When my son was five years old, he was afraid of the dark. Often, after my wife and I had put him to bed and gone downstairs, we would hear his little feet approaching the top of the stairs.
“Mommy! Daddy! I’m scared!” he would call out.
Since I had settled in on the couch, I would call back all the reasons he didn’t need to be afraid. There are no monsters, I would say. Have you ever, in your life, been hurt by anything in the night, I would ask. What do you have to be afraid of ? I’d give reason after reason, appeal to logic and experience—and strangely it rarely put his mind at ease.
My wife would look at me and say, “Honey, you need to go up and pray with him.” All the logic and the reason in the world were not enough. He needed his daddy.
Every morning in my prayer time, I pray that God would put on me “the whole armor of God” to equip me for the battle of the day (Eph. 6:10–17). I pray for the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, the shoes of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit.
But some days, I finish praying and wonder, Has God just given me truths about the world and sent me out to do battle on my own? Is the armor the equivalent of God saying, “Now don’t be afraid, son. You know you’re saved, you know Jesus has made you righteous, you’re equipped with the truth, you know the gospel, you trust in the Lord and you handle His Word well. You have nothing to be afraid of ”? When Paul talks about the armor of God, is it like Saul giving David his armor and saying, “Okay, boy, go out and fight in this!”?
One morning I was asking this question and it occurred to me: when he was confronting Goliath, David shouted, “You come to me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied” (1 Sam. 17:45). David refused the armor of Saul, but he was clothed in the armor “of ” God—God was his armor!
I excitedly began running through Scripture in my mind (thank you, God, for parents who helped me memorize Scripture!) Is God my salvation? Yes! “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1). Is the Lord my righteousness? Yes! “In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: ‘The LORD Our Righteousness’” (Jer. 33:16). Jesus Himself said He was the Truth: “‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” (John 14:6). Is the Lord our peace? “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility” (Eph. 2:14). And of course, God is our shield: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” (Psalm 18:2). And finally the Word of God, our sword: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).
When we put on the armor of God, it’s not armor we’re borrowing from God. The word “of ” does not designate whose it is but what it’s made of. God is our armor as we go into the battle each day. He doesn’t fill us with abstract truths and send us out there on our own. He surrounds us, is with us and protects us with Himself, every step of the way.