You wouldn’t go into a war battle without wearing all of the armor that the military provides for you. Yet, that is what many Christians do. They go throughout their lives without taking full advantage of all the armor that God provides for their protection—and they find themselves under attack and wounded time and again.
The Apostle Paul knew first hand that the Roman army saw victory because of their armor. When teaching the Ephesians about the armor of God, Paul likened our spiritual armor to this Roman armor so listeners would come to understand its benefits and uses.
The Belt of Truth
“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist.” Ephesians 6:14
The Roman loin girdle wasn’t an ordinary belt as we know it today. The loin girdle was a thick, wide and large piece of leather that wrapped around a man’s body. This belt had hooks. One hook held the shield; the other held the soldier’s sword. If a soldier didn’t have his belt on, he had no weapons.
The loin girdle represents the Belt of Truth – or the Word of God. If we don’t know the truth and we don’t keep ourselves in the truth, we do not have this belt on and we have no weapons. Without our sword and shield we will be weak to false teachings and the many things in life that try to come along and deceive us.
The Breastplate of Righteousness
“…with the breastplate of righteousness in place….” Ephesians 6:14
In Roman times the breastplate was made out of metal and it was very strong. The weight of the breastplate had to be light enough so the soldier could maneuver during battle, but it had to be strong enough so the soldier’s vital organs, lungs and heart, were protected against enemy blows. These breastplates were polished regularly. They were kept in such shiny condition that their brightness would reflect light and blind the enemy during a battle.
The Roman breastplate is likened to the Christian’s Breastplate of Righteousness. Our righteousness is Jesus. It is His power and His righteousness that covers and protects us. Just as the soldier had to work and polish his breastplate regularly, so must we also focus our attention on Christ so that He shines in our lives. If we don’t and our breastplate becomes dull or we take it off, our focus will turn toward self and that is when our heart and our inner-most places can get wounded.
The Shoes of Gospel and Peace
“…and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” Ephesians 6:15
The shoes that were given to Roman soldiers were very special. A Roman’s soldier’s shoes were not only made so that they could walk firmly, but so that the soldiers could also literally walk on the enemy. These shoes had spikes on the soles that measured anywhere from three to 12 inches in length. These spikes anchored soldiers to the ground in uneven terrain and they were used as weapons on the battlefield. If an enemy fell to the ground, a soldier could stomp on their head or chest with their shoes. The Roman soldier’s shoes had two purposes: to walk and to serve as a weapon.
These shoes are likened to the Shoes of Gospel and Peace. In the Bible, feet and shoes represent a person’s walk. When you are not walking in peace with God and taking comfort in him and his Word—you have no foundation and your footing in this world will not be stable. You will not be sensitive to God’s voice and wisdom. Basically, you will not have peace. And, you will be unable to offer anyone else peace. Yet, when we have on these shoes, we will have peace and the power to trample on the enemy. We will not be swept away. We will stand firm and advance for the Kingdom.
The Shield of Faith
“In addition to all of this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” Ephesians 6:16
The Roman shield was like any other shield in that it was a movable barrier that the soldier carried to protect himself—not just from swords, but from darts and arrows. Unlike some shields, many historians tell us that the Roman shield was full length, it wasn’t just a small round thing. During battles Roman soldiers would often stand side-by-side and lock their shields together and take ground as one massive wall.
The Roman shield is likened to the Shield of Faith in the Christian arsenal. If you don’t use your faith, or you drop your shield completely, you have no protection against attacks and the darts and arrows of the enemy such as lies, gossip, discrimination, hatred and other things that come against us. When you do wield your shield you are protecting yourself. The blows and the darts and arrows may still come, but they will hit your faith and fall to the ground. Also, as Christians you can link your shield with other Christians and become a very powerful force against the enemy.
The Helmet of Salvation
The Roman soldier’s helmet was made of metal. In addition to the section that covered the head, it also had side pieces that could be attached to it that covered the sides of the face or the cheeks. It also had a shelf-type plate which could be attached to the back of the helmet so the neck and shoulders were protected.
The Roman soldier’s helmet represents the believer’s Helmet of Salvation. This helmet protects your head from the enemy, it claims you as Christ’s own, and it helps you protect and take control over your own mind.
Satan loves to attack our minds. One area he likes to poke his fingers into is our belief in our salvation. If we mess up, he’ll come along and tell us that we aren’t really saved. When we are confident in our salvation and wear the Helmet of Salvation, we protect our mind from the enemy’s attacks. Our mind becomes a refuge and a fortress that the enemy can’t penetrate because we have confidence of who we are in Christ.
The Sword of the Spirit of the Word of God
“…and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:14
The Roman soldier’s sword was sharp on both sides and it was polished to a high shine. This sword could cut in either direction that it was wielded.
The Roman sword represents the Sword of the Spirit of the Word of God. It does not represent a denomination, but the Bible—the Living Word of God. Each word from the Bible, when spoken by a believer that is walking with the Lord, will strike a sword-blow to the enemy’s head. God gives us authority to use His words as we fight the good fight of Faith as we are His ambassadors and warriors on Earth.
When Christians put on the entire armor of God they are protected in all ways. They will keep his words in their minds, hearts and walks. Their words, actions and deeds will give Him glory and they will find peace as they battle the enemy.
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