I seldom walk without a Taser in my back pocket.

I’ve discharged it a few times, too—only at dogs, but I’m prepared to zap a human attacker if I need to.

So far the sound alone has been enough to make a menacing canine think twice about coming any closer. The intimidating electric crackle has stopped every dog in its tracks; most turn tail and run. It’s been an effective defensive weapon to protect my dog, Winston, and me as we take our morning walk.

Sometimes, though, I forget to slip it into my pocket as I leave the house. When I reach for it, it’s not there. Other times I’ve neglected to charge it, and when I need it, it’s useless. After a dog attacked Winston one morning a year ago, I became more aware of the need for protection.

Unfortunately, I’m not always as conscious or as careful about protecting myself against another type of attack—a spiritual one.

I suspect I’m vulnerable physically as I walk the streets of my neighborhood, but I know with certainty I’m vulnerable spiritually. First Peter 5:8 describes Satan, the enemy of my soul, as a roaring lion, prowling about, seeking whom he might destroy. He’s the ruler of this world and has buried IEDs everywhere. These destructive weapons have the capability to hurt, maim, and kill my family, my marriage, my witness, my ministry, and even my soul.

And you are equally vulnerable.

The good news is that just like I have a Taser for physical protection, I also have an arsenal of spiritual weapons. I have:

The helmet of salvation (Eph 6:17). This protects my soul from spending eternity separated from God.

The breastplate of righteousness (Eph. 6:14). The moment I surrender myself to him, Christ drapes his mantle of righteousness over my filthy rags of self-effort. My responsibility from this point on is to walk in righteousness by yielding myself to God (Romans 12). Righteous living protects me from sinful behavior and its consequences.

The shield of faith (Eph 6:16). Faith is believing in God based on his character and what he has done in the past. Faith protects me from despair and hopelessness. Faith is also an offensive weapon with which I can storm the gates of hell on behalf of Kingdom work.

The sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17). A sword is always an offensive weapon, and with the sword of the Spirit I can battle the forces of darkness. The Spirit prays for me when I don’t know how, teaches me God’s truth, and fills me with courage.

The belt of truth (Eph 6:14). Truth is every Word that comes from God. Truth helps us advocate for the helpless, champion for right, and understand how we should live in this crooked and perverse generation. Truth speaks difficult things boldly yet tenderly, and is always governed by God’s love.

Shoes fitted with the readiness of the Gospel (Eph. 6:15). Everywhere we go, the Gospel should mark our steps, determine our course, and govern our actions. When we wear Gospel shoes, we notice where God is at work and join him.

But like my Taser, left behind on the table, these weapons can’t protect us unless we carry them with us. How do we do this?