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. (verses 14-17)
“Be empowered in the Lord,” Paul says (6:10) and then launches into a description of the armour we are to wear to prepare ourselves for spiritual battle. In Romans 13:14, Paul said: “clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ.” I want to suggest that the instruction here, “in the Lord”, is essentially the same.
Think of the first piece of armour, “the belt of truth” (verse 14). Because Jesus himself is “the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6), Paul is telling us to be cinched up in him – to be held together with the clear-sighted insight that Jesus himself brings.
The “breastplate of righteousness” (verse 14) protects the core of our being. Follow my example, Paul would say – it’s not “a righteousness of my own … but that which is through faith in Christ” (Philippians 3:9). Any righteousness I could drum up myself would be sub-standard, tarnished, and easily pierced through. But the righteousness Jesus brings me is impermeable, because I am “in him.”
Having my feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace (verse 15), I find myself running swiftly, carried by the good news of Jesus himself, a message that opens the door to the fullness of reconciled peace with God. This joyful peace is what I myself have received in Christ. It is also the best I have to offer anyone else.
I take “the shield of faith” (verse 16), remembering that Jesus has said that “any one who has faith in me will do what I have been doing” (John 14:12). He stood his ground against the evil one. I can, too, shielded by faith in him.
The “helmet of salvation” (verse 17) comes only in Jesus – “salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name … by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
“And the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (verse 17) keeps us anchored in our Lord. By it we “demolish strongholds … and take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
“Put on the full armour,” Paul says, just as he tells us to “clothe (ourselves) with the Lord Jesus Christ.” We’ve been outfitted, already, in Jesus. All of it is ours. It’s ready for our use. Live fully in this reality, Paul urges. “In Jesus” – it’s the only way to stand firm.
O Lord Jesus, I gratefully receive into the whole of my being the fullness of what you have won for me, the fullness of who you are. In the evil day, which is ready to spring upon me unawares at every moment, I want to be living in the fullness of life “in you.” I choose to be clothed in Christ. I put on the full armour of God. Praise your name.
Reflect: Choose one piece of the armour upon which you will reflect today. Turn it over in your mind. Look at it from every angle. Consciously put it on, again and again. Move with it. Take it into every moment of this day.
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