Helmet of salvation: The centurion soldiers wore helmets with horse hair on them to signify manliness. The helmet was, of course, to protect the head. After all, you can’t live without it, and you have only one!
Paul is using this concept, symbolically, to teach us that we are to protect our heads, or rather our thoughts, by agreeing only with God. Having a head without useful ideas and productive thoughts is like not having a head at all or, at a minimum, not using your head.
In Isaiah 55:9 we are told that God’s thoughts are higher than ours. That’s reassuring! Accessing higher thoughts comes in very handy when perplexity argues with consciousness, and there seems to be no resolution.
Reaching for divine wisdom and supreme intelligence makes for a good head on your shoulders. And that’s where we’d like to keep it!
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” Philippians 2:5
Breastplate of Righteousness: Soldiers needed to protect their vital organs which includes the heart, so they wore a heart guard or a breastplate. Paul is using this analogy to emphasize the importance of symbolically safeguarding what is vital. However, unlike just strapping the material armor on, understanding this analogy requires gaining a higher understanding in mind.
The word “righteousness” that Paul uses here means “justice, justness, righteousness, righteousness of which God is the source or author, but practically: a divine righteousness.” http://biblehub.com/greek/1343.htm
In Proverbs it is written in Chapter 2:2-5, “So that your ear is attentive to [skillful and godly] wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding [seeking it conscientiously and striving for it eagerly]; 3 Yes, if you cry out for insight, And lift up your voice for understanding; 4 If you seek skillful and godly wisdom as you would silver. And search for her as you would hidden treasures; 5 Then you will understand the [reverent] fear of the Lord [that is, worshiping Him and regarding Him as truly awesome] And discover the knowledge of God” (AMP).
Remaining composed and spiritually poised and not so easily beset by the human conditions that challenge us is not easy to achieve. However, it is healthier and wiser, for protecting the heart is most necessary. In Proverbs 4:23, it is written, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (KJV).
The Shield of Faith Wherewith you are able to Quench the Fiery Darts of the Wicked: Roman Centurions used shields made of layered wood that was then covered with leather. In the center of the shield was a spindle shaped metal piece that provided the soldier added protection and weaponry when using the shield for punching his opponent.
In this case, the apostle Paul is suggesting using a weapon of faith, which represents the ultimate form of protection. A shield of faith cannot be penetrated by the fiery darts of fear, anger, human hatred, hostility, condemnation, ridicule, jealousy, deceit, murder, and such like these.
Wood and metal can be broken-down and ultimately destroyed leaving the person exposed to death. However, unmovable faith is the ultimate knowing that the things that are temporal can never reach the things that are immaterial.
“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4
The Sword of Spirit: Unlike the material sword which was used by soldiers to kill, this sword brings a renewal and revival into one’s life. It represents the word of God. In Hebrews 4:12, Paul explains, “12 For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged [a]sword, penetrating as far as the division of the [b]soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart” (AMP).
The Holy Spirit of God uses this sword symbolically, to prepare one’s heart to receive His word. The result enables the individual to intuitively and naturally act against sin rather than in favor of it.
In the gospel of John 1:1, he wrote, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” 1(NIV).
Loins Girt About with Truth: “To have the belt of truth around your waist” This was a belt made of leather straps which was worn under the breastplate and was essential for the whole armor to stay in place. It was needed to house the sword of Spirit. These leather straps also acted as added protection for the soldier, especially in areas he was more vulnerable.
Symbolically, Paul wants spiritual warriors to be prepared to take on the battle at any given moment, and without this belt, the rest of the armor would be inadequate.
“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” 1 Peter 3:15.
Feet Shod with the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace: In Luke 2:14, it is written “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those who have his good will!” (GW)
Peace, a very precious commodity which is why it seems too difficult to obtain, requires entertaining heavenly-minded concepts. Peace, often more times than not, seems almost impossible to reach let alone maintain. The inner battle, flesh versus Spirit, is ongoing and feels relentless. However, hope resides in our understanding of God and our relationship with Him, securing our future in His eternal home. The avenue to endurance is a pathway of peace. With each step we take, gentle in stride, we truly can overcome the temptations to feed the beastly hunger of the flesh and instead demonstrate unanimity.
Romans 12:18 “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” ESV
EVERY DAY, be sure to put this armor on, to be prepared in every way possible in guarding yourself with the full protection of divinity!
ESV-English Standard Version
KJV-King James Version
GW-God’s Word Translation
1 NIV-New International Version, Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.