Our passage in Ephesians has three specific commands (imperatives) to inform our ability to withstand the opposition that comes from the devil:

  • ‘Be Strong’ (v10)
  • ‘Put on’ (v11)
  • ‘Stand’ (v14)

Yesterday we looked at the first imperative, which is to ‘Be Strong in the Lord’. Today we’ll look at the second one, which is to ‘Put on’ or ‘Take up’, referring to the classic list of the pieces of armour.

Lets see it again in context:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

Ephesians 6:10-14

Before we look at the various pieces of armour that we are supposed to be ‘putting on’ or ‘taking up’, it’s important to note the relationship between these first two imperatives.

To understand that relationship, think about what would happen if we lost one of these imperatives.

Firstly, what would our impression be if the Bible stopped at ‘Be strong’, and didn’t include ‘Put on’? Well we would certainly be encouraged as to the truth of the power for this battle belonging to God! However we may be left in a rather passive state, and ‘Let go and let God’. However, when it comes to this subject of withstanding the opposition from the devil, the Bible doesn’t leave us there! It says things like this:

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 4:7

Be sober- minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith...

1Peter 5:8-9

The emphasis on ‘resist’ the devil means that there is certainly an active part to withstanding evil!

Now, think about what our impression would be if the Bible stopped at ‘Put on’ and didn’t first include ‘Be strong’?

In this error we may be tempted to think that the battle is all up to us, and we carry the burden of victory! If we had to compare errors this would certainly be the more dangerous one, which is why I believe the command to ‘Be strong’ comes first!

The truth in understanding this battle is to keep these imperatives together, and in the right order: Be strong + Put on! Those two will lead us to the final imperative which is ‘Stand.’

Activity for kids

1.       Dress up day:

Make an ‘Armour of God snack’ with your child, dressing up carrot sticks or crackers with the full armour of God. Let your child name and try to memorise all 6 pieces of the armour of God. They can also dress up a paper doll, or dress up themselves! Talk to your child about today’s devotion, explaining what it means to ‘put on the full armour of God’ and why it is important     

2.       What outfit would we wear for…

Cut out or show your child various pictures of different outfits (spacesuits, doctor’s white jacket and scrubs, suits, fireman’s uniform etc.) and discuss what we would use each outfit for. Next, talk about how Paul uses the picture of a Roman soldier’s outfit to explain what we need to ‘put on’ to fight against God’s enemy. Point out the importance of it being the armour of God, as our battle is not against ‘flesh and blood’.