The Bible says to “put on the full armor of God.” Though this might seem like a call for military action, it’s merely a memory aid to help people remember key items needed to prevail in spiritual conflict, namely: truth, righteousness, sharing the gospel, faith, salvation, and the word of God (the only offensive tool of the group).
Paul, in Ephesians 6:11-17, paints a word picture using the soldier of the day (with which readers would have been most familiar) connecting his essential gear with these key spiritual elements. To recall Paul’s list, readers needed only to envision a soldier in uniform, associating each spiritual element with its physical counterpart:
- Belt: truth
- Breastplate: righteousness (that is, right living)
- Shoes: a readiness to share the gospel of peace
- Shield: faith
- Helmet: salvation
- Sword: the word of God (depending on interpretation, this can be the written word or the spoken word of God)
It’s not about a physical fight (which many have missed throughout the ages) but instead a spiritual conflict for which followers of Jesus must be prepared to engage in using truth, righteousness, sharing the gospel, faith, salvation, and the word of God.