Summary of passage: Paul says to stand firm with the belt of truth around your waist, the breastplate of righteousness in place, and your feet ready from the gospel of peace. Use the shield of faith to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Use the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit (word of God) in battle. Pray on all occasions and be alert always.
6a) Belt of truth; Breastplate of righteousness; feet of readiness; shield of faith; helmet of salvation; sword of the Spirit.
Purely from the battle standpoint: a belt holds the armor in place and most likely holds the scabbard of the sword or perhaps a knife. It contains the tools needed in order to fight the enemy. The breastplate protects the vital organs: heart, lungs, stomach: everything you need to survive day-to-day. A soldier is mostly on his feet (unless he’s calvary which not many were in Ancient Rome). It was important to protect your feet so you can maneuver, march, and face the enemy in battle.
The shield was used mainly in hand-to-hand combat to fend off the enemy’s sword, arrows, etc. It was another form of protection against the enemy. The helmet protected the head, the brain if you will, another vital organ necessary for survival. The sword was perhaps the most important piece in a soldier’s retinue. For without it, how else would he kill the enemy? The rest were for defense. This was his offensive weapon.
If you read about other cultures, some carried nothing more than their sword. The Ancient Celts for example would fight naked with only a sword and sometimes a shield. They were so confident in their abilities that they didn’t need protection. It was also used as a battle tactic to unnerve the enemy and they also didn’t have enough armor for everyone.
This is what we must be. So confident in God that the rest, while serving a purpose in their own right, is superfluous when compared to God, His word, and His powers.
b) Belt of truth: use God’s truths as weapons. If you know God’s truths, you cannot be deceived by the devil’s lies.
Breastplate of righteousness: if you’ve accepted Jesus into your life, you are righteous before God. We can now stand with God and are not separate. We can use God’s power in our lives against the devil.
Feet of readiness: by knowing and studying God’s word and praying and drawing closer to God we can be ready for any attack by the devil. Isaiah tells us to use our feet to spread the Good News to others so that they too can be ready.
Shield of faith: if we have absolute faith in God, He will protect us from any attack. Like Paul said, God always offers us a way out when faced with sin (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Helmet of salvation: God has granted us salvation. We do not have to work for it or sell our soul to receive it. We can not believe the lie the devil tells us such as we are not good enough to enter the kingdom of Heaven for we know we are.
Sword of the Spirit: Paul tells us this is the word of God. We can use God’s words like Jesus did in Matthew 4 to defeat the devil. He is powerless against God’s truths. His lies fall away before it.
I like the picture of wrapping ourselves in a cloak. I picture this as a form of protection for the whole body, a way to bring warmth into our bodies, a shield of sorts that completely blocks out everything else around you. Also, I tend to think of cloaking as hiding. Paul mentions that we must stand firm but if we are not ready I see hiding as an acceptable alternative. We can take a “break” from this world, from whatever temptation we are failing, and face it again at another time when we are stronger. This doesn’t apply to every situation but retreating from the brokenness of this world is a viable alternative. Taking a step back to grow with God so we are stronger the next time around.
Paul mentions love and hope in 1 Thessalonians. The devil hates love. We can defeat him by loving others and our enemies. Love will defeat hate. Hope is key too. For we will fail in some of these trials. But if we have hope we can believe that the next battle we will win and then next one after that and so on and so forth until the day comes we can win all of our battles.
7a) Stand your ground (verse 13), flaming arrows (verse 16), praying (verse 18). 3 methods: standing your ground, defending against arrows, and praying (non-violence)
b) Personal Question. My answer: Not give into temptations by standing firm in our faith. Shielding ourselves against attacks by being prepared for it. Be active in our faith not passive. And pray. Pray for God’s power to come and use God’s words to defeat the enemy. Give God the control.
Conclusions: I’ll be the first to admit: I completely forgot about beautiful feet in Isaiah and we just read it last year! Amazing how we have to keep revisiting God’s words so it is sown into our hearts and never leaves.
As a history buff, I loved this armor analogy. Since the Fall man has been in constant strife and it’s interesting to see how man has devised ways to fight the enemy. Even us civilians can use armor in our daily battles.
For me, it comes down to preparing ourselves for every attack (which is daily) that comes against us. And when the attack comes fight back and stand firm. We cannot become complacent for then the devil will seize that moment and we will be defeated. We must always be ready to fight (like a soldier is) and enter the battle with full faith we will win (faith and trust in God).