Derek Smith, Lead Pastor LHBC
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God
It is estimated that more than 14,500 wars have been fought from 3600 B.C. to present day. In fact, during the same time period, there have been 5,319 years of war … and only 292 years of peace. For most of those 5319 years of war the battles were won and lost through hand to hand combat. Paul and the believers in Ephesus were living under the authority and leadership of the Roman Empire and the Roman army is considered to be one of the most powerful armies ever assembled. They were known for their rigorous training regimen that made fierce and intelligent warriors out of common men. They were known for their tactical strategies for war, their flawless campaign formations, and their absolute no tolerance policy for retreat.
The Roman army was also known for the armor that each soldier wore in battle. Many historians and military researchers agree that the Roman military personal armor gave the Romans a distinct advantage over their barbarian enemies. Romans soldiers wore a linen undergarment covered by a wool garment. This one piece of wool extended down to the knees. Over this tunic they placed a breastplate which had metal covering both the front and back of the torso. This breastplate was typically made of bronze scale armor, which was both durable and lightweight which allowed for easier range of motion. At the bottom of the breastplate was a heavy belt made of connected bronze plates and leather with a buckle much like we use on belts today. Both the breastplate and at least one sword were attached and held together by this belt.
Roman soldiers wore for shoes a type of sandal that had thick leather soles that were studded with small iron nails. These spike sandals allowed for sure footing in all types of terrain. The Roman soldiers also wore a helmet typically made of bronze. This helmet had “cheek pieces” also made of bronze hinged to each side. These with secured with leather straps under the chin, and there was a “shelf” on the back of the helmet which protected the neck and shoulders from harm.
In battle there were two different types of shields that were carried as well. One was a small round shield which soldiers used to deflect arrows and hand to hand blows. The second was a large four feet tall by two feet wide shield which could be used as an entire body shield. There were times where soldiers were asked to carry these larger shields at the front lines of battle and stand shield to shield creating a temporary barrier from arrows from above or below.
Lastly, there were two types of swords that soldiers would carry. The first was a small sword, about 2 feet in length. This became the most popular amongst the Romans because of its ease of use in battle. Soldiers found that they could more effectively wound the enemy in close proximity with the small sword than wielding the much larger “slashing sword.”
It was this combination of pieces that provided for the protection and armament of the soldiers in battle and exactly what Paul has in mind here as he speaks of the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit.
Every day we enter a real battle with Satan, and Paul tells us in Romans 8 that we are more than conquerors in Christ. I’m afraid however, that today there are many more casualties of war than conquerors of war. How do we overwhelmingly conquer through Jesus?
First, we must remember that our weapons are not physical, they are spiritual (2 Cor. 10:4). We fight Satan with the name of Jesus and the Word of the Lord in prayer. Second, we must accept responsibility. As Paul says here we must “be strong in the Lord.” This means get in the fight today! Don’t sit back and let the enemy win, get in the battle for Jesus! Lastly, we must put on the armor of the redeemed, the armor of God. We must put on truth, righteousness, peace, and salvation daily. We must also deflect the devil’s darts of doubt with faith, and speak the Word of God in the face of the lies of this world.
Child of God, the victory has already been won! No matter the battles you face today they have been conquered through the shed blood and resurrection of Christ! Just put on His armor. Call on His name in prayer. Remember and live out the Word. Recognize the spiritual battles and engage. That’s how you conquer in Jesus!
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Father God, I know today I will enter the battlefield. Satan and his demons are real and they want to destroy my faith and my family. Lord Jesus today I put on Your armor. I put on Your truth, Your righteousness, Your peace, Your salvation, and I take up the shield of faith and the sword of Your Spirit. I know that I will overwhelmingly conquer through You today Jesus. In Your name I pray, amen.
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”