Before reading Putting on the Armor, I must confess that I often viewed the “armor of God” passage in Ephesians 6 as somewhat irrelevant. In a way, I knew it was probably important, but it seemed to be no more than a descriptive metaphor for walking with God, something I could easily skim over and get the point. I remember hearing a small handful of sermons or talks on the subject that seemed to trivialize the description of the armor. These talks of “praying on the armor” or “which piece of the armor are you missing?” trivialized the concepts of the passage so much that it had a negative effect on how I viewed the relevance of the verses. Dr. Lawless’ book has changed my view on the concept of the “armor” by providing me with an accurate view of the passage as a whole, helping me understand each individual piece of armor, and walking me through how to “wear” the armor in everyday life.
Dr. Lawless does a great job describing the need for the armor to be “worn” in the first place. We have a real enemy that seeks to distract and destroy us now that we have been ripped from his kingdom and placed in God’s. We have been saved, yes, but we have also been deployed into warfare. What commanding officer would send a soldier into warfare without the best equipment? The armor of God is the premium equipment needed for spiritual battle: it is not simply metaphorical or trivial. Lawless states, “Those who fail to recognize the battle are the most deceived of believers” (127).
The “armor” is clearly explained throughout the book in such a way that anyone can understand it, a major strength of the study. Here is a quick summary of what I’ve learned the armor to be:
- The Belt of Truth- Knowing the truth about Jesus, knowing God’s Word, and putting the Word in to practice (i.e. living the Word)
- The Breastplate of Righteousness- Living like Jesus, making right choices, and resisting temptation
- The Feet Sandaled with the Gospel of Peace- Standing ready in faith, being at peace with God and others, and sharing my faith
- The Shield of Faith- Knowing and living the Word of God, acting on my faith, trusting the promises of God, and resisting worry, fear, and doubt
- The Helmet of Salvation- Understanding who I was prior to salvation and appreciating God’s grace, meditating on God’s love and holiness shown in the cross, and living in the assurance of Christ’s return
- The Sword of the Spirit– Reading, knowing, and living the Word of God, using it to address problems, decisions, and temptations
One thing I greatly appreciated about the study is the importance and emphasis placed on the Word of God and obedience to it. The Word is not only one piece of armor (the sword) but the very thing that helps us put on the belt of truth (as it tells us about Christ and the truth), wear the breastplate of righteousness (by teaching us what is righteous), be sandaled with the gospel of peace (by showing us how to have peace with God and others), hold the shield of faith (by telling us the promises of God), and wear the helmet of salvation (by revealing the message of salvation). If we are not reading, studying, and meditating on the Word, it is highly unlikely that we are wearing the armor. If we are not applying the Word to our lives, we may be sure that we are not wearing the armor!
The second thing I appreciated most about the study was the practicality of it. Lawless does a tremendous job showing how each piece of armor relates to the individual aspects of our lives, such as reading God’s Word, praying, parenting, interacting in a marriage, being involved in a local church, sharing our faith, giving advice to and counseling others, making decisions, and walking with God in everyday life. This study was a great read for me as I begin my time at Southeastern Seminary. It helped me understand the equipment God has given me to engage in spiritual warfare, an understanding that will benefit me during my entire pilgrimage on this earth. I heartily recommend it to anyone who wants to understand and wear the armor of God. The five-days-a-week, 7 week layout also works great for a devotional or small group study.
Here is a link to the book: