Hi, welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host for the Daily Challenges. Yesterday we read about the protection God gives us against evil – which Paul described using the imagery of armour – like a belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes of readiness given by the gospel of peace, a shield of faith, a helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit.
He’s describing the typical kit of a Roman soldier, which he’d have been familiar with as a well-travelled Roman citizen. As he wrote Ephesians, he was actually a Roman prisoner, so a soldier was always nearby.
First, the belt. It would actually have been part of the soldier’s underwear, that gathered his tunic together, so he could march or run without it in the way. It also held his sword. Wearing a belt meant being ready for action – ready to run – ready to fight. For Christians, this is truth. Knowing and loving God’s truth means you’re ready for whatever comes your way in life. You are equipped to make wise decisions, figure out where to learn more, even if you encounter a new situation.
Second is the breastplate of righteousness. This is the most familiar piece of armour we might think about when we imagine a knight or soldier. The hard plate that protects the body’s most vital organs. In this case, it’s righteousness. Usually this refers to “living right” in God’s way. Being obedient to his commandments is a natural place to start. Aiming for a life of righteousness acts as protection, because evil can sneak in through guilt over a hypocritical life. Better to aim for consistency and obedience, so evil doesn’t get through the defences. Of c course, this is impossible on our own, but if we put on the armor of God’ righteousness, that makes us righteous even when we are not, we are protected. This is about taking on the righteousness God gave to us, rather than trying to be self-righteous!
The boots or shoes come next. For a Roman soldier, his boots helped him travel long distances on roman roads to expand or protect the Roman frontier, within which was the Roman “peace”. For a Christian, the footwear is all about the gospel or good news of Jesus, and expanding its frontier of true peace. The good news needs those willing to spread the word, and they need to be ready to travel to the ends of the earth.
The next one is really descriptive – the shield of faith that repels the flaming arrows of the evil one! Have you ever had an evil thought just pop into your head, seemingly out of nowhere, but at the worst possible time? When you were at your weakest and most vulnerable? It’s no mistake; this is an attack on your righteousness! This shield extinguishes those flaming arrows that would throw you off your game.
A helmet comes next – probably bronze or iron for a Roman soldier. For a Christian, it’s a helmet of salvation. This one seems clear – the Christian needs to know that they are saved, that God has saved them from the worst possible fate already. They can confidently walk into anything, knowing they are guaranteed a place in God’s kingdom because of what Jesus has done.
Finally, there is the sword – the only offensive weapon here in this list, which is helpfully explained – it’s the word of God, or the Bible.
Question: What do you think it looks like for someone to “wear” this armour day to day? How does it change them?