The Armor of God
Ephesians 1:2 - Phillipians 1:21
There is a huge gully just behind my neighborhood.
The rolling hills are covered with trees and bushes, and a river runs along the bottom.
It is a magical place, and on summer afternoons if you look carefully you can see the neighborhood boys hidden amongst the trees and bushes in a serious game of paintball.
A few months ago Megan and I were driving down the gully road and happened to pass by a group of boys walking into the thick vegetation with paintball guns slung over their shoulders.
We took a quick glance as we drove by, and then both of us burst out laughing.
“You HAVE to go back,” Megan begged, “you HAVE to get a picture of that.”
So I turned around and drove back. By now the boys had disappeared into the trees, so Megan and her friend started to yell, “Will the boy with the handmade armor please come out so we can get a picture of you?”
Turns out that this boy’s friend spent an entire Sunday fabricating this armor for him.
It had moving elbow and shoulder pieces, and protection for the entire upper body.
He wore it so that he wouldn’t get hurt if the paintballs found their mark.
When I saw him I was reminded of the scripture in Ephesians 6 and a quote by Elder Packer…
“Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil…wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…”
(Eph 6:10-17 emphasis added.)
The armor the Lord has provided for His Saints living in the last days is unique in the fact that it can be personally designed and fitted with each warrior in mind. Elder Packer explains that “this shield of faith is handmade in a cottage industry… it is fabricated and fitted in the home, handcrafted to each individual.”
I love the thought of armor that is handcrafted to fit each individual, just like the boy fabricated the cardboard armor for his friend.
With that in mind think for a moment of your weaknesses, and then consider your strengths.
How can the armor of God be handcrafted and fitted to become more of a protection to you personally? This process is crucial, because as Elder Talmage explains "the armor is important, but the man within is vulnerable if he can be reached." (Jesus The Christ pg. 126)
That is why it is essential that we take upon us the whole armor, not just the parts we think we need. At the end of verse 13 there is an interesting phrase, “having done all, to stand.” To me, having done all means taking upon us the whole armor, or in other words, the full protection of the Lord.
To receive this full protection we must be willing to consider each piece of the Lord’s combat equipment on a regular basis. It is essential that each piece of equipment becomes familiar to us, for God gives the full resource of protection to those who follow Him.
If we close closely we will find that the scripture in Ephesians speaks of six levels of protection: truth, righteousness, preparation in the gospel, faith, salvation, and the spirit, which is the word of God.
Now, consider your own situation.
Are you implementing all six levels of protection into your life daily? Does the communication you allow into your mind invite truth, righteousness, and the Spirit? Are you setting aside time every day to study the gospel, to read the word of God, to understand salvation?
If these six pieces of armor are our greatest protection, it becomes vital to implement them into our daily routine.
Have you ever taken the time to notice that the armor of the Lord is mainly centered on a frontal attack? It consists of a covering for the loins, a shield, a helmet, shoes, a sword, and a breastplate.
What happens if the enemy comes from behind?
In Isaiah 58:8 we find the answer, “and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward.” (Isaiah 58:8 emphasis added) The footnote for rereward explains that it can be defined as rearguard.
The Lord will not leave us to fight the battle alone.
He has promised to guard us from the things we don’t foresee.
He has our back.
The world we live in is dangerous, the battle rages all around us, but as Saints we are encouraged to “endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” (2 Timothy 2:3) Becoming a good soldier of Jesus Christ will require us to put on the full protection of the Lord.
We must surround ourselves with that which builds truth, increases righteousness, and solidifies our preparation in the gospel.
We must handcraft and fit our armor with faith, focused on salvation, as we are led by the Spirit.
Then we can stand in righteousness, knowing the Lord is behind us.