The Armor of God

Brothers and sisters:
Draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power.
Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm
against the tactics of the Devil.
For our struggle is not with flesh and blood
but with the principalities, with the powers,
with the world rulers of this present darkness,
with the evil spirits in the heavens.
Therefore, put on the armor of God,
that you may be able to resist on the evil day
and, having done everything, to hold your ground.
So stand fast with your loins girded in truth,
clothed with righteousness as a breastplate,
and your feet shod in readiness for the Gospel of peace.
In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield,
to quench all the flaming arrows of the Evil One.
And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit,
which is the word of God.

With all prayer and supplication,
pray at every opportunity in the Spirit.
To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication
for all the holy ones and also for me,
that speech may be given me to open my mouth,
to make known with boldness the mystery of the Gospel
for which I am an ambassador in chains,
so that I may have the courage to speak as I must.
(Ephesians 6:10-20)   

Scripture Study

Paul warns readers of the spiritual warfare that rages unseen in the Church. For Christ’s kingdom does not spread free of opposition or enemies; rather, it is daily attacked by malevolent spirits under the command of Satan. Our first defense is the armor of God, i.e., the graces given to protect us in times of temptation. Our weaponry is both offensive (sword) and defensive (breastplate, shield, helmet, protective footwear), enabling us to ward off the powers of darkness and to guard ourselves from exposure to their tactics (2 Cor 6:7; 10:3–5; 1 Thess 5:8). Although the devil and his demons were defeated by Christ on the Cross (Col 2:15), they remain dangerous until he comes again to destroy them (1 Cor 15:24–25; Rev 20:10). ● Paul alludes to Wis 5:17–20 and Is 59:17. Both passages depict Yahweh as a warrior suiting up for battle against the ungodly. The Church joins him in this holy war as believers are enlisted among his troops and equipped with his divine armory. This OT background suggests that Paul’s imagery is more closely linked with Yahweh’s spiritual armor than with the military gear of a Roman soldier. ● To put on the armor of God is to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Called truth and righteousness, our Savior is our belt and our breastplate. Called the living Word of God, he is the sword who is sharp on both sides (St. Jerome, Commentary on Ephesians 3, 6).[1]                   

Reflection

“In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all the flaming arrows of the Evil One. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

As kids, one of the first TV series we got hooked on was the sci-fi show, Outer Limits. It literally scared us so much that we would have nightmares that caused us to run into our parents’ room and jump into their bed. Needless to say, our father put an end to watching that show.

Today’s reading from Ephesians reminds me of an episode from that show in which an alien appears and possesses a personal force field that protects him against harm from others. Paul’s letter is urging us to put on the armor that is our personal ‘force field’ that will protect us from the spiritual warfare that rages unseen in the Church.

For Christ’s kingdom does not spread free of opposition or enemies; rather, it is daily attacked by malevolent spirits under the command of Satan. Our first ‘force field’ is the armor of God, the graces given to protect us in times of temptation.

To put on the armor of God is to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Called truth and righteousness, our Savior is our belt and our breastplate. Called the living Word of God, he is the sword who is sharp on both sides, enabling us to ward off the powers of darkness and to guard ourselves from exposure to their tactics (2 Cor 6:7; 10:3–5; 1 Thess 5:8). Although the devil and his demons were defeated by Christ on the Cross (Col 2:15), they remain dangerous until he comes again to destroy them (1 Cor 15:24–25; Rev 20:10).[2]  

 

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

 

 

 

[1] The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: The New Testament (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010), 353.
[2] Ibid