Author: Tony Giovarelli (Youth Leader)
As a soccer goalie, I had four defensemen in front of me with the job of setting the line and preventing any offensive player from getting through to attempt to score. Constant communication between myself and the defensemen, allowed us to defend as one cohesive unit. If one person made a mistake, it forced someone else to attempt to cover for him and in turn, often led to the breakdown of the entire system. The importance of teamwork & all the players working together cannot be overstated. The same holds true off the field in our daily spiritual lives.
Just as offenses were scheming to break down our defense in soccer, the devil is scheming to break down our spiritual defenses. In Ephesians 6, Paul talks about putting on the full armor of God so that we can take our stand against the devil’s schemes. Paul calls on us to put on the full armor of God on a daily basis. We are to put on the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the sandals of the gospel of peace, and the helmet of salvation. We are also to take up the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit. Finally, we are told to “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests”. All of these combine to create an impenetrable defense against the flaming arrows that the evil one shoots at us.
- “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.” -Ephesians 6:10-11
Just as a mistake in soccer creates a vulnerability for the other team to exploit, failing to put on every piece of armor that God has given us can lead to a chink in our armor that the Devil can take advantage of. Therefore, it is vital that believers take up the full armor of God on a daily basis.
So what exactly is this spiritual armor and how do we equip it?
- Belt: Jesus says “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Without knowing the truth of the Bible, we cannot know the truth that is Jesus, our Lord and Savior. This is why it is of the utmost importance to put on the belt of truth & to hold on to Jesus & his words.
- Chest Piece: Through Jesus’ death on the cross we are made righteous. Our own righteousness is not sufficient to protect our heart and soul from the enemy so Jesus has given us a new breastplate, his breastplate. The breastplate of righteousness is also about choosing to live right and follow Jesus example for how to live.
- Shoes: During our day to day lives, we can be attacked at any time, which is why it is also important to make sure our feet are fitted with the readiness of the gospel of peace. This readiness means that we should constantly be vigilant and prepared. We do not know when we will be attacked, but we also do not know when an opportunity from God may arise.
- Helmet: After we have put on all our other pieces of armor, we must put on the helmet of salvation. Jesus’ death on the cross has secured our salvation. This salvation is our deliverance from sin and it is important to remember that. Our sin does not define who we are because the cross has wiped the slate clean for us.
After we have put on our suit of armor we must then take up our weapon and shield. The sword of the spirit (the Bible) can be used both to defend ourselves and to go on the offensive against evil. Knowing the Word of God can help us fend of attacks meant to cause us to sin and also allow us to fight back against these attacks. In addition, prayer is another powerful tool that God gives us for both offense & defense. Prayer can help us stand firm in the battle. Finally, we must take up the shield of faith. While Satan attempts to make us doubt, our faith in God prompts us to continue to believe. With the shield of faith we will have the ability to move more than just mountains. Through Christ, we will have the ability to change the hearts & lives of those around us.
- “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” -Hebrews 11:1
In soccer, the best defenses aren’t always the ones that have the best players. Often the best defenses are those that have great teamwork & almost appear to be connected on a string. They work together in unison to thwart advances from the opposing team and then push forward to drive the play in the opponent’s direction. A quality defense can lead to quick counter attacks and goal scoring opportunities.
The same is true with the armor of God. While armor is typically thought of as a defensive measure, taking up everything that God has put at our disposal enables us to not only withstand attacks, but also push forward on the offensive. As believers, we are God’s army charged with taking the Gospel & the message of God’s love to the world. God has given us everything we need and it is our job to make sure that we take up all the equipment we have at our disposal.
- “…. If God is for us who can be against us?” -Romans 8:31
Put Your Faith Into Action:
- Why is it important to have good teamwork with God & the people around you?
- How’s your defense? What could you do today to fully equip yourself in God’s Armor?
- How’s your offense? Is there something you need to pray about, a Bible verse you need to hold on to, or a step of faith you need to take?
Text: © 2017 LCC- F.R.O.G. Youth Ministry. Used with author’s permission * Image: © google free use license