Many are aware of the ‘armour of God’ that can be found in Ephesians and in the Doctrine and Covenants. Here is the summary:
- Loins girt about with truth
- Breastplate of righteousness
- Feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace
- Shield of faith
- Helmet of salvation
- Sword of God’s Spirit and His word through revelation
All of these items are vital – if any were missing in our defence, we would fall very quickly as weaknesses would be exposed. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin warned that Satan “seeks to find any chink in the armor of each person. He knows our weaknesses and knows how to exploit them if we allow him to do so. We can defend ourselves against his attacks and deceptions only by understanding the commandments and by fortifying ourselves each day through praying, studying the scriptures, and following the counsel of the Lord’s anointed.”
There are a variety of ways that we can protect ourselves and put on this armour of God. It is interesting, that in the Ephesians account of this analogy, it says in Ephesians 6:16 “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” This passage seems to indicate the necessity of this particular protection – whether the most important or one of the most important – in order for us to overcome the wiles of Satan. It does make sense as faith is a principle of power. It seems ineffective having a knowledge of the gospel or understanding truth if we do not work on developing our faith.
Is it, therefore, any wonder that all the things we do to put on the armour of God are things that increase of faith? Acts such as reading the scriptures, praying, going to Church, partaking the sacrament and worshipping in the Temple. There are key areas where Satan tries to pinpoint his attacks which affect the majority of the human family, God’s children, that without the armour of God would be vulnerable areas.
One is chastity. The Law of Chastity is a simple law and one which, when one considers the consequences when not followed, makes sense – to those who understand the Lord and His love for His children. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin taught “One of the most pervasive deceptions in recent years is the notion that immorality is normal and acceptable and has no negative consequences. In truth, immorality is the underlying cause of much suffering and many other problems that are prevalent today, including rampant disease, abortion, broken families, families without fathers, and mothers who themselves are children.” It does seem to be one of the most accepted transgressions of the Lord’s commandments in the world today when in actual fact, for example, the sin of adultery is the sin ‘next to murder’. God delights in chastity. What better thing for Satan to try and pull us away with.
Not only this, but there are a variety of ways in which we can be ensnared. One of these tactics is pornography. President Gordon B. Hinckley warned “You must not fool around with the Internet to find pornographic material. You must not dial a long-distance telephone number to listen to filth. You must not rent videos with pornography of any kind. This salacious stuff simply is not for you. Stay away from pornography as you would avoid a serious disease. It is as destructive. It can become habitual, and those who indulge in it get so they cannot leave it alone. It is addictive.” If we submit to this vile tool of Satan, we are literally stripping off our armour and our virtue and putting ourselves under Satan’s power. Stop now! For anyone who is under this seemingly unstoppable habit, it is never too late. Even if it has begun, it can be halted. We need to continually put on the armour of God and to do so we need to keep clean and call upon the Atonement of Christ to cleanse us further.
The second possible weak spot is honesty. President James E. Faust taught “Honesty is more than not lying. It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving.” Honesty includes a complete change in our way of doing things – to become more honest. When we are not honest, then it becomes more and more difficult to tell the truth.
Of course it is one of the commandments to be honest. “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.” (Exodus 20:16) The principle of being honest is, again, very simple. However, it is one that many can find difficult to keep fully for one reason or another. As members of Christ’s church, even as any human being, we should strive to be honest. If we can become more honest, we will find strength to overcome more challenges.
The final example of possible weakness is our use of language. There are a few elements of our language we need to be careful with. We should not take the name of the Lord in vain. We shouldn’t use foul language. Of course, as with chastity and honesty, language is something that Satan has been working on up to today where, to use this kind of language, is something deemed as perfectly acceptable. President Hinckley said “Don’t swear. Don’t profane. Avoid so-called dirty jokes. Stay away from conversation that is sprinkled with foul and filthy words. You will be happier if you do so, and your example will give strength to others.” It is incredible how, when someone shows the example and doesn’t use foul language, it is really noticed by people around them. I’ve personally had a number of instances where people have mentioned they have noticed I don’t swear and appreciate it, or when they mishear me and think I have sworn and are shocked – when many other people around them use the same words freely.
Of course, when we use bad language it drives the Spirit away. “But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.” (James 3:8-9) This verse points out the irony that the mouth that we use to say our prayers to God and even partake of the sacrament with – we sometimes allow it to issue forth things we shouldn’t. Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve stated “Profanity and vulgarity…are sins that separate us from God and cripple our spiritual defences by causing the Holy Ghost to withdraw from us.” Foul language can draw the presence of the Spirit away and easily offend others – just what the adversary would want.
As we use the armour of God to protect ourselves and win the war against the fiery darts of the adversary, we will protect our weaknesses and receive more power by our Heavenly Father. Here is another interesting thought to add to that by President Harold B. Lee:
“[The] armoured man hold[s] in his hand a shield and in his other hand a sword…That shield was the shield of faith and the sword was the sword of the spirit which is the Word of God. I can’t think of any more powerful weapons than faith and a knowledge of the scriptures in…which are contained the Word of God. One so armoured and one so prepared with those weapons is prepared to go out against the enemy.” The armour of God includes offensive as well as defensive preparations. The sword of God’s spirit – meaning the Word of God – can give us power to actively combat the falsehoods of Satan. We can use the scriptures against his lies and therefore, the armour of God becomes, not just a defensive tool that we have to shield us but is also a weapon to vanquish Satan and come off conqueror in our daily, spiritual battle.