In spiritual warfare, the battlefield lies in the human heart and mind. We struggle to distinguish Satan’s lies from the truth revealed in and through Jesus Christ (John 8:44; 14:6). Scripture says we overcome in that struggle—we defeat worldly views and systems of morality—by “demolish[ing] arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4, NIV).
The Helmet of Salvation
The Belt of Truth
The Shield of Faith
The Breastplate of Righteousness
The Shoes of Peace
The Sword of the Spirit
Many Christians prefer to hunker down in spiritual foxholes rather than take on the enemies of despair, temptation, fear, and more. But Scripture charges us to stand firm: “Take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:13).
How do we win such a battle? The first step is to draw our strength from the Lord. When we recognize our weakness, God’s power and presence become magnified in our life. The apostle Paul even boasted about his limitations, preferring to place his hope in Christ (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). May we follow Paul’s example, knowing the Lord delights in allowing those who are weak to be channels of His great power.
The second step in defeating Satan is to take up the believer’s armor outlined in Ephesians 6. Using the gear of a Roman soldier, Paul created a word picture, a metaphor, to illustrate how we stand firm against the schemes and strategies of Satan. The six parts of the Roman soldier’s battle dress uniform represent six ways the follower of Christ can stand against and overcome the forces of evil (Ephesians 6:10-18).
The Helmet of Salvation.
In the same way a soldier’s helmet protected his head from a physical impact, the helmet of salvation protects a believer’s mind from spiritual blows. It guards us against confusion, deception, and despair. Our thoughts fuel our actions, so it is essential that we fill our mind with God’s Word and allow Him to transform us. A growing understanding of our salvation and our Savior steadies our mind for battle and gives us hope for the future. Romans 12:2 tells us, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” We don’t know what the future holds, but we know the God who holds the future.
The Belt of Truth.
We live in an age where one person’s “truth” is respected as much as another’s. Anyone who doesn’t allow others to define truth as they want is considered intolerant or even hateful. But biblical truth is our certainty. It binds us to reality, enabling us to discern the lies that threaten to make us stumble. When we gird ourselves with the absolute truth that resides only in God, we stand firm in the knowledge of Him and, by extension, who He created us to be. With this knowledge, we remain unencumbered by the fads and falsehoods of this world. To access God’s truth, all we must do is ask. In the words of King David, “Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day” (Psalm 25:4-5).
The Shield of Faith.
Armorers design shields to block incoming attacks from enemy forces. Many people make the mistake of having faith in faith. But faith is only as strong and effective as its object. As we shift the focus from ourselves to Almighty God, our faith gains power, and we become fearless. Jesus told His disciples that if they placed their faith in God and did not doubt, they could move mountains! (Mark 11:22-24) It is not the size of our faith but the object of our faith, Almighty God, that makes this piece effective. The better we know God, the stronger our faith will be. By taking up the shield of faith, we can extinguish Satan’s fiery darts.
The Breastplate of Righteousness.
When we think of evil, we often think of the evil in the world, but there is evil within us as well. In Mark 7, Jesus explained that wicked thoughts, infidelity, affairs, murder, and more begin in the human heart—even the heart of a born-again Christian. Although God’s people still have the potential for sin, Christ’s righteousness has freed us from sin’s power. We guard our heart against evil by cloaking ourselves in His goodness. Paul explained, “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. Therefore ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:17-21).
The Shoes of Peace.
If there was ever a day when we might struggle with anxiety, it is today. Life might have the same number of worries as it always has, but we know much more about them than ever before! How do we shield ourselves from a world of uncertainties? By experiencing the peace of God. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Like a Roman soldier’s hobnail sandals, the shoes of peace equip us to stand unwavering in battle. The enemies of worry, doubt, fear, and uncertainty are no match for the peace of God.
The Sword of the Spirit.
Among all the protective elements of the Christian’s spiritual armor, all are defensive except one: the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. The more familiar we are with its contents, the better equipped we are to overcome temptation. When Satan tempted Jesus three times, the Lord overcame each temptation with Scripture. We must prepare to do the same. Paul wrote, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Whenever the enemy approaches with temptation, our surest counterattack begins with “It is written.”
Paul concludes his word picture of the believer’s armor with a call to prayer. Obviously, this was not an item issued by the Roman army, but every Roman soldier had a chain of command that led to Caesar—the supreme ruler of Rome. In God’s army, every soldier has direct access to the Supreme Ruler of the universe at any time of the day or night. We never have to worry about whether a situation warrants His attention or how He’ll react to our petition. God’s Word tells us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Prayer is the channel God uses to pour His strength into our lives. It activates each piece of armor and equips us to overcome any foe.
As Christians, we profess that God is all-powerful and all-knowing; we say that all things are possible in Him. Our challenge is to act in accordance with what we say is true. If God is for us, who or what can stand against us? (Romans 8:31) Victorious Christian soldiers never fail to remember who they are fighting for, nor do they forget the reward promised to those who overcome in the name of their God: “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son” (Revelation 21:7). The One for whom we fight is our eternal reward.
We do not have to live in fear of the devil. We can enter spiritual battle with awareness of its reality and subtlety, knowing Christ Jesus has already claimed ultimate victory. At this very moment, we are “more than conquerors through Him who loved us”!