Ephesians 6:10-17 is the famous “armor of God” passage. There Paul tells us that we must put on the whole armor of God if we are to be successful in the midst of spiritual, demonic warfare. That armor consists of: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit (the word of God), and footwear that keeps us prepared to share the gospel.
Why does a Christian need a belt of truth? It’s because Satan is the great deceiver. Why does a Christian need the breastplate of righteousness? It’s because a breastplate protects the heart, and if a person’s heart isn’t protected by a covering of righteous living that person will be easy pickings for Satan. Why does a Christian need the shield of faith? It’s because Satan is constantly shooting his flaming arrows.
Why does a Christian need the helmet of salvation? It’s because a helmet protects the head, which houses the mind, and Satan is constantly trying to get the Christian’s thinking off base. Why does a Christian need the sword of the Spirit, the word of God? It’s because God’s word is the only offensive weapon that can strike a damaging blow to Satan. Why does the Christian need footwear that keeps one prepared to share the gospel? It’s because any good soldier who truly believes in the cause for which he is fighting will try to recruit others to that cause.
Obviously, each item of the whole armor of God is of vital importance. It is interesting, however, that each one is mentioned only once. On the other hand, what the passage mentions no less three times is the idea of standing. Here are the verses (emphasis mine):
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (Ephesians 6:11, N.K.J.V.)
Therefore 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)
Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness… (Ephesians 6:14)
You see, Paul didn’t say, “Put on the whole armor of God so that you can charge toward the devil.” He didn’t say, “Put on the whole armor of God so that you can go on a seek-and-destroy mission against the devil.” Instead, he said, “Put on the whole armor of God so that you can stand against the wiles (the schemes, the methods, the plans, the strategies) of the devil.” In other words, there’s no doubt that Satan is going to bring the fight to you, so you’d better have your battle gear on when he does. If you don’t, your stand is going to become at best a retreat or at worst an all-out fall.
So, Christian, I know that you’ve got salvation (the helmet of salvation) covered. If you don’t, then you are not an authentic Christian. But how are you doing in the areas of truth, righteous living, faith, Bible study, and evangelism? If you are lacking in even one of these areas, then you really aren’t wearing the whole armor of God. And that’s a problem that you need to get shored up because if you aren’t wearing all the armor, Satan is a worthy enough adversary to find your weak spot and do some real damage.