Ephesians 6:11-17 is a familiar passage for most. This explanation of the armor of God is something taught as a staple in one’s Christian walk. As an adult, you know the pieces you should pick up to go out and conquer each day, but don’t assume the kids you are entrusted with will automatically read these verses and be ready for battle. Here are some simple, relatable explanations to help you teach children to put on these essential pieces of equipment.
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Why is Armor Needed?
Before delving into the parts and pieces, explain the reasoning for needing such heavy equipment. Kids need a basic understanding of the concrete versus the abstract. In literal terms, someone going into a fight or even a game needs to be protected. A military soldier preparing for battle needs equipment like a helmet, shield, and sword in literal terms. The soldier could not possibly go into war without the correct attire. They would be an easy target. Another example is that of a football player. He needs several pieces of equipment, including a pad, mouthguard, and cleats to be protected during a game. No one would go into a football game without proper protection. They would just be asking to get hurt. A soldier and a football player have physical pieces of protective equipment that they wear. They are real things you can see and feel.
A Christian needs protection too. But instead of actual concrete things to put on the body, those things are figurative or abstract. Your life, your feelings, and your thoughts must be protected from the dangers that come from Satan. Ephesians 6:11 (NIrV) gives these reminders, “Let the Lord make you strong…remain strong against the devil’s evil plans.” The difference is that a Christian’s armor isn’t something you can actually pick up. These pieces are attributes that God gives you to protect your mind and heart. So, what exactly do you need to stay protected? There are six pieces listed in Ephesians chapter 6 that give us a clear picture of what it looks like to put on the whole armor of God.
The Belt of Truth
First and foremost, you’ve got to have a belt to hold everything in place. Without a belt, the rest of your uniform might fall apart. You do not want your pants to be sagging, for goodness sake, so buckle that belt tight. When speaking of God’s armor, the belt of truth helps keep you grounded. (Ephesians 6:14) In this world, people sometimes make their own truth. They go with whatever feels right or makes them feel good, but when you are a Christian, the truth must come from God and His Word, not made up opinions for what feels right in the moment.
The Breastplate of Righteousness
You're likely to end up with some cuts and bruises on your arms and legs in battle and those probably won't stop you from fighting. But, very few soldiers can survive a would to their heart. That’s why a breastplate is essential. It is the second piece that protects some very vital organs inside your body, including your heart. As followers of Christ, we should all be striving to be live righteously. That means doing your best to do what is right and good according to God's Word and avoiding what the Bible says is evil. When we strive to live like this, we are protecting our spiritual hearts, just like a breastplate, from the damage that sin can inflict on our hearts.
The Gospel Shoes of Peace
A battle won’t go very well if you’re just stuck in place. You’ve got to move forward. You certainly wouldn’t wear flip flops for a race; that would make you unprepared to win. Likewise, your feet can’t be unprepared when you’re fighting against the devil. The Bible says these shoes will “prepare you to tell the good news of peace.” (Ephesians 6:15 NIrV) Our job as Christians is to be ready to share the Gospel with others – that’s the good news of how Jesus came to save us. The gospel shoes of peace are the third piece of the armor of God.
The Shield of Faith
Even though there are many other protective pieces, a shield is one that can go before you when an attack is coming. Satan's attacks are like fiery arrows, but having the shield of faith, means having faith that God will stand against anything hurled your way. Negativity and lies will come into your life, but those fiery arrows get stopped in their tracks when they are blocked with the shield of faith.
The Helmet of Salvation
The fifth piece of armor is the helmet of salvation. Equally as important as protecting your heart in battle, a soldier absolutely must protect his head. Being confident that God has saved you and forgiven your sins is the best way to defend your mind from the lies and the challenges in life that the devil will attack you with. When you accept Jesus, God has saved you. Things may not always go your way, but we are saved from our own sin and the evil around us in the end. That's some serious protection!
The Sword of the Spirit
All the above armor is worn or used for defensive purposes, to keep the bad things away. But the sixth and final piece listed in Ephesians is offensive. The sword of the Spirit which is the Bible. You are protected with all the other pieces, but this one points you in the right direction. Knowing God’s Word helps you attack the devil. Satan knows God’s Word is true, and when he hears it from your mouth, he doesn’t like it! Using the truth of Scripture makes him back down.
Having God’s Word in our hearts on our lips is a tactic that can send the devil running in a hurry.
Putting All the Pieces Together
A soldier needs a helmet, shield, and sword. A football player needs his pads, mouthguard, and cleats. A follower of Christ needs protective pieces, too, just not ones that are physically put on. Instead, these gifts are put on spiritually when we are a Christian. Truth, righteousness, the Gospel, faith, salvation, and God’s Word are all must-haves for your daily walk. So, each day after you put on your t-shirt and pants, don’t forget to dress with God’s armor. Equipping yourself with this spiritual armor makes you ready to face the day.
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