Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Writers love metaphors because a word picture can convey so much more than just a collection of words on a page. A metaphor shows rather than tells. Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, used so well the metaphors of a soldier and his armor in Ephesians 6.
Knowing that Paul wrote Ephesians while chained to a Roman soldier in a house prison helps us understand why he used the images of a soldier and his armor as metaphors to explain growing in the Christians faith to the Ephesian believers (and to us). Paul used something he saw every day to explain what he, and we, could not see.
In his Right Now Media video What Is God’s Plan, Veggie-Tale creator Phil Vischer carries on an amusing dialog with some animated characters about God’s call to put on armor.
Phil: Does Paul really see us as warriors, like ninjas, knights, or jedi? The answer is yes. Yes, He does. Tell me, what does a ninja or a knight do before they go into battle?
Emily the Elephant: Brush their teeth?
Sam the Turtle: Eat a good breakfast?
Phil: Yeah, a good breakfast and dental hygiene matter, but what do they do right before they go into battle?
Carlos the Crab: I know this one! I’ve seen it a thousand times. They suit up. They put on their battle suits or their shining armor.
We don’t live the life of Roman soldiers (thankfully), but every day as we head out into the world, we face a battle to live for Jesus. So what do we do to “suit up?” Or do we get distracted with other things like eating a good breakfast and practicing dental hygiene?
Questions for reflection and discussion: How does the metaphor of a soldier’s armor speak to you in this modern age? How do you put on your armor every day? How easily do you forget to put your armor on? What happens then?