You have armed me with strength for the battle; you have subdued my enemies under my feet. Psalm 18:39, NLT
Roman military men were a constant presence in Ephesus, so all those who lived there would be well acquainted with their battle gear. Paul knew it very well, as he had been chained to a Roman guard for two years. He chose to use these familiar armor pieces to describe how God protects His people.
Read Ephesians 6:10-20 out loud, using The Message transliteration.
10-12 And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no weekend war that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. 13-18 Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out. 19-20 And don’t forget to pray for me. Pray that I’ll know what to say and have the courage to say it at the right time, telling the mystery to one and all, the Message that I, jailbird preacher that I am, am responsible for getting out. Ephesians 6:10-20, MSG
Signs of the Times
- Those who lived in the Middle East during First Century were well acquainted with check points, raids, clashes, unrest, and conflict. They lived in a daily awareness of the dangers of war, and formed plans to get out of harm’s way and mapped out escape routes.
- Roman armies were deployed by marching forward together toward their enemy. Their armor was meant to protect the infantry by coordinating their actions with shields and helmets as they faced the enemy.
- Kingdoms treated ambassadors from other countries with great respect, being very careful to avoid insult and injury. Heralds, even those bearing messages from hostile nations, were immune from punishment and were sent home in peace. In verse 20, Paul, however, reminds his readers that he was fighting the good fight while he was in chains.
Read through the text a second time, this time using the New Living Translation.
10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. 19 And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike. 20 I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should. Ephesians 6:10-20. NLT
Our chart is a little different today. I’ll describe the Roman armor and your job is to make parallels to each piece, explaining how they are a picture of the weapons God provides for you every day as you face the forces of evil in this world.
Before you make your chart, you might find this video on the clothing and armor of Roman Legionnaires enlightening.
|Roman Infantry Armor||God-provided Armor for Christians|
|(6:14) Belt. This may refer to the leader apron beneath the armor or the metal plate that protects the lower abdomen.|
|(6:14) Breastplate/body armor. Leather and segmented armor to protect the chest.|
|(6:15) Shoes. Soldiers normally wore a caliga, combination of sandal and boot, to protect their feet as they advanced toward the enemy.|
|(6:16) Shield. Typically, infantry carried rectangular wooden shields about 4 feet tall. They were covered on the front with leather, which was soaked before battle so as to extinguish flaming arrows.|
|(6:17) Helmet. Worn only in battle, made ofiron or bronze with cheek pieces. Protects the head and brain.|
|(6:17) Sword. An offensive weapon, this double-edged sword was 20-24 inches long. Light and easy to wield, it was good for close combat.|
|(6:18-29) Communication. Roman infantry was famous for working together to present a solid defense and offense. This requires practice and quick response to commands.|
As you prepare to read this Scripture for a third time, do what works for you to get yourself in a frame of mind to hear the Holy Spirit’s whispering voice or vision. The verses below are in The Passion Translation.
10 Now my beloved ones, I have saved these most important truths for last: Be supernaturally infused with strength through your life-union with the Lord Jesus. Stand victorious with the force of his explosive power flowing in and through you. 11 Put on God’s complete set of armor provided for us, so that you will be protected as you fight against the evil strategies of the accuser! 12 Your hand-to-hand combat is not with human beings, but with the highest principalities and authorities operating in rebellion under the heavenly realms. For they are a powerful class of demon-gods and evil spirits that hold this dark world in bondage. 13 Because of this, you must wear all the armor that God provides so you’re protected as you confront the slanderer, for you are destined for all things and will rise victorious. 14 Put on truth as a belt to strengthen you to stand in triumph. Put on holiness as the protective armor that covers your heart. 15 Stand on your feet alert, then you’ll always be ready to share the blessings of peace. 16 In every battle, take faith as your wrap-around shield, for it is able to extinguish the blazing arrows coming at you from the evil one! 17–18 Embrace the power of salvation’s full deliverance, like a helmet to protect your thoughts from lies. And take the mighty razor-sharp Spirit-sword of the spoken word of God. Pray passionately in the Spirit, as you constantly intercede with every form of prayer at all times. Pray the blessings of God upon all his believers. 19 And pray also that God’s revelation would be released through me every time I preach the wonderful mystery of the hope-filled gospel. 20 Yes, pray that I may preach the wonderful news of God’s kingdom with bold freedom at every opportunity. Even though I am chained as a prisoner, I am his ambassador. Ephesians 6:10-20, TPT
What did God show you today in these verses? Was there something that stood out, something for you to pay special attention to? Doodle or write out what you heard, or do both. As usual, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below or you can email me if you’d like to send your picture at KSEvenhouseWWV@gmail.com