Armour of God
“Put on the full armour of God” is a well-worn (pun intended) Christian analogy. But what does it actually mean?
I know someone who imagines stepping into God’s armour every morning as a way of focusing and centring their day.
But is there more to it than this?
If I merely imagined myself putting my uniform on each day, it might help me focus on what lay ahead, but ultimately, I would be left exposed, ridiculed and, more than likely, arrested.
None of which I believe Paul intended when he wrote this.
The armour of God analogy first appears in Isaiah:
17 He put on righteousness as his breastplate,Isaiah 59:17
and the helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on the garments of vengeance
and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.
But Paul took this and had his wordy way with it turning it into:
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.Ephesians 6:10-17
Analogies are an effective teaching tool taking an everyday, relatable concept, and giving it a parallel meaning, thereby enabling connection and understanding. Scripture is littered with them.
To a farming community, Jesus used vines, seeds and weeds to illustrate the kingdom of God. And Paul, just like Isaiah, used armour as an analogy because in their day, soldiers were seen in everyday life.
The Old Testament is bursting with similar illustrations, because for those guys, being God’s people literally meant warfare. A classic example was David.
The Old Testament teaches us that our God is a warrior:
- Exodus 15:3 – The Lord is a warrior, the Lord is his name
- Isaiah 34:5-6 – The sword of the Lord is bathed in blood
- Jeremiah 20:11 – But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior
- Zephaniah 3:17 – The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.
However, the New Testament also equates relationship with God to warfare:
- 1 Timothy 6:12 – Fight the good fight of the faith
- 2 Timothy 2:3 – Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus
- 2 Corinthians 10:4 – The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world
- Philippians 2:25 – Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier.
Scripture uses armour as an analogy for life with God, because when we are adopted into God’s family, we step into the crosshairs of God’s enemies.
The traits represented in the “Armour of God” passages are key to holy relationship. This is not only God’s desire for us, but the goal of Spiritual warfare; to stay safe in battle is to shelter in Him.
To be victorious like our God, is to wear the armour of our God
If I went to work in my imagined uniform, I would end up in a world of illegal ‘awkward’. However, if I engaged the enemy wearing imaginary armour, I wouldn’t be awkward for long.
I’d be dead.
God desires relationship with us, and He wants us safe in the battle as well. For this to happen we need to:
- Draw close to the Father to shelter within His armour
- Study the Word to understand the battle
- Seek Wisdom to apply these truths to our life
- Be disciplined in practice until truths become skills
- Hone those skills until they become second nature
- Stand our ground as we battle under God’s banner.
I believe this is what “putting on the full armour of God” is about and it’s the premise of my novels in the “Armour of Light Series”.
Over the next six weeks, I’ll be looking at what each article of armour signifies in the Christian life.
- Is the analogy of armour still relevant?
- Would something else be more appropriate today?
- How does this passage relate to your Christian walk?