Ep.325: Battle Dress.

Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray With Me”.

Ephesians 6 says, “Put on the full armor of God.” Reminds me of the Sunday school song,
    I may never march in the infantry, ride in the cavalry, shoot the artillery,
    But I’m in the Lord’s army. 

The battle dress Paul recommends is like a SWAT team uniform as they prepare to  storm a drug dealer’s urban fortress. Paul lists six pieces of armor: shoes, belt, vest, shield, helmet, and sword.

Here’s Paul’s description of these pieces.  

The armored boots of peace. Really? Do peaceful boots storm the house, break the door and shoot up the interior?  

The bullet-proof vest of . . . righteousness. A SWAT team wearing a righteous vest? 

The belt of truth. I hope the SWAT team has true intel about the drug house, but I want their belt to hold up their trousers, not provide insight into truth. 

A ballistic shield and a bullet proof helmet. Not accessories I would link to faith or salvation. 

And finally, the sword of the spirit which is the word of God. Swords are outdated, so our SWAT team uses assault rifles, tear gas, and tasers. 

Why does Paul use this vision of violence to outfit his Christian soldier? I have two observations. And a warning. 

Paul’s world was violent. He says, “Five times I was whipped, three times beaten with rods, once pelted with stones, and another time, shipwrecked” (2 Cor 11:24). 

Paul doesn’t blame the devil and his army for the violence, but he does say, “Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, authorities, powers of this dark world, and spiritual forces of evil in the heavenlies” (Eph 6:11-12). The source of violence was not simply the Roman soldiers who imprisoned Paul and the Jewish elders who had him flogged. There is a larger picture of evil that includes an unseen hierarchy of invisible evil forces.

Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force” (Mat 11:12). Paul and Jesus both used metaphors of violence to describe the Christian’s place in a violent world. 

A second observation is that Paul’s instruction is not for us to form Christian SWAT teams and invade heavenly territories held by evil forces. Instead, he tells us to stand firm. Our armor, including the sword or assault rifle, does not prepare us for a conquest of enemy territory. It enables us to stand firm in the faith. 

Which leads to a warning. Some teachers and pray-ers try to map out the geography of darkness, name the hierarchies of evil and fight them. While this fits our SWAT team analogy, it goes beyond Paul’s instructions to stand firm in our armor. 

Let’s pray.  

Our father, today we put on the belt of truth. May it expose the lies of the liberal left and the conservative right, the lies of governments and industry, the lies of conspiracy theories, and the lies of the devil. 

Expose the falsehoods we hold dear because they help us simplify and cope with a complex world, a complex civilization, and our own complex emotional makeup. 

Many things we do not understand. But we trust you Jesus, who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Be our truth. Be our way. Be our life. 


I’m Daniel, on the channel “Pray with Me”.  

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