The Bible tells us that the challenges of daily living are NOT to be overcome in our own strength, but in the strength of the Almighty.
Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. (Ephesians 6:10-11)
Writing from a prison cell, the apostle Paul made it clear that his great spiritual strength was found in none other than the Lord . . . just as ours is to be. God has provided His children with what is known as “Almighty Armor,” so that we can fight against the devil’s wicked deceits that are designed to knock us off the path God has called us to walk. We are to be strong in the Lord, not in ourselves, and we need to be reminded of this daily because we naturally tend to battle in our own strength.
In this same passage about Almighty Armor, Paul used various pieces of a Roman soldier’s standard equipment as metaphors that paint a clear picture that our only true power is found in God alone. Let’s take a look:
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:14-17)
Belt of truth – The Roman soldier’s leather belt protected his abdomen, gathered his tunic, and secured his sword . . . pointing to the faithfulness, truthfulness, and utility of God’s Word.
Breastplate of righteousness – The Roman soldier’s breastplate protected his vital areas from frontal attacks . . . pointing to the imputed righteousness of Christ that God graciously provides to protect our hearts from the slings and arrows of Satan.
Footgear – The Roman soldier’s sturdy sandals provided great stability in his fighting stances during battle . . . pointing to the stability that the Gospel provides the people of God, giving us a deep peace in times of great strife. Philippians 4:7 promises that “The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Shield of faith – The Roman soldier’s shield in view here is not the individual 2-foot-round shield, but rather the large (2 ½-foot-wide by 4-foot-high shield) that covered the whole body. When used in formation, these large shields provided protection for the entire group; when dipped in water before a battle, they would extinguish flaming arrows that were fired by enemy archers . . . pointing to the power of faith in Christ that extinguishes all the flaming arrows that our enemy, the devil, shoots our way.
Helmet of salvation – The Roman soldier’s helmet, obviously, protected his head . . . pointing to the protection that salvation—salvation by grace alone through faith in Christ alone—provides every believer now (everyday salvation) and future (eternal salvation). We are to keep our thoughts focused on Christ, not on the temporary trials this world throws at us.
Sword of the Spirit – The Roman soldier’s sword was used for close, personal combat against the enemy . . . pointing to the only offensive weapon that a Christian believer needs in his or her arsenal: the Word of God, which can be used to defeat every attack that comes our way.
From the equipment of a Roman foot soldier, to Old Testament images of our Messiah as a warrior, to the conquering King of kings and Lord of lords in Revelation 19:11-16, we are told to lean not on our own understanding, but to lean into Him. You see, don’t you, that all of this points not to our faithfulness to God, but His faithfulness to us? We are protected because He protects us—not only eternally, not only daily, but moment by moment.
So . . . have you put on the full “Almighty Armor” of God today? It is the only foundation upon which to build the life God is calling you to live.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!