Part 1 – How to Use the Full Armor of God

How to Use the Armor of GodThe Armor of God is a well-studied portion of Scripture. So why am I writing about it again? Because, even though we know about it, we don’t seem to really use it and it is helpful to have an additional explanation so that we know how to use the full armor of God.

Knowing how to use the Armor of God equips us to put it into action in our lives. Activated armor lets us experience the power which lifts us above the battles of daily life. I’m not sure why we don’t use it more often. Perhaps, it’s just easy to forget. So, we’re going to go through all six pieces of the armor of God, examining the Who, What, When, Where, and Why of each piece. 

Swords and Shields

The picture of Biblical armor is not really something that’s part of our lives today. In fact, it’s a somewhat antiquated concept. We see soldiers in armor often on tv, but they’re not carrying swords and holding big shields in front of them. Their helmets are much different than the biblical model. Their armor is hidden under shirts and jackets and they carry high powered rifles.

First the Natural, Then the Spiritual

So, as we take Paul’s natural concept, which he gave a spiritual application, we can modernize our picture of it and see the spiritual application. First the natural, then the spiritual. We speak often of our life being “such a battle.” So, we get the idea, we just forget what’s available to us to help win the battle. We must take the natural, consider what we have experienced and felt, compare it to the Word, and then make a Biblical and spiritual application. This is what Paul was doing. He saw a spiritual truth, a spiritual reality – the spiritual armor – and showed us that it is very real. Peter tells us this:

 “His divine power has given us everything we need to experience life and to reflect God’s true nature through the knowledge of the One who called us by His glory and virtue.” 2 Peter 1:3. The Voice

The Armor of God is Part of The Glorious Everything We Have Been Given!

The armor of God is part of the everything we need. It is one of many tools we’ve been given to use. They’ve been presented to us in a way we can understand by using an example we can relate to visually, mentally, and tactilely. There is only one qualification required to own and use the armor of God. If you know Jesus as your Savior, it’s yours. You didn’t even have to ask. And, yours is custom made just for you – it fits no matter what. It doesn’t go away. The reason we have that power is so that we may “reflect God’s true nature.” The armor is part of His nature – Truth, Righteousness, Peace, Faith, Salvation, and His Word.

Our job is to remember to put the armor on! Let’s look at what it says in Ephesians:

10 Finally, brothers and sisters, draw your strength and might from God. 11 Put on the full armor of God to protect yourselves from the devil and his evil schemes. 12 We’re not waging war against enemies of flesh and blood alone. No, this fight is against tyrants, against authorities, against supernatural powers and demon princes that slither in the darkness of this world, and against wicked spiritual armies that lurk about in heavenly places.

13 And this is why you need to be head-to-toe in the full armor of God: so you can resist during these evil days and be fully prepared to hold your ground. 14 Yes, stand—truth banded around your waist, righteousness as your chest plate, 15 and feet protected in preparation to proclaim the good news of peace. 16 Don’t forget to raise the shield of faith above all else, so you will be able to extinguish flaming spears hurled at you from the wicked one. 17 Take also the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 Pray always. Pray in the Spirit. Pray about everything in every way you know how! And keeping all this in mind, pray on behalf of God’s people. Keep on praying feverishly, and be on the lookout until evil has been stayed.” Ephesians 6:10-18. The Voice

What Are the Six Pieces of the Armor of God?

Knowing how to use each of the six pieces of the Armor of God is important. If I don’t know the purpose of something, I probably won’t use it. So we will look at how to use each piece. The six pieces of the Armor of God are:

  1. The Belt of Truth
  2. The Breastplate of Righteousness
  3. The Shoes of the Gospel of Peace
  4. The Shield of Faith
  5. The Helmet of Salvation
  6. The Sword of the Word

There is a seventh piece – prayer. And we will cover that throughout this series on the Armor of God.

What is the Spiritual Armor of God?

As we systematically look at each piece of the armor, we will also examine the Who, What, When, Where, and Why of each piece. Paul would not have included this information in one of his letters if it were not important. In fact, it is so important that we must not skip over it as just being a simplistic example from a man who had spent too much time with soldiers. Just the opposite. His time with soldiers allowed him to understand fully their plight – fighting flesh and blood which was not the real enemy.

So how does Paul start this lesson on the armor? Verses 10 – 11 say this:

10 Finally, brothers and sisters, draw your strength and might from God. 11 Put on the full armor of God to protect yourselves from the devil and his evil schemes.” The Voice

Other translations say to be strong in the Lord and the Power of His might.

Be Strong in the Lord and in the Power of His Might

To be “strong” in the Lord means to have endynamóō. Dynamoo or Dunamis is where we get our word dynamic. His ‘might’ is – His dominion and strength. ‘Power’ is ischus – a force to overcoming immediate resistance. So, you have God’s dynamoo and you draw your force from Him to overcome immediate resistance, establishing His dominion through His strength.

We have the Who – brothers and sisters. That’s us. It’s all believers. There are no exceptions. Obviously, Paul intended that we would all understand and use this wonderful protection God had provided for all of us. Reminder – there are no qualifications for the use of this armor. If you need it, it’s yours. Use it! If you’re worried that you don’t have the power, Paul took care of that as well. He says you have access to the power of “His” might. It’s yours too.

Next, Paul answers the What. What is it for? What am I fighting?

“We’re not waging war against enemies of flesh and blood alone. No, this fight is against tyrants, against authorities, against supernatural powers and demon princes that slither in the darkness of this world, and against wicked spiritual armies that lurk about in heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12

I love The Voice translation here. It is so descriptive, painting a picture of slithering powers in the heavenly places (not flesh) who are lurking about. Keeping that picture in our minds can help us to remember who we are really fighting. The What is supernatural powers and wicked spiritual armies.

Why Do We Need the Armor of God?

Paul tells us why, “13 And this is why you need to be head-to-toe in the full armor of God: so you can resist during these evil days and be fully prepared to hold your ground.”

We have the Whyso you can resist during these evil days and be fully prepared to hold your ground.

When – anytime we need it. Where? Wherever the battle begins – everywhere and at any time because this is a spiritual, not a physical, battle. Knowing this should give us confidence and fend off the fear that often accompanies the mention of spiritual warfare. We do not have to be afraid of it. Jesus has already won the battle. We are simply following in His footsteps using the tools, faith, and power He gives us.

Spiritual Armor for Spiritual Forces

We need spiritual armor because we are fighting against spiritual forces. It is NOT a battle against flesh and blood. However, what does it feel like? It feels personal. If you are in a battle, there is probably a human involved – flesh and blood. But, because we can’t see or touch our real enemy, we forget who the enemy truly is. So, we begin to battle against flesh and blood. The words or actions which hurt us were spoken or committed by humans and that is who we fight. They are the instrument but not the source. If you fight the person, you will never win.

The Battle In and For the Mind

The first step to winning the battle actually starts inside of you – inside of me. It starts in my head. I have to make a decision as to how I am going to view and respond to this. Do I take it personally and give it permission to wreak havoc in my life? Or, do I distance myself from it? Ok, how do I do that? By taking control of my thoughts about it. If you have never practiced this before, it’s not easy at first. It’s a discipline, and, like all disciplines, it requires repeated and regular practice. Discipline requires discipline! Look at 2 Corinthians 10:5:

We are demolishing arguments and ideas, every high-and-mighty philosophy that pits itself against the knowledge of the one true God. We are taking prisoners of every thought, every emotion, and subduing them into obedience to the Anointed One.”

Take note – we are. Not – we might. Not – if we feel like it. No. We are. We are not just taking thoughts captive, we are demolishing the arguments and ideas, and every high-and-mighty philosophy that pits itself against the knowledge of the one true God. This is the process of taking our thoughts captive AND subduing them – making them obedient to Jesus! We are speaking the truth of the Word of God.

Consider this passage from Philippians 4:8, “ Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy.” The Voice

Fill Your Minds With Beauty and Truth

The Mind of Christ

Take note of the components of controlling your thoughts by filling your mind:
     1. Fill your minds with beauty and truth.
     2.  Meditate on.
     3.  Whatever is honorable – honor means adherence to what is right, integrity, righteousness. Honorable means you
          are a person of honor.
     4. Whatever is right – true, correct, just.
     5. Whatever is pure – undefiled, clean.
     6. Whatever is good – valid, sound, Complete or sufficiently perfect in its kind.
     7. Whatever is virtuous – virtue means conformity of life and conduct with the principles of morality; 
     8. Whatever is praiseworthy – worthy of yours and God’s praise.

If, we used this as a tool to determine which thoughts to keep and which to fully subdue, think of the change in our lives. We end up meditating on the wrong things. I have always had a struggle with fear and one of the things that occurs is that I begin to meditate on (obsess over) what might happen. It is always negative. It feeds my fear. Clearly my thoughts, my meditations are not set on any of the 8 items listed above; beauty, truth, honor, rightness, purity, goodness, virtue and praiseworthiness. I am not taking every thought and emotion captive to the obedience of Christ.

Practice Thankfulness – It is a Powerful Weapon

How can I do that? I do it by beginning to be thankful – out loud. I start thanking God for everything in my life down to the tiniest things. A thankful heart cannot be a fearful heart. A mind occupied with thanksgiving is automatically going to be a mind that searches for what is good, honorable, etc. I literally change my mind. This means I make a choice to renew my mind and I start with giving thanks that I have clothing, food, a car that runs, shoes, nail polish, family (name them), friends (name them), etc. It is essential to keep going until I feel the fear break. Every time it tries to come back, I start again. Then, I make a decision as to what I am going to think about.

All of the things we fight should really be put in their place at the feet of Jesus and then used as an impetus toward maintaining the mind of Christ. We CAN control our thoughts. We are to SET our mind on the things above. It’s up to us. We have a responsibility to guard and maintain our mind and our hearts. Of course, we have spiritual help – like the armor! But you must take the initiative. I must take the initiative. I know it works because I have done it and I am no more important or spiritual than anyone else. 

Do You Want to Be Like Jesus?

We need to remember that we also have the mind of Christ. Again – we don’t have to ask for it because we already have it. The trick is to use it!

Who do you want to be? What would the ‘best’ you look like? Would it be like Jesus? If so, then go for it. No matter who you are, you can be like Jesus. Our only obstacle is believing it! Here are some of the tools and they are free and abundant.

You have the mind and the power of Christ. You also have your own personal armor to protect you and defeat the lies. It’s all here. Let’s use it. Let’s be like Him! It’s possible to become accustomed to winning. How? By practicing and winning small battles over and over. The battle for your mind is intense but you can win.

The Belt of Truth

So, in light of this, what is the first piece of armor? It’s the belt of truth. It’s wrapped around your gut – so to speak. The gut is at the center of everything. I have a son who has Young Onset Diabetes. I have had colorectal cancer. It’s an interesting, natural fact that science is showing an unhealthy gut contributes to both of these diseases. In fact, more and more diseases are being linked to gut health, or lack thereof. This is a natural ‘truth’ that has a spiritual application.

Truth. What is it? According to Rudy Giuliani – “the truth is not the truth.” That might be so in his world, but not in the Kingdom of God. There is One who is the Truth and in His kingdom, there is only Truth. There is only one truth – His. When He speaks, it is Truth. All that He does and is, is Truth. He can only be and live in Truth because He is love. Love does not lie. Fear lies constantly. The Kingdom of Fear is constructed of lies. The Kingdom of God is filled with love and truth.

How to Use the Belt of Truth 

Which Kingdom do we live in and which ruler do we follow? If it is Jesus, then we must wrap His truth around our innermost being and allow it to protect us from the disease of fear and lies. We are His. Made in His likeness, we have His power. We have His complete and unconditional love along with His mind, His protection, and EVERYTHING we need!

His divine power has given us everything we need to experience life and to reflect God’s true nature through the knowledge of the One who called us by His glory and virtue.” 2 Peter 1:3. The Voice

The issue for us is to truly believe that. Then, as we take those thoughts and make them obedient to what God has already said about us, we find victory! When a thought comes of pain, anger, bitterness, or personal shame, we take action. You can’t just say – I won’t think that anymore. If you are trying to replace negative thoughts with the truth, then be ready with ways to remind yourself of what you want to say and believe. 

  1. Put a card in your purse with Scriptures written on it.
  2. Create a Note in an app on your phone.
  3. Memorize
  4. Keep a list of Scriptures on your computer, phone, iPad or whatever you have.

Come into Agreement With God’s Truth and it Will Change Yours

The key is to have a replacement ready. In the heat of the moment, we tend to revert to what is familiar. Instead, you will have to make a conscious choice to do something different and having a list handy will help. You also use positive affirmations and thanksgiving. You are not trying to confess something that isn’t true. What you will be saying and practicing is THE truth. God’s truth. It is the response of the true you. You are simply aligning your words and thoughts with what God already knows to be true of you and with what is true in His kingdom. 

Along with the affirmations and scripture, add thanksgiving. Not for the problem, but for the solution. Thank God for the armor, for the victory over the fear, and thank Him for encasing you in His love and transforming you with it. 

Do You Believe You Can You Do All Things Through Christ?

Let’s suppose that you had a project at work. After you gave it to your boss, she came and told you it was not done well and needed corrections. What you heard was, “My boss is right. I’m not capable. I’m too dumb to do this. She’s going to fire me.” That’s not what she said, so you are now believing a lie. If you choose to, you can linger on it and enlarge it. You can go back to it over and over, confirming the lie. Why is it a lie? Because God says you can do all things through Christ? Because she did not say what you are thinking.

You must focus on the truth and our thoughts are not always the truth. If the project did needs more work, then simply get it done. Don’t begin to condemn yourself. You might have done the project perfectly, but your boss is under pressure to find something wrong with what everyone does so that she looks more efficient. You don’t know why so don’t guess. Just get to work and be thankful for your job. Begin to fill your mind with the right stuff!

Perhaps you’re not sure you can do the job correctly. Instead of deciding that you are just too stupid, go ask for help, go to your boss for clarification, look at other examples of a similar project and quickly gather more information. As you are doing that, find a verse in the Bible and wrap it around yourself like a belt. Let it work down deep into your heart and soul, your gut. Each time the lie returns, repel it with the truth. It will take work at first, but as you practice, it will become easier and easier. You’ll be more aware of how you feel and how you are meant to feel and will choose the best. You won’t be fighting your boss. What is the truth you are to live in?

The Power of the Armor of God

With the knowledge of who the true enemy is and the power you possess, you wrap the truth around you like a belt and go forward, sustained and upheld by it. That is the power of the armor of God.

The Power of Prayer – It Activates the Armor of God

Remember that seventh piece of armor – Prayer? It works in conjunction with the armor. It’s the activator.

“Pray always. Pray in the Spirit. Pray about everything in every way you know how! And keeping all this in mind, pray on behalf of God’s people. Keep on praying feverishly, and be on the lookout until evil has been stayed.”

This is how to use the armor of God. It is simple but we are not. We are complex human beings who seem to complicate all that surrounds us. God does not condemn us for that. He stays at our side to help us find our way back to the simplicity of His love and is fully pleased with us as we take that journey! On your way, pick up your armor. It is light as a feather and as powerful as the God who made it!

Fleda Bennie