Two Sides of the Battle PT3
In part one, we discussed the war which is raging all around us and the players within it. We are part of this war…we are an important part of this war to GOD. GOD loves us deeply. So, we are given weapons to war against the dark side. These are opposite of the kinds of weapons which the fallen angels gave us…which teach us to war against one another instead of the darkness.
In part two, we touched on some of the manifestations which one might see if a demon is harassing someone.
Part three, we shall see some valuable armor pieces used to battle the evil around us.
Basics in the “ARMOR OF GOD”
Paul addresses the Armor of GOD in Ephesians 6, where he talks about ‘putting on’ the armor. But what does this mean? Is it a physical or spiritual armor? It’s both. Following Isaiah’s lead (Isa 59), Paul drew a powerful comparison between a soldier’s armor and the spiritual armor of GOD.
The Bible describes unseen spiritual battles, with the titanic battle in the end of age. Satan and his demons are invisible, and they master in camouflaging not only themselves, but their techniques.
Stand therefore having girded your waist with truth…
When a soldier wore his belt, it signifies that he was ready for battle, since he only loosened it when he went off duty. The belt—known as the cingulum or balteus—held the Roman soldier’s scabbard and sword. The belt provided a place to house the sword and carry it into battle effectively.
Truth is to surround us…like a belt. The belt is the first piece of armor. It secures all other pieces in place so it protects us against all of Satan’s lies and deceptions. The idea of absolute truth is inseparable from the life of Jesus Christ, and from The Bible. Jesus Christ defined Himself as “the way, the truth, and the life”! The truth shall set you free.
We must be completely honest with ourselves! And knowing GOD’S Truth which is The Word of GOD is very important for peace of mind.
Having put on the breastplate of righteousness…
Soldiers of that time had another piece of protective armor to ward off enemy blows—the shield. But during the heat of battle, those blows could come from unexpected directions, or there could be too many to ward off with just a shield. The breastplate provided protection against the unexpected and against overwhelming numbers.
The breastplate worn by Roman soldiers was generally made of iron, though some wealthier soldiers may have worn a bronze breastplate. It consisted of overlapping pieces of metal with connecting front and back sections. There were rounded pieces protecting the shoulders and the breastplate usually rested on the soldier’s hips so the entire weight wasn’t carried on the shoulders. The overlapping pieces allowed for more flexibility of movement. This piece of armor protected the vital organs of the soldier during battle.
Paul was very decisive about our righteousness because he knew it opened the door to attacks. Doing what is right in the eyes of GOD is to obey GOD’S laws of love.
And having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace…
During the time of the apostle Paul, the shoes worn by the soldiers of the Roman Empire were called caligae. They were specifically designed to keep soldiers’ feet healthy during the rigors of long forced marches and were very different from the sandals worn by most of the populace.
The shoes were constructed from three layers of leather, which were pulled up and laced around the ankle. The caligae helped protect against blisters and foot diseases. In addition, small spikes or iron hobnails were often driven into the soles of the shoes in order to give firm footing on uneven terrain.
A soldier’s shoes formed the foundation of his armament. In those days, the foot soldiers of the empire relied on walking as their primary means of transportation, so the ability to move easily and comfortably was a necessity for them. In addition, they needed to be able to step about in battle without thinking about where they placed their feet. They needed solid footing in order to concentrate on the battle at hand.
All metaphoric for preaching upon a firm foundation.
SHIELD OF FAITH
Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one…
The Roman shield, or scutum, was a central part of the soldier’s defense. The scutum was rectangular in shape and rounded on the ends. It was typically made from two sheets of wood that were glued together, then covered with canvas and leather. The canvas and leather could be doused with water to protect against flaming arrows.
The shield weighed about 22 pounds and was roughly 37 to 42 inches high and 27 to 33 inches across. A metal piece ran across the center of the shield, so it could also be used as a weapon to punch or push forward.
When our relationship with GOD is strong, our faith is powerful. Without this Satan is able to create strongholds.
And take the helmet of salvation…
When a soldier of the apostle Paul’s day suited up for battle, the helmet was the last piece of the armament to be put in place. In fact, without the helmet, a soldier would be so vulnerable that the rest of the armor would be of little use. Paul’s statement “take the helmet of salvation” is the shortest description given to any of the pieces of armor—it required almost no explanation in terms of its value.
The Roman helmet, known as a galea, could vary quite a bit in design, since mass manufacturing didn’t exist at that time and each helmet was created individually. There was also some variation in the helmet design over time during the life of the empire. Usually the helmets were made of metal, though poorer soldiers or soldiers from the early days of the empire may have had leather helmets fortified with pieces of metal.
The most obvious value of the helmet was to protect against blows to the head.
Helmets usually had cheek plates to guard against blows to the face, and a metal piece in the back to protect against blows to the back of the neck. In addition, during the early first century the helmets began to include a brow ridge to provide protection for the eyes.
Every action begins with thought, and our thoughts need to be centered in line with GOD’S Word and commandments. To be in the right mind, gives us peace of mind knowing that GOD will deliver HIS promises.
Our salvation is of tremendous value! Jesus Christ gave His life so that we may be able to have it. This is an incredible sacrifice given to us. This salvation gives us hope which protects our minds from the discouragement and despair of the world around us.
SWORD OF THE SPIRIT
The sword of the spirit, which is the word of God…
The first five elements of the Christian armor are defensive pieces—armament the Christian can use to defend against spiritual attack. Why would an offensive weapon be listed with the other pieces of armor? What use should a Christian make of it?
The sword used by Roman soldiers was known as a gladius; and in the hands of a skilled man, it was a fearsome weapon. In fact, it became known as “the sword that conquered the world.” It was sharpened on both sides, making it lethal against an unarmored foe. The point was also sharpened, enabling it to pierce armor.
An infantryman in the Roman legions would also go into battle with a dagger, a few spears and possibly a few darts. But the gladius was the only offensive weapon listed by Paul, and it was the main weapon in the soldier’s arsenal.
Paul defines the sword of the Spirit as the “word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). This isn’t the only place where God’s Word (the Bible) is described as a sword. The author of Hebrews also makes reference to it: “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:12-13).
The Word of God is even sharper than the gladius! It is capable of piercing to the deepest levels of one’s heart and attitude, and it is also a tool of discernment in the hands of the skilled user.
This is our only offensive weapon. The sword won’t stay sharp because over time it becomes dull. This is metaphorical for the fact that The Word of GOD is something we must continually sharpen by regular and focused Bible study.
Hebrews 4:12 explains: “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
THE POWER OF PRAYER
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit…
It’s important to note that Paul ends with this as an encouragement to us to pray fervently. We are to pray for ourselves and others, and for the work of the mission to spread the gospel.
The Bible and prayer are the most powerful of all tools given to us for combating Satan’s weapons.