What’s shared in Life Group stays in Life Group, but my buddy Marc Moore doesn’t mind me sharing this. In our Life Group a couple weeks ago, Marc shared with us something very unique that he does every morning. After he’s had his breakfast, spent some time alone with God, and is ready to leave for work; he stops in his truck at his cattle guard and symbolically puts on every piece of the FULL armor that God has provided for every follower of Christ. As he sits at the cattle guard he prays out loud and acts like he’s putting on each piece of the armor. For example, he’ll say something like this: “Lord, I’m putting on the belt of truth which gives me strenght for the battle” and he acts like he’s wrapping a belt around his waist — “I put on the breastplate of your righteousness that’s mine because of Christ” and he acts like he’s putting on upper body armor — and continues through each of the parts of armor God provides for us.
Here’s the passage that talks about this armor. The pieces of armor start in verse 14. “10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” Eph 6:10-18 NIV
I’m sure Paul was picturing a Roman soldier when he described these things.
The Belt was a broad belt of leather & metal or cloth & metal which gave Roman soldiers support (like a back support) in battle and kept all their other equipment in place. The Belt of Truth for Christians is the truth of God’s Word that helps support us and keeps all our other equipment ready for battle.
The Breastplate was their upper body armor which protected their vital organs (heart, lungs, throat). The Breastplate of Righteousness is a picture of being right with God which can only happen through daily union and obedience to Christ. Being right with God gives us the vital protection we need each day.
Roman soldiers had their feet fitted with hob-nailed sandals. These allowed them to engage in hand to hand combat and stand firm no matter how slippery the ground was. For Christians, we are to fit our feet with the gospel of peace. This means we need to always be ready to stand our ground in sharing the gospel of the peace of Jesus Christ; the fact that we can stand firm in the fact that we have peace with God through Christ.
The word used here for shield didn’t relate to the small round shield that soldiers often carried, but the large rectangular shield used when the real battles were going on. Some enemies had learned how to dip arrows in pitch and light them on fire; they’d then shoot flaming arrows at the soldiers. To offset the effectiveness of these flaming arrows the Romans developed this large rectangular shield to break the force of these arrows and protect them. Satan and his demons are constantly firing their flaming arrows of temptation and destruction at Christians, but faith renders those flaming arrows harmless. The shield of faith is our umbrella of protection. The shield of faith is where we stand in faith – trusting God and the truth of His Word no matter the situation.
The helmet worn by the soldiers primarily protected their head against the two-edged sword commonly used in combat. Satan often uses a tw0-edged sword of discouragement and doubt to defeat Christians. With these he often attacks the mind of the Christian to direct blows at a believer’s security and assurance of salvation. The helmet of salvation comes when we fill our minds with the truth of God’s Word about our salvation and the One in whom we trust. We claim verses like 1 John 5:11-13 and others, and because of our faith in Christ rest assured we belong to Him.
The Roman soldier was never outfitted for battle without his sword. He was trained in the use of this weapon to defend himself and to attack the enemy. As Christians, our weapon is the sword of the spirit which is the Word of God. The Word of God is the weapon we use to defend ourselves and to attack the enemy. When Jesus encountered Satan in direct spiritual conflict (Mt. 4:1-ff) He used the Word of God both defensively and offensively. He quoted scripture in this battle.
As followers of Christ we are to take up each piece of the armor God supplies with prayer. Prayer is the very air the Christian soldier breathes; it’s an absolute must in the midst of warfare.
And in the midst of every conflict, remember that other Christians are in the middle of this daily battle too. They may be fighting on a different front, but they are in the battle and so you need to pray for them – not criticize them. Remember, they’re not the enemy. We’re not to fight with each other, but rather to strengthen one another through prayer.
The bottom line: I need to be fully prepared for battle – I need to put on the full armor God supplies daily – I must always have my offensive weapon (the Word of God) ready – and I need to pray for myself and other followers of Christ daily.
You may not have a cattle guard, but maybe you can follow Marc’s practice when you get in your car or truck each morning. Crank it up and before you drive off to enter that day’s battles – symbolically put on God’s Full Armor so you’ll be ready for whatever comes your way.