Dressed For Battle - Purpose of A Soldier's Armor (Ephesians 6)

March 5, 2011 by marilyn   Comments (49)

The Belt Of Truth

“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist.” Ephesians 6:14
Roman soldiers wore a linen undergarment next to the skin, covered by a woolen one–piece tunic that came down to the knees. It was shaped like a “T” with a hole at the top for the head. It was sewn on two sides and generally had half sleeves. At times they were dyed, but most often they were the natural color of wool. The colored tunic was usually reserved for army commanders, the wealthy or those of the government status.

Over the tunic they placed a breastplate. At the bottom of the breastplate they wore a heavy belt made of connected bronze plates and leather with a buckle very similar to what we use today. This belt had one function. It served as the foundation on which the sword, dagger and metal apron were attached.

Application for us: Jesus Is Our Truth
This belt was foundational for battle. In short, it supported the weapons that allowed the soldier to fight. The belt is a reminder that Jesus is the foundation for spiritual battle. Jesus is theTruth that stands against the lies and deception of Satan. “Jesus is the Way, theTruth and the Life”,our very basis for life. To win our spiritual battles our fight must be anchored to the Truth found in Jesus alone.

The Breastplate Of Righteousness

“…with the breastplate of righteousness in place…” Ephesians 6:14
The typical breastplate used by the Roman legions fell into four categories. Some were made out of leather and some out of small interwoven brass rings. High ranking officers sometimes had breastplates produced from a single piece of molded bronze.

The design pictured here uses overlapping Bronze scales. The bronze scale armor was in two pieces and was sewn to a short leather vest. The two halves were tied together with short strips of leather in the back and in the front. Bronze, although not the strongest metal known in the first century, had the advantage of being lightweight.

In this era, when hand–to–hand combat was almost always necessary, soldiers had to balance protection with ease of movement. The discomfort of the breastplate around the neck was usually softened by a woolen scarf.

Application for us: Jesus Is Our Righteousness
The function of the breastplate was simple which was to protect the soldier’s vital organs. In close hand–to–hand combat the breastplate was essential for survival. No trained Roman soldier would venture into battle without it. If we start to believe that our own righteousness, effort, or good works can make us worthy of God’s protection, the advantage quickly changes to benefit our enemy. Our righteousness is worthless in the battle. We need to get our eyes off of ourselves and back on the provision of the cross and the righteousness that is found in our relationship with Jesus.

The Shoes Of Readiness and Peace

“…and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” Ephesians 6:15
The shoes worn by the Roman warrior generally came in the “sandal” variety. They had thick leather soles that were studded with small nails to provide stability in hand–to–hand combat. The sandals came up above the ankle and were held securely to the foot by extensive leather straps.

To survive cold weather climates, soldiers would fill the sandal with heavy wool or fur before lacing up. In some cases, Roman commanders would wear an early version of a boot. It had a thick leather sole and was either split down the front or on each side to allow entry. Straps were sewn to the back and wrapped up the leg to hold the boot securely.

Application for us: Jesus Is Our Preparation and Peace
Without his sandals, a soldier would not be prepared to fight and could be easily defeated. Paul tells us that our preparation for battle is the Gospel (TheGood News) of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. The work of Jesus here on earth brought us peace with God. This reconciliation through Jesus allows us to fight with boldness, confidence, perseverance and peace.

The Shield Of Faith

“In addition to all of this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” Ephesians 6:16
The Roman army used small round shields and large rectangular ones. The large curved shield which Paul refers to in the Ephesian letter was about four feet tall and two feet wide. It was made of layers of laminated wood covered by linen and leather. A brass or bronze rim covered every edge as protection against sword attack. It was generally painted with traditional Roman symbols such as eagles wings and lighting bolts.

Shields were primarily used as individual protection, but could be overlapped to form a large wall of protection. As a walled city was being attacked by the Romans, archers along the walls would rain down flaming arrows. The Roman soldiers with overlapping shields could continue advancing toward the gates of the city despite the arrows.

Application for us: Jesus Is The Focus Of Our Faith
The only protection against the flaming arrows that rained down from the sky in ancient warfare was the shield. If used correctly, it was a trustworthy piece of equipment. If dropped, it became useless and the soldier’s fate rested with himself. We trust in Jesus alone as our shield. We cannot rely on our own abilities in this battle.

The Helmet Of Salvation

“Take the helmet of salvation…” Ephesians 6:17
The Roman army helmet was usually made of bronze, although iron and leather were also used on occasion. To protect the sides of the face, “cheek–pieces”, hinged to each side, hung down and were secured with leather straps under the chin. A “shelf” on the back of the helmet protected the neck and shoulders from arrows that fell from above.

At some point in the first century a bill was added to the front of the helmet along with bronze coverings above the ears. Occasionally, depending on the particular Roman army unit or rank of the soldier, the helmet might have been adorned with a colored horse hair crest. Typically, these crests were ceremonial and were usually not worn into battle. A leather liner on the inside made the heavy helmet a little more bearable.

Application for us: Jesus Is Our Righteousness
The helmet was essential for the survival of a soldier in battle. Paul in using the word “salvation” indicates that the helmet is a source of total deliverance. In Jesus, we find deliverance in every situation, spiritual, emotional, and physical. Jesus is our source, our guide, our “way out”. We cannot deliver ourselves.


The Sword Of The Spirit

“…and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” Ephesians 6:14
The Roman soldier carried a small dagger and a large double–edged sword used for thrusting. The sword was usually about 24 inches long, and 2 inches wide with parallel sides. This particular weapon was developed after the Romans observed the effectiveness of the short sword in the hands of the battle–hardened Spanish mercenaries. Formerly, the Roman army used a much bigger “slashing” sword. This new shorter and more pointed “piercing” sword proved to be much more effective in close–quarter combat. In an era when almost any wound could be fatal, this short sword was the power behind the Roman army machine. The sword was always carried on the right side in a decorated wooden scabbard. The sword and scabbard were usually attached to either the belt or to a leather strap worn over the shoulder.

Application for us: Jesus Is The Word Of God
When used at close range by a skilled soldier, the sword was a deadly weapon. Paul tells us that the Sword represents the Word of God, the written picture of Jesus. Jesus is the living version of everything God wanted to say to mankind. God’s Word is a powerful weapon against our enemy when it's used under the Holy Spirit's Power and Direction.

Entering and Abiding In God's Will

January 29, 2011 by marilyn   Comments (3)

When we position ourselves inside of God's will, we begin praying our way through our days which keeps us continually in touch with God and in synch with Him. When our hearts and minds is in synch with God's, we're more open to His leading. The Holy Spirit has access to our thoughts. So prayer is necessary as we seek to operate in God's will by the Power of The Holy Spirit.

Giving thanks helps us notice what we have to be joyful about. It also forces us to think about our God’s goodness, His faithfulness, His protection, His provisions and His sacrifice. Giving thanks for our gifts includes the Giver in our thoughts.  And it affords us a right view of Him that acknowledges He delights in caring for us, guiding us and providing for us. That calms our Oh-Lord-What-Am-I-Supposed-To-Do worries. We need a right view of God in order to walk in His will. Paul was not teaching that we should thank God for everything that happens to us, “but in everything, give thanks.” Evil does not come from God, so we should not thank Him for evil. But when evil strikes, we can still be thanking for “Who God Is” and for the good He can bring through our distresses.

Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. Which means it is something produced by the Spirit of God within us. So when we pray, we should pray for joy. And thank Him for supplying it. The Bible tells us that it is God's will for us to be filled with The Holy Spirit, to pray, give Him thanks and cultivate joy. So, no matter what, when we focus on these things, our paths will unfold before us and He will work all  things out for our good, no matter which choice we make. Which means when we err, we still do not miss God’s will and that the pressure of making the exact right decision or else entirely missing God's will, is off.  And that's one thing we can give God thanks for today! Be joyful, pray daily, and give thanks regularly. Our joy, prayers and thankfulness to God should not fluctuate with our circumstances. When we make a conscious decision to do what our Lord says, we begin to see things in a new perspective and find it easier to be joyful and thankful.


"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16- 18      

Philippians 4:6-7, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Habakkuk 3:18 “ Yet I will rejoice in The Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”


1Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing.”







A Psalm for the New Year

January 1, 2011 by marilyn   Comments (2)

As we begin a new year, Psalm 116 is a good scripture for our contemplation. Verses 7-9 encourage us to look back at what God has done for us: “Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. For you, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living.” (NIV) Hasn’t God been good to us in 2010? He has taken care of our needs and then some! He has answered our prayers. He has brought us through difficult times and down times. He has blessed us with good things, grace and growth. And here we are today – alive and well!  Reading on, verses 12-14 encourage us to look ahead at what we can do for God in 2011: “What can I return to the Lord for all his bounty to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord. I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.” (NIV)

Notice that the Psalmist comes up with three “resolutions” (“I will” statements). We would be wise to incorporate these into our individual resolutions for this New Year:


1. I WILL LIFT UP THE CUP OF SALVATION: Since God has poured so much into our salvation, the least we can do is to take and drink deeply of His salvation in Jesus Christ. We do this by fully embracing salvation – living the saved life to the full! And, let’s not forget to lift up this cup to others (“Share the Life!”) by offering them a drink of God’s eternal salvation! Let’s make His salvation our continual “toast” for the New Year!


2. I WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD: When we’re struggling, troubled, have an unmet need, or are facing a challenge or strong temptation, who do we call? To whom do we turn? The Psalmist chose God as His “rock”, his “refuge”, his constant support. Don’t “go it alone” in 2011, rather lean on God’s everlasting arms!


3. I WILL FULFILL MY VOWS TO THE LORD: Vows are promises, resolutions or commitments we make. While we cannot begin to repay God for all He has done for us, we can “pay our dues” by doing what we should: living holy and productive lives, serving Him in the church, in our families, at work, at school and holding up our end of the New Covenant by showing ourselves faithful to an ever-faithful God.


Church, God has been so good to us in 2010. Let’s be good to Him in   

2011! In Jesus Name Amen.