Ephesians 6:11–17 gives us the necessary commands and picturesque language to prepare us for spiritual battle. What follows below is a brief summary of four themes from this passage.
First, stand ready and firm in battle. We ready ourselves with God’s armor in order “to stand” (Ephesians 6:11), “to withstand” (Ephesians 6:13), and “to stand firm” (Ephesians 6:13).
Second, God empowers us for battle. We are “strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might” when we “put on the whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6:10–11). As we do so, we are “able to stand against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11), “able to withstand in the evil day” (Ephesians 6:13), and “can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16). (The Greek word dunamai is translated “able” or “can” in the verses just cited.)
Third, God equips us for battle. Paul itemizes the whole armor of God into six pieces of protection, teaching us how to ready ourselves and to engage in spiritual battle. (1) We fasten the belt of truth (Ephesians 6:13). As a belt holds extra fabric close to ready for movement, so also we ready ourselves for battle by knowing the truth. (2) We put on the breastplate of righteousness (Ephesians 6:14). As the breastplate protects the heart and vital organs, so also our practical righteousness shields us from further temptation. (3) We ready ourselves with the shoes of the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15). As the right footgear allows a soldier to stand firm, so also we find our peace in the gospel when the enemy attacks. (4) We take up the shield of faith (Ephesians 6:16). As a shield protects its bearer from the enemy’s arrows and spears, so also our faith fends away the enemy’s many blows. (5) We take up the helmet of our salvation (Ephesians 6:17). As a helmet protects the head from enemy’s sword, so also we ready our minds with the truths of salvation lest we reject them and fall away. (6) We take up the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17). As a sword blocks the blows of the enemy and wounds the enemy in return, so also the Word of God is our sure defense and may even pierce an enemy’s soul to bring him captive to Christ.
Fourth, our struggle is against Satan, demons, and evil. Our struggle is not “not…against flesh and blood” but various demonic powers (Ephesians 6:12). Our day of battle is evil as a whole (Ephesians 6:13). Our fiercest opponent is Satan himself (Ephesians 6:11, 16).
Other Scriptures brace us for battle as well. “Wage the good warfare (1 Timothy 1:18). Use your “weapons of…warfare” enabled with “divine power to destroy strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:4). “Share in suffering as a good solider of Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:3). “Fight the good fight of the faith” (1 Timothy 6:11).
From all the passages above, be a spiritual soldier who stands strong in the battle while fighting for Jesus Christ. May God strengthen us for the struggle!