What Is the Full Armor of God? How Can I Put On the Whole Armor of God?

The armor of God is a metaphor in the Bible (Ephesians 6:10-18) that both reminds Christians about the reality of spiritual battle and describes the protection available to them. The full armor of God that Christians are called to put on comprises of the Belt of Truth, the Breastplate of Righteousness, the Gospel of Peace, the Shield of Faith, the Helmet of Salvation, and the Sword of the Spirit.
April Motl
What Is the Full Armor of God? How Can I Put On the Whole Armor of God?

The armor of God is a metaphor in the Bible (Ephesians 6:10-18) that both reminds Christians about the reality of spiritual battle and describes the protection available to them. The full armor of God that Christians are called to put on comprises of the Belt of Truth, the Breastplate of Righteousness, the Gospel of Peace, the Shield of Faith, the Helmet of Salvation, and the Sword of the Spirit.

Armor of God in Scripture

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

“Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

“In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Ephesians 6:10-18)

Daily suiting up in the armor of God can feel abstract. But with prayer and practice, Christians can better understand and implement habits of putting on the full armor of God.

Belt of Truth: Explained and Applied

“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,” (Ephesians 6:14).

What It Means:

Some translations use a phrase like: “having girded your loins with truth” (NASB). Loins is an uncommon word in modern vernacular. It refers to the lower back but includes the crotch area. In ancient days, men would wear long robes that would get in the way of work or fighting, so they would wrap up the long, draping material. This was girding up one’s loins.

The Lord knew our loins needed to be wrapped in truth.  Regardless of the culture or time we live in, the Lord has seen all the paths we’ve taken and how they have hurt and derailed us. He knows we need truth.

Our identity is more than our sexuality, but this is one facet of our lives that we often view as a definer. The first area of life in which the enemy frequently attempts to rattle is our sense of identity. And the things pertaining to sex are easy pickings for him. We need freedom regarding sexuality. We need truth about who we are. And only Jesus is the Truth that sets us free.

David Chadwick said it this way in his Moments of Hope devotional:

“The first piece of the armor is the belt of truth. Truth, by its very definition, is exclusive. It means something is true and other things are lies. The evil one is the father of lies (John 8:44). Every lie finds its origin in him.

“Every other piece of the full armor of God is attached to the belt of truth. If you don’t begin with truth, you’ll never defeat the enemy. And Jesus said God’s Word is true (John 17:17).”

How to Apply It:

  • Pursue the truth on a specific topic, but don’t forget to grab hold of the whole of Scripture. Don’t just study the parts that come easy for devotional reading. Press into the whole counsel of God’s word.
  • Pray God’s word. Use the word of Truth as a template to guide your prayers.
  • Memorize the truth for quicker access when you need it. Cover your world with Scripture on post-it notes, screen savers, décor, and anything that will help you remember of God’s word in spiritual battle.

Breastplate of Righteousness: Explained and Applied

“…with the breastplate of righteousness in place…” (Ephesians 6:14).

What It Means:

Righteousness means being made right. Sometimes Scripture refers to righteousness that Christ gives us – His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). Sometimes Scripture refers to righteousness that God carries out through us, like “the righteous acts of the saints” (Revelation 19:8). 

In daily spiritual battle, both varieties of righteousness protect the heart. We need the complete righteousness of Christ, but also the continuing righteousness that comes as a response to God’s gift.

The enemy tempts with all kinds of sinful entanglements, but righteousness protects our hearts. God’s instructions are often viewed as killjoys or burdens. But obedience to God is a protection for your heart from being wounded by sin.

How to Apply It:

  • Soak in and obey instructions from the Lord. If there’s an area of life that feels like it gets easily tangled up in sin, ask a church leader to share some scriptural truths that might help you walk in the Lord’s plan more fully.
  • Ask a trusted person to pray for you if you are struggling with obedience. All Christians struggle, but none were meant to struggle alone. We make easy targets for the enemy when we do not obey God.

Gospel of Peace: Explained and Applied

“…and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15).

What It Means:

Peace is an attribute of the Lord’s very person and character (Galatians 5:22). In Greek, peace means oneness or wholeness. The gospel, which means good news, is the forgiveness of sins and access to and oneness with God through faith in Christ.  This oneness with the Lord produces peace.

Ephesians repeatedly reminds us to “stand” and “stand firm.” One of the easiest ways for the enemy to succeed in shaking us lose from standing firm is to tempt us with worry. When we carry anxiousness and worry with us, we are robbed of peace. But the gospel of peace keeps our feet anchored and standing firm.

How to Apply It:

  • Ask the daily Lord to remind you of His gospel work on your behalf.
  • Set your security and identity in His work and not yours.
  • Surround yourself with Scripture about the truth of your place with Christ into your heart. And remove the input that steals your sense of security in Christ.

Shield of Faith: Explained and Applied

“In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith,” (Ephesians 6:16).

What It Means:

When Paul wrote this passage, Roman soldiers carried shields that were covered with heavy animal hide. Before a battle they would dip their shields into water so that when fiery darts hit them, the wet hide would extinguish the darts.

In a similar way, a Christian’s shield of faith needs to be regularly dipped in the water of God’s word to be replenished and fully functional – because “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).

How to Apply It:

  • If your faith feels less confident than you wish it did, ask the Lord to increase your faith (Mark 9:24).
  • Find verses that feed your faith and fill your world with them.
  • Set your faith on God’s character not on a circumstance.

Helmet of Salvation: Explained and Applied

“Take the helmet of salvation,” (Ephesians 6:17).

What It Means:

Salvation comes the moment we place our trust on Jesus’ death and resurrection as the payment for our sin. But salvation is also worked out through a lengthy process of sanctification.

The helmet of salvation (like the breastplate of righteousness) rests on the work of Christ to save us, but also involves us as we journey with the Lord and allow Him to work that salvation into every part of our thoughts. The battlefield of our mind is the primary place spiritual battle is fought. The Lord works His freeing truth into our perspectives while the enemy fights for strongholds to bind us (John 10:10).

How to Apply It:

  • Surrender thoughts that don’t line up with Scripture. As Colossians 3:2 says, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
  • Remember the Lord’s character and faithfulness in Scripture as well as in your life experience.
  • Wash your mind with the renewing of God’s Word. As Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Sword of the Spirit: Explained and Applied

“…and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).

What It Means and How Jesus Applied It:

The explanation of this piece of armor is right there in the verse – it is the word of God. And it is the only piece of armor that is both defensive and offensive. Greg Laurie explains further:

“When we are tempted, the most effective weapon that God has given to us as believers is the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

“Jesus modeled this so beautifully during His temptation in the wilderness. When the devil tried temptation after temptation against Him, Jesus used the sword of the Spirit (see Luke 4:1–13).”

When the devil tempted him three times, Jesus responded with the truth of God’s word – every time.

April Motl is a pastor’s wife, mom, and women’s ministry coordinator. Her love of words led her through a BA in linguistics and her love of God’s Word through a Master’s in Religious Studies. You can find more encouragement from her and her husband at MotlMinistries.org or checkout some of her available Bible Studies and devotionals on AmazonFace to Face is a one month devotional highlighting the names of God if you’d like to dig into this topic further!

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Originally published April 29, 2019.