In Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians he describes the “armor of God.” Bible scholars agree that Paul would have had a familiarity with the arms and armor of the soldiers of the Roman Empire, particularly the foot soldiers or infantry. This is meant to remind us that we are in a battle and we have to be ready. Soldiers not only wear protective gear and have weapons to destroy their enemies. They also train a lot, and hopefully, well to be able to meet and defeat those who want to capture them or, more often, end their lives. And all that is to have the victory over the territory and the way of life they oppose. It’s a perfect metaphor for the battle between good and evil, up to a point. We must recall that Jesus Christ has the Victory and defeated death; that evil is against the goodness that is God with His passion, death, and resurrection. If we are feeling ill suited for the fight, we need to look to Jesus. Contemplate Him on the cross and what He was willing to sacrifice for each of us. Consider His resurrection, and the His defeat of death and the promise of everlasting life with the Triune God is a reality for those who follow Him. Consider how much He loves us. If you ever doubt, look to the crucified Christ.
And ‘train’ by studying Scripture, talking to God (prayer!), and surrendering only to His will so that you are filled with His love that spills over and on to those you’ll meet in this life. Walk with your comrades (brothers and sisters in faith) for support and to share joys and sorrows. God made us for community; we need them, too.
We can go into the struggle ready, faithful, and certain because we have Christ and He is faithful; He is love and mercy itself. The One we follow is our defense and we can wear the armor the Father provides to remain strong and joyful knowing that nothing can stop Him. We just have to believe and follow. As it says in the Acts of the Apostles, we are followers of the Way. That’s Jesus! He is also the Truth and the Life. So, walk on, you foot soldier, you. Walk on with confidence in the strength of the Lord God almighty. And in humility and gratitude because you know you could never do any of this on your own.
13 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. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
(St. George and the dragon artist: PSM)