Do those words sound familiar? They should. They come right out of the text of Ephesians 6:11, which in its entirety reads, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” That armor is given in order to help Christians “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might” (6:10). There are four important truths or principles that every child of God needs to recognize in connection with the charge to “put on the whole armor of God.”
First, the Lord wants us to use the Right Armor. What armor does the Lord prescribe for our spiritual well-being? It is not the philosophies, traditions, commandments, or creeds of men. It is not trusting in riches, trusting in self, or trusting in other humans. God specifies the armor that He wants us to use. He calls it “the armor of God.” Surely He knows what is best for us. What does this God-prescribed armor include? Loins girded about with truth, the breastplate of righteousness, feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (6:14-17). Brothers and sisters, this is God’s plan for making us ready to do battle with the wicked one and his servants. If we are thinking properly, then we understand that no other armor can get the job done, and if we fail to use the right armor, we are doomed to failure, period! Failing in the battle with the devil is not an option for those that really want to go to heaven. Let us make sure that we use the right armor.
Second, the Lord wants us to Do the Right Thing with the armor of God. He does not simply tell us to know about such armor, nor does He simply say to recommend or speak highly of such armor. No, here is what God instructs us to do: “take up” (6:13) and “put on” that armor (6:11). That means that God wants us to make the proper application in our lives of those truths that are set forth in Ephesians 6:14-17. It is not enough just to know what God’s armor is, and it is not sufficient to have such armor available. Our God wants us to use the truth, show our faith, and demonstrate righteousness. Once we identify the right armor, then we must actually put it to use in our own individual lives. Is that not why the Lord has given it to us in the first place, in order that we might use it in our spiritual warfare? Being a Christian means more than just believing the right things. It also includes living the right way, which can only be done when we actually put on God’s armor.
Third, our Lord wants us to put on the Right Amount of Armor. You see, God has not only designated the proper armor for every “good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:3), but at the same time He also tells us just what amount of that armor we need to use for our spiritual safety. Listen to how much armor God wants us to use or put on: “Put on the whole armor of God . . . Therefore take up the whole armor of God . . .” (Ephesians 6:11,13, emphasis mine, rdc). Does God have a good idea here? Of course, He does! Our heavenly Father certainly knows what is best for His children. Let us not try to sneak by by using just a portion of the armor that God provides for us. We need to use every single portion of that armor. God said so. Let us trust in Him to know what is best for our soul’s salvation.
Fourth, the Lord wants us to put on the right armor for the Right Reason/Purpose. Again, why is it that God has prescribed and provided “the whole armor of God?” That you and I “may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil . . . may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (6:11,13). Our motivation in using God’s armor is not to impress others, make a name for ourselves, “move up” in the congregation, or win over the heart of a person for whom we have developed strong personal feelings. Our Lord wants us to put on the whole armor of God in order that we can stand against and be victorious over Satan. Let us never lose sight of the seriousness of this battle: it is a matter of life (eternity in heaven) and death (eternal separation from God).
Brethren, God’s battle plan will work. If each soldier in the army of the Messiah will prepare him/herself with the entire armor of God, no force in the world will be able to stand against the Lord’s church! In our efforts to “put on the whole armor of God” and overcome the devil, let us remember those four truths that we have considered. The Lord wants us to: (1) use the Right Armor, (2) Do the Right Thing with God’s armor, (3) put on the Right Amount of Armor, and (4) use the right armor for the Right Reason or with the Right Motive.
—Roger D. Campbell
TRUTH is published monthly by the Klang church of Christ in order to help educate, edify, encourage, and equip the saints of God.