Training and preparation produce confidence. An army moves assuredly when they have studied the enemy, understand the terrain, and are properly suited up. Battle readiness produces victory. To be battle ready we need the right gear. We have learned that the belt of truth allows us to move freely without stumbling. The breastplate of righteousness protects our heart and keep us on the right path. Today, let’s consider additional components of our battle gear—the shoes, the shield, and the helmet.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil . . . Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation….
The shoes referred to by Paul are the Roman soldier’s half-boots. It was made of leather and left the toes free. The boots were strapped to the shins and the ankles. The studded soles provided surefootedness for mobility and the ability to stand strong in hand-to-hand combat. For believers, our surefootedness comes from the gospel—the good news of Jesus and the life we have in him. Our peace comes from the fact that the battle has already been won. God defeated the enemy through Jesus at the cross (Colossians 2:15). Jesus came to “destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). We stand firm, knowing that nothing can separate us from the love of God. Are your shoes strapped on?
The soldier’s shield was made of two pieces of wood glued together and covered, first with linen and then with leather. Shields were specifically designed to stop and snuff out the fire from arrows that had been dipped in pitch, set aflame, and launched by expert archers. The believer’s shield is not made of wood, linen, and leather but constructed of faith—our confident trust in the eternal God. Satan will shoot flaming arrows of doubt, disappointment, and desire. But those arrows are blocked and extinguished by our confidence that God is and will always be on our side. Is your shield of faith in place?
The Roman soldier’s helmet was made of bronze or iron and lined inside with felt or sponge to make the weight bearable. Nothing short of an axe at close distance could pierce this piece of armor. Our helmet is our salvation. We have been rescued from the losing side to the winning side, from darkness to light. One commentator writes, “That which adorns and protects the Christian, which enables him to hold up his head with confidence and joy, is the fact that he is saved.” Believers know that our salvation is secure for eternity. That allows us to fight in freedom. Is your helmet secure?
The battle is real. We are no match for the enemy on our own. Help us understand our vulnerability when we fight without you and without your gear. Remind us that the battle is yours, and you provide everything we need. Help us always be battle ready. In Jesus’ name. Amen.