand words.
The downside is that sometimes it can be hard to grasp the full meaning of such figurative language. This is why Jesus often had to explain his parables to his disciples.
Paul’s Armor of God metaphor is one with which most people are familiar. But its full meaning can be hard to lay hold of.
- Pray, asking God to reveal the meaning of his scripture to you.
- Read Ephesians 6:10-19.
- Consider what it actually might mean to employ each piece of spiritual armor Paul describes in verses 14-17.
- Write down your thoughts concerning each piece.
- Finally, add a note about how you might suit up in times when you feel especially vulnerable.