Stand on guard: The weapons of Defense
As we move through Ephesians 6 Paul begins to outline the rest of the armour. I see the first weapons as weapons of Defense and the second weapons as Offense.
I’m not sure if Defense is the right word for it but the first pieces of armour are simply to prepare us for battle and give us the protection we need. A better word might be protection or covering. These are foundational elements to the armour of God.
Belt of Truth
First and foremost we have the belt of truth. We are to learn God’s truth and bind ourselves with it. In a roman suit of armour the different pieces of armour were actually fastened to the belt to keep everything in place during battle. Your belt was an essential piece of armour. Without it a soldier would be left vulnerable to attacks. The truth of scripture is foundational to your walk with Christ. Make sure that you start with that.
Facts, Faith, Feeling
Many times when I work with students they struggle to understand if God is truly working in their lives because they don’t feel Him. It’s a common misunderstanding that when Christ is at work in our lives we will somehow know it by the tingling feelings of of joy and peace. We need to look first to the Facts of what God has done and is doing in our lives. We know this to be true because he promised it in his word. Those are the facts. When our feelings are up we will be confident in our salvation, and when our feelings are down we can also be confident in our salvation. That is why the Belt of truth is so important to our faith because it reassures us of the facts that God loves us and died for us.
Breastplate of righteousness
The breastplate of righteousness protects your heart where God’s word is written by the Holy Spirit. When we believe in Jesus Christ and accept him as our Saviour and Lord, God credits his righteousness to our account. Then when God looks at us, he doesn’t see our sin and imperfection, he sees Christ’s righteousness. (See Romans 3:22-24 and 4:2-3) It is God’s grace accepted by our faith in Jesus Christ that makes us righteous in God’s eyes. (2 Timothy 1:9 and Ephesians 2:8-10)
It is not our good deeds that save us, but God’s grace. If we are children of God, the result of our salvation and the work of the Holy Spirit in us is good works. In James 2:20-24 we learn that good works and a righteous lifestyle are evidences of true faith, which come after we are saved.
The breastplate of righteousness represents Christ’s righteousness – our holy standing before God – and our changed heart, which results in righteous deeds and righteous living.
I remember as a child trying to stand up in the Vancouver subway. I was falling all over the place while my older brother assumed the 3 point stance that he learned in basketball and he was secure. That’s what this next piece of armour is all about. Standing ready for action because our feet are ready and prepared.
The gospel of peace is the story of Christ’s death and resurrection; it’s a story of hope amidst incredible pain and tragedy. It is our hope and truth that we hold on to in dark times. The gospel story is what the world needs. We are capable of bringing the truth of the gospel to the world. How will we get there? By putting one foot in front of the other? That is why in Isaiah 52:7 it says, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings…”
Are your feet prepared to bring the gospel of peace to the world?
As we look at the next set of weapons in the armour of God we need to understand that in order for us to truly enter the battle that rages before us we will need weapons in our arsenal.
A preacher once said, “If you are not planning to fight in the spiritual battle that rages all around you at least carry bullets.” What he meant was arm yourself so that you can help someone else gain victory even if you yourself are not willing to fight.
I believe that whether we like it or not this battle will come to us and we need to be prepared. Last year we had over 100 guests come out to our Activate Arena nights, and we presented Youth Alpha to over 400 students in the Edmonton area. As more students come to know, love and serve Jesus Christ we will have more trouble from our common enemy.
So get prepared and put on the armour of God.
A practical understandable way to put on the full armour of God
To prepare our students for this series we handed out this one page poem that we wrote that simply walks us through a prayer of putting on the full armour of God.
Feel free to share it with your youth ministry. To further emphasize our desire for our students to take this seriously we built a youtube video so that students could pray through this prayer every morning. Feel free to share it with your students.