So stand ready, with truth as a belt tight around your waist, with righteousness as your breastplate …. (Ephesians 6:14)
In Ephesians, the apostle Paul says the first thing to do in spiritual warfare is to wear truth like a belt around your waist. Truth is the foundation for you to fight against the enemy. If you don't have a foundation of truth, you will fall apart when temptations and turmoil attack your life. God’s Truth is what holds you together.
The belt of truth is integrity. It means you not only know the truth, but that you also act on the truth. If I know the truth but don't act on it, then I don't have integrity. In fact, that is hypocrisy. God says if you are a hypocrite, you have no defense against Satan.
In order to defend against Satan, God says we must maintain integrity. This doesn’t mean you are perfect, but it does mean you are honest and authentic. You don’t wear masks with different groups of people. People who know you intimately can honestly describe you as: “What you see is what you get.”
The opposite of integrity is compartmentalizing your life. The word "integrity" comes from the word "integer," which means a unit of one. It means you don't slice and dice your life like pieces of a pie. Integrity means all parts of your life are integrated together. You act the same no matter where you go. You don’t act one way at work, another way at church and another way with your friends. Integrity is being truthful in every area of your life.
Unfortunately, Satan doesn't have to work hard against some believers, because their lack of integrity makes them pushovers for his temptations. They don't have the belt of truth around them, so they are easy prey. The Bible says we are to stand ready with the truth wrapped tightly around us.
Have you compartmentalized your life? Are there some areas where you lack integrity? God wants you wrapped in the truth. Confess your sins to him and ask him to strengthen your ability to live transparently before others.
For we are not fighting against human beings but against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world, the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers of this dark age. So put on God's armor now! Then when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist the enemy's attacks; and after fighting to the end, you will still hold your ground. So stand ready, with truth as a belt tight around your waist, with righteousness as your breastplate ….
In Ephesians, the apostle Paul says the second thing to do in spiritual warfare is to wear righteousness like a breastplate. Roman centurions wore a breastplate to protect their vital organs, such as the heart, liver, lungs and kidneys.
What is the breastplate of righteousness? It is purity of heart and purity of motivation.
The Bible asks, “Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false” (Psalms 24:3-4).
Who gets to be close to God? The Bible says he who has clean hands and a pure heart. That doesn't mean you are perfect; it means you are confessed up. You may not always do the right thing, but you want to do the right thing. Your heart really is pure, although you will still make mistakes.
Jesus said it like this: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matthew 5:8). If you want to be blessed in your work, in your finances, and in your family, you must have a pure heart. You need integrity and purity. You need to act on the truth and keep your motives clear.
Let me ask you this: Is your heart pure?
Satan is going to try to weaken you and make you a pushover by tempting you to fill your life with impurity. He’s going to give you impure thoughts. He’s going to give you impure motives. He’s going to suggest impure desires. He will try to give you impurity through pornography, through movies, through books, and through music. He may try to give you impurity through greed or pride.
On the other hand, when you wear the breastplate of righteousness, you are genuinely trying to keep your heart pure and keep your motives clean. Satan is afraid of anyone with a pure heart, which is also a brave heart.
Where is there impurity in your life? Come clean before God, and then put on the breastplate of righteousness.
So put on God's armor now! Then when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist the enemy's attacks; and after fighting to the end, you will still hold your ground. So stand ready, with truth as a belt tight around your waist, with righteousness as your breastplate, and as your shoes the readiness to announce the Good News of peace.
In Ephesians, the apostle Paul says the third thing to do in spiritual warfare is to wear shoes that announce the Good News of peace. So, the full armor of God includes integrity, purity and serenity. Serenity is living in peace and speaking in peace. You don't speak conflict to other people; you speak peace to them.
Roman centurions needed a special kind of shoe in order to protect them in battle. on the bottom of their shoes were hobnails, which are similar to cleats. This kept the Roman soldiers from slipping and sliding in battle. It helped them to stand their ground.
The apostle Paul says if you are going to stand in a battle and not stumble, you need shoes with the gospel of peace. Now, there are three kinds of peace. You’re to have peace with God, peace with yourself, and peace with other people. Peace is always relational.
What is Paul saying? If you have messed up relationships, you are a pushover for Satan. If you are holding onto a grudge or bitterness, Satan will be able to push you around.
Where do I learn to be at peace with God, others and myself? The Bible says, “Those who love your instructions have great peace and do not stumble” (Psalms 119:165). The more time I spend in God's word, the more I will be at peace.
Satan doesn't want you to wear the armor of God, so he attacks your integrity with lies. He attacks your purity with lust, and he attacks your serenity with worry. Any time you worry, you have opened the door to Satan. You cannot be anxious, or worried, or fearful and, at the same time, be at peace.
God calls us to live peace and to speak peace into the lives of other people. This doesn’t mean we won’t have conflict. The Bible says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18). The shoes of the Good News help us to stand firm even in the midst of conflict and to work toward reconciliation when we can.
Hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.
In Ephesians, the apostle Paul says the fourth thing to do in spiritual warfare is to hold up a shield of faith. The full armor of God includes integrity, purity, serenity and certainty.
How effective is a shield? one of the most famous battles in history is the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC, when 300 Spartans stood their ground against perhaps 100,000 Persians. At one point in the battle, the Persians shot volley after volley of arrows at the 300 Spartans. The Spartans knelt together and held up their shields, creating a wall of protection from the arrows.
Have you ever had a day you felt like that? When life is coming at you from every angle and thousands of fiery arrows are aimed at you? That’s when you need what Paul calls “the shield of faith.” Paul says, “Hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil” (Ephesians 6:16).
What are the devil’s fiery arrows?
- Dead ends
Satan has been casting doubt on mankind since the Garden of Eden, when he asked Eve, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?” (Genesis 3:1). The moment you open your door to doubt — even just a little bit — Satan will charge in and create doubts, despair and depression. What do you need when you’re facing those kinds of “burning arrows”? You need faith — and certainty.
Certainty comes from trusting the promises of God when everything is going wrong in your life. You’ve got to put on your shield of faith, and doubt your doubts and believe your beliefs. Most people do the exact opposite. That’s just foolish. It is the doubts we should doubt and beliefs we should believe. If you don't have faith, you will stumble when Satan attacks you.
The Bible says, “Because of your faith, it will happen” (Matthew 9:29). What does that mean? You’ve got to believe in God’s promises, even if they don’t appear to be true at the time.
Lean on God’s promises and lift up the shield of faith when Satan sends his fiery darts of doubt.
Put on the helmet of salvation.
In Ephesians, the apostle Paul says the fifth thing necessary in spiritual warfare is to put on the helmet of salvation. So, the full armor of God includes integrity, purity, serenity, certainty and sanity.
No soldier in biblical times would have gone to war without a helmet to protect his head against mortal wounds. When the apostle Paul says we’re to put on the helmet of salvation, he means we need to protect our minds. God wants us to protect our sanity in a world that has gone insane.
If you don’t believe the world is going insane, just pick up the paper. People are doing all sorts of crazy — insane — things. People are mixed up about right and wrong, good and evil. They’re flipping everything around and saying just the opposite.
What’s God’s advice to you? You need to protect your mind from evil by putting on the helmet of salvation. Evil tries to get into our minds from all sorts of avenues. Television, for example, is like a drug with a plug. It’ll drag your mind down the gutter.
What you allow to go through your “eye gate” and “ear gate” impacts you immensely. To protect yourself, focus on God and His ways. In Colossians 3:2, the Bible says, "Set your mind on things above, not on worldly things."
Focus on Jesus and what He wants to do in your life. The truth is, the more you let Jesus Christ live through you, the more you’ll find sanity in a world that’s going insane.
And accept salvation as a helmet, and the word of God as the sword which the Spirit gives you.
In Ephesians, the apostle Paul says the sixth thing necessary in spiritual warfare is to use the Word of God as a sword. So, the full armor of God includes integrity, purity, serenity, certainty, sanity and maturity.
Most people don’t know how to use the Word of God against the devil — even people who’ve been in church for years and have heard the Word that whole time. But hearing the Word isn’t the same as using the Word.
Being able to use God’s Word against Satan is one of the most important marks of spiritual maturity. The Bible says, “You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food” (Hebrews 5:12).
It’s not hearing, reading, or even learning the Word of God that makes a believer mature. According to Hebrews 5:12, a mature believer is the person who puts the Word into practice.
Paul calls the Bible “the sword of the Spirit” in Ephesians 6. The sword is an offensive weapon that soldiers used to expand their territory — and take something over. Putting the Bible into practice is how you invade Satan’s territory. Satan isn’t afraid of your words, but he is afraid of God’s Word!
The Bible doesn’t become your sword until you memorize it, though. Why? You rarely have your Bible with you when you need it. If you’re looking at a $300 dress and trying to decide whether to go into debt to buy it, you need to have stored in your heart what God’s Word says about buying what you can’t afford.
Jesus did this. When Satan tempted Jesus three times in the wilderness, Jesus always responded by quoting the Bible. Jesus didn’t have to pull out his pocket Old Testament to respond to Satan. He had already hidden the Word in His heart. That’s how you defeat the devil, too.
I have been memorizing Scripture since I was 17 years old. I’ve memorized thousands of verses since then. Those verses give me power most people don't have. Often, someone will ask me a question for which I don’t have an answer. When that happens, I ask God, “What do you want me to say to this person?” The Holy Spirit then goes back through all the verses I’ve learned and brings the right verse to my mind.
Start with key verses in areas where you’re often tempted — like sex, impatience, or speaking without thinking. Then, when you’re tempted, you’ll be able to use God’s Word against Satan.
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:14–17)
God knows you’re on the front lines of spiritual warfare, so he has provided you the tools to stand your ground.
“Father, today, in Jesus’ name, I put on the belt of truth. I know who I am; I know the Holy Spirit is in me, and the one who is in me is greater than the one who is in the world."
“Thank you that I can put on the breastplate of righteousness. In all situations, help me to respond from truth and not my emotions."
“Today I strap on the sandals of the gospel of peace. Wherever I go, I can help others make peace with you. Help me to remember the difference between a peacemaker and a peacekeeper, and that mercy triumphs over judgment."
“You, my shield of faith, are sufficient to protect me from any arrows the enemy throws my way, and I recognize this faith comes by hearing the Word of God."
“Thank you for giving me the mind of Christ. Because I wear the helmet of salvation, my mind is being renewed by the power of God, and I take thoughts captive for Christ."
“The sword of the Spirit is your Word, the Bible. With guidance from the Holy Spirit, I use your Word to deflect any attacks from the enemy, knowing I do not battle flesh and blood but the father of all lies."
“Lord, I set my mind and heart on you today, dedicating this whole day to you. I only want your will for my life. Through the name and blood of Jesus, amen.”
Saddleback Resources offers a small group Bible study related to these devotionals: The Invisible War-Winning the Battle of Temptation.