Spiritual Enmity, Part 3

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, April 20, 2021 0 comments

by Eric Hansen

As we get to the end of the references to armor and how we can utilize that to further our spiritual walk with God in Ephesians 6:10-20, we also see a reduced focus on us and more on others. I’ll also explain a little bit as to why I’m considering the rest of the passage as the metaphorical back armor for each item individually. Refer to my previous post for the first items of armor in this passage.

Shield of Faith
Each piece of armor Paul mentions protects at least one particular part of the body. Faith, being represented as a shield, can in fact cover the entire body. The shield Paul mentions isn’t one that you would strap to your arm but instead is something you would often carry on your back. However, it was just as effective if you brought it to your front, and if you lined up with fellow soldiers, you could create a barrier of sorts (Luke 10:1-3).

Our faith is just as powerful, but it also takes the most damage and needs the most repair after the battle is over. It is important to note that the shield often acts as an umbrella for the helmet of salvation, breastplate of righteousness, etc. to the point you often lose your faith before anything else goes.

We see this a lot in people who leave Christianity. It is very common to have the conversation of “why” to start with “I started struggling with believing” (or having faith). It then escalates from there, where we lose our footing and our belt of knowing what is objective truth.

Interestingly enough, the curve that these shields typically took on was formed by bonding three layers of thin wood strips (see Ecclesiastes 4:12) then covered in leather or linen. This meant that the shield was held with such importance that it was designed to take all the damage before breaking. The materials used, including the bronze to strengthen the bond of wood strips, were made with precision to be of optimal efficiency.

Helmet of Salvation
Now when we think of helmets, it can be tough to associate them with “back armor.” Even the shield can be a stretch until you better visualize just how it was used effectively. The helmet covered virtually every part of a soldier’s head, leaving only the eyes, nose and mouth exposed for vision and breathing. It often even went as far as covering the shoulders and neck, leaving little area for exposure. It is also one of the first things you would see of a soldier, as they wore it proudly and without fear, relying on it for its utmost protection.

Salvation should be held to such high regard as well from each and every Christian. We should sport it like we do our materialistic purchases. In the world today, we see pictures of Roman guards with weird feather-y material on the top of their helmets and we think it’s nothing, but in reality it was a soldier’s crown. The more visual it was the higher their rank, which did nothing but increase their ego. This is why I say we should sport our salvation as such; this is not to boost our ego, but to glorify God with such magnificence that people will stop in wonder. We need to be proud of who we are (a Christian, a child of God) and who we know (God).

The helmet is the last article of armor Paul listed that was strictly known for defense. That doesn’t diminish its importance to the overall picture, though.

Sword of the Spirit
When we think of a sword, we often think of attacking, letting it all out in a slash to push back the enemy. But what if I told you Roman soldiers would not just attack but also use a sword as a means of defense as well? A soldier would waive their sword to also warn their enemy to retreat or else an attack will be coming.

Along with additional support of deflecting attacks, this is how Paul instructs us to use our sword. We have to remember that the Holy Spirit is part of the triune God, meaning the Spirit is one of the three elements of the God-head and can help us withstand the attacks that evil throws at us. But we have to use the sword of the Spirit wisely. If we start lashing out wildly and without care, we can easily hurt those around us or even ourselves.

This isn’t armor or a weapon, at least not in a physical sense. It isn’t something we can manifest into some tangible means. Even better, though, it is something we can utilize every moment we are in and out of enmity.

God is the one who tells us what to do, guiding and directing us. We are not the chief in command but soldiers helping win the war with every step we take. The only way we know what our next order is, however, is by communicating with our commander and asking, “What is next?” This isn’t a question of doubt or exhaustion, but of reverence and understanding that even if we may grow weary, our commander is right there ahead of us with the answer already. What better war can we ever hope to be in than one where we already know who the victor is?

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