Week of March 31
Are You Dressed In the Whole Armor of God?
Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
- Ephesians 6:11
Not far from our personal residence is Moscow's Great Kremlin Palace. Its massive red brick walls rise to the sky with bell towers and clock towers. Its huge, famous ruby-red stars can be seen from all directions in the city of Moscow. One entire side of the Kremlin is surrounded by the beautiful and historical Red Square, which includes St. Basil's Cathedral and Lenin's tomb. Another side of the Kremlin is encompassed with the lovely, tree-lined Alexandrovski Gardens.
At the far end of that Garden is a tall tower through which thousands of tourists enter every year to visit the State Armory Museum, one of the most fabulous museums in the entire world. As a person enters the State Armory Museum, he quickly becomes mesmerized as he walks past glass-enclosed dresses spun of pure silver that formerly adorned Russian queens. He can't help but be stunned by the dazzling crowns and regalia worn by the Russian monarchy.
As the onlooker is led along the museum corridors, he looks in amazement at thrones made of ivory, covered with diamonds or spiked with precious stones. With fascination he gapes at the gold-covered, diamond-encrusted carriages that once transported various branches of the Russian royal family.
But a favorite part of the museum, especially for men, is the section that displays the heavy metal armor that was once worn in battle hundreds of years ago. Behind walls of glass, one can look at hundreds of years of metal armor, including a huge horse that is dressed in heavy metal armor from medieval times. Every time I see this armor section of the museum, I think of Paul's words in Ephesians
6:11: "Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."
The phrase "whole armor" is taken from the Greek word panoplia, and it refers to a Roman soldier who is fully dressed in his armor from head to toe. It is the word pan, which means all, combined with the word hoplos, which is the Greek word for armor. Together they form the word panoplia, which was officially recognized as the word to describe the full attire and weaponry of a Roman soldier.
Although not all-inclusive, the following list is the basic military hardware each soldier possessed:
This was the central piece of weaponry that held much of the other pieces of armor in place. In Ephesians 6:14, Paul tells us that the believer is equipped with a loinbelt of truth, referring to the written Word of God.
This was a crucial piece of weaponry that defended the heart and the central organs of the body against attack. In Ephesians 6:14, Paul informs us that in our spiritual arsenal, we have at our disposal the "breastplate of righteousness."
These specially formed pieces of metal were wrapped around the soldier's lower legs to protect him from being bruised and scraped and to defend his lower extremities from being hit hard and broken. In Ephesians 6:15, Paul refers to this vital piece of weaponry when he tells us that our feet are "…shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace."
These heavy-duty shoes of a Roman soldier were covered with thick leather on the top and fitted with hobnails on the tip of the toe and the back of the heel. They were also heavily spiked with hobnails on their undersides. Paul makes reference to these shoes in Ephesians 6:15 when he talks about our feet being "…shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace."
The shield that the Roman soldier used in battle was long, door-shaped, and covered with leather hide. It was lubricated every day by the soldier to keep it soft and flexible so arrows that struck the shield would slide off and fall to the ground rather than penetrate it. In Ephesians 6:16, Paul declares that as a believer, you are specially outfitted with a "…shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked."
The helmet of a Roman soldier, made either of brass or some other type of metal, was especially fitted to the shape of the soldier's head, thus protecting the head from receiving a mortal wound from an arrow, a sword, or an ax. In Ephesians 6:17, Paul proclaims the good news that God has provided every believer with "the helmet of salvation" to protect him against the mental assaults of the enemy.
The Roman soldier's sword, shaped similarly to a long dagger that was intended to be used in close battle, was absolutely indispensable to his ability to attack, overcome, and defeat his adversary. In Ephesians 6:17, we are taught by Paul that every believer has "…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." This sword is God's Word, specially quickened inside us to use in times when we are in close combat with the adversary.
The lance gave the Roman soldier the ability to strike his enemy from a distance; therefore, no Roman soldier would be caught without his lance. Although Paul does not specifically mention the lance in his list of weaponry in Ephesians 6, it is suggested in verse 18 when Paul writes, "Praying always.…" With the lance of prayer, each believer is able to assault the enemy from a distance, doing him so much damage that he is paralyzed in his attempts to come any nearer!
Because of Paul's many imprisonments, this was an easy illustration for Paul to use. Standing next to these illustrious soldiers during his prison internments, Paul could see the Roman soldier's loinbelt; huge breastplate; brutal shoes affixed with spikes; massive, full-length shield; intricate helmet; piercing sword; and long, specially tooled lance that could be thrown a tremendous distance to hit the enemy from afar.
Everything the soldier needed to successfully combat his adversary was at his disposal. Likewise, we have been given the whole armor of God - everything we need to successfully combat opposing forces. Nothing is lacking! Every piece of armor has great significance for us in our battle against an unseen enemy.
God has provided everything you need to successfully stand up to the devil, to resist him, and to defeat him. Will you choose to obey or ignore Paul's urgent command to "put on the whole armor of God"? Your success against an enemy that seeks every opportunity to destroy you depends on the choice you make!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Lord, how can I ever thank You enough for providing me with everything I need to successfully stand against each and every attack the devil tries to bring against my life? I thank You for loving me enough to equip me with these kinds of spiritual weapons. Because of what You have provided for me, I can stand fast, confident that I can withstand every assault, drive out the enemy, and win every battle. Without You, this would be impossible; but with Your power and the weapons You have provided for me, I am amply supplied with everything I need to push the enemy out of my way and out of my life!
I pray this in Jesus' name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I joyfully declare that I am dressed in the whole armor of God. There isn't a part of me that hasn't been supernaturally clothed and protected by the defensive and offensive weapons God has provided for me. I proceed with my loinbelt of truth; I walk in my shoes of peace; I boldly wear my breastplate of righteousness; I hold up my shield of faith; I am clad in my helmet of salvation; I make use of my sword of the Spirit; and I have a lance of intercession that deals a blow to the enemy from a distance every time I aggressively pray!
I declare this by faith in Jesus' name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- How long has it been since you took time to stop and reflect on all the weaponry that God has provided for your defense and offense against the enemy?
- Have you ever taken time to deeply study the spiritual weapons that God has supernaturally provided for you? If yes, what other steps can you take and what other books can you read to become better acquainted with this subject?
- What did you learn from reading today's Sparkling Gem that you never realized before? After you think this question through and come up with the answer, why not share it with someone else today?