We all have a need for many different kind of protection, i.e. from the sun’s rays, cold temperatures, car wrecks (by using seat belts and car seats), from burglars and computer hackers, etc. (Unfortunately, sometimes our best attempts at protection fail.)
We especially need spiritual protection, provided by God, and God’s protection will not fail us.
Verses 10-13 – Commanded to stand by receiving God’s powerful protection
Verses 14-17 – A description of God’s protection (his armor)
Verses 18-20 – Commanded to pray
Our enemies: The devil, rulers, powers; world forces of this darkness, spiritual forces of
wickedness. These sound like formidable opponents. They are working
against our spirituality and our relationships. Paul believed that these
forces were a reality.
We need the armor of God to be able to stand strong against our spiritual enemies. The
Roman shields were large and rectangular, big enough to offer substantial protection for
the soldier carrying it.
Ephesians 6:16 (cf. Proverbs 26:18-28) – Proverbs likens evil speech to fire. Such
destructive messages will come against us. The fiery arrows seem to be Satan’s lies.
Lobsters carry the protection of a hard shell with them. We need to receive the protection
that God offers.
The armor of God is given in these verses in this order:
gospel of peace (shoes)
word of God (sword)
Notice that three of these six spiritual protections have to do with God’s word:
gospel of peace
word of God
These words and phrases emphasize that God seeks to communicate with us. (Satan
attempts to communicate his lies.)
Therefore we might notice the following connections:
Truth makes possible righteousness. Truth is enduring, unchanging. Truth is essential for righteousness.
The gospel of peace is intended to produce faith (Romans 10:17), which results in
salvation. The gospel must be responded to with faith. Faith is essential for salvation.
This leads to joy and eternal hope.
The word of God is called “the sword of the Spirit.” Who really controls this sword?
Even though God has given us his word, isn’t this passage saying that the sword
belongs to the Holy Spirit and that he maintains control over it? Doesn’t the Spirit
determine the effects of the word in the human heart? How often do we see ourselves
hanging onto the sword’s handle and wielding the word? Maybe we need to place
ourselves more on the blade’s end and allow the word to work its power on us and in us.
John 14:16-17, 26 – Jesus was about to leave, but the coming Holy Spirit would never
leave. He would be doing a powerful work in the lives of believers through the word.
John 16:7-8 – Holy Spirit will convict us regarding the most important issues.
2 Corinthians 3:2-3 – The Holy Spirit communicates to human hearts, transforms hearts,
leaves marks there.
Hebrews 4:12-13 – Reading the Bible is unlike any other book. The Holy Spirit gives
life, energy and animation to the word of God. God is the perfect surgeon, cutting away
what is destructive in our hearts. This passage is in the context of warnings about the
seriousness of sin.
These three references to God’s word can also be seen as each emphasizing a characteristic of God’s nature:
Truth points to God’s holiness. This inspires, encourages and enables us to pursue righteousness with God’s help.
The gospel of peace seems to point to God’s love and mercy. In love God reaches out to us with the Good News.
The word of God can be seen as emphasizing God’s authority. This is why we need to be
willing to be at the sharp end of the sword. Our greatest strength comes from submitting
to the word, not by taking “fencing lessons” and trying to use the sword against others.
God’s word penetrates the darkness that results from Satan’s lies.
Pray at all times in the Spirit… (cf. Romans 8:26-27). We need to open our hearts in
prayer. We never pray alone because of the Spirit’s presence in our lives.
Paul offers closing comments regarding peace, love and faith, and grace. What better
blessings could be bestowed on any of us? God is offering these very things in this
spiritual armor that protects us against evil.
—Robert Lee, 4-15-07, a.m.