Monday, April 1, 2013

A is for “The Armor of God”
By Shelly Burke

(The posts for the A to Z Blogging Challenge will focus on teaching kids lessons from selected Bible verses. Adapt your teaching to the age of the kids you’re talking with.)

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you are able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, stand firm... Stand therefore having fastened on the belt of truth... breastplate of righteousness, as shoes the Gospel of peace… the shield of faith… the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. Ephesians 6:13-18 (excerpts)

To introduce the topic of “The Armor of God,” ask  your kids why they get dressed every day and why they specifically wear a belt, shoes, etc. The answer of course, is that the different pieces of clothing provide the types of protection they’ll need throughout the day. The verses above list the armor a Roman soldier would put on to wear during battle. (Optional: print out a picture of a Roman soldier and point out the pieces of armor he is wearing.)

Next talk about the “evil day.” This describes the sin that was in the world when Ephesians was written, and is part of the world today. As age-appropriate, talk about some of the sin in the world, and why we, as Christians, need to guard against that sin.

Next talk about how different items of clothing were used by the Roman soldiers, and by us today. How does this help us “dress” today, for the spiritual battles we face?  

·         Belt of truth. A belt goes around the waist and helps us to stand straight (because it pinches if we slump). The Roman soldier’s belt held the top pieces of his armor to the bottom pieces.  The truth, God’s truth, surrounds us and helps us to stand strong and straight.
          Breastplate of righteousness. A breastplate is like a shirt, protecting the upper body. Righteousness refers to the character of being like God—right and just. On our own we cannot act in a way that is pleasing to God. However, with the righteousness we receive from Christ through grace, our actions can reflect Him dwelling in us.
          Shoes of the Gospel of peace. The Roman soldiers wore shoes/sandals that had nails pounded through them, to enable them to stand firmly and hold their ground. As Christians, we need to hold our ground too. Ask your kids when they’ve had to hold their ground; perhaps when a classmate asked to copy their homework or they were tempted to drink alcohol or engage in sexual activity with a boy- or girl-friend. Knowing God’s Gospel of peace enables them to have an answer or reason for not going against God’s Word.
           The shield of faith. The shield was the soldiers’ first line of defense—the Roman soldiers had shields that were almost as tall as their bodies, so protected them very well from the flaming darts the opponents threw at them. In the same way, our faith in God can protect us from the “flaming darts” that come at us—people mocking our faith, temptations, and so on. Encourage your children to ask God to increase their faith.
           The helmet of salvation. The helmet—just as a hat, or football helmet or helmet worn when riding a bike—protects our most vital part, our head, and our most important organ, our brain. Our brain controls our whole body, so it must be protected! We receive our salvation—the most important thing we can ever have—through God’s grace. We accept it by faith.
          The sword of the Spirit. In these verses, the sword refers to the Word of God. We can use God’s Word to defend ourselves against the attacks of satan. Jesus used the words of God when the devil tried to tempt Him (Matthew 4:1-11).  It is vital that we know God’s Word so we can use it to defend ourselves when we need to.

We—adults and children alike—need to put on the “armor of God” every single day before we leave home. Encourage your children to do so—and do so yourself! Talk about it before you leave home in the morning, and in the evening ask your kids how they used the “armor of God.”

Lord, please help us to put on Your armor every day as we prepare to go to school or to work, so we can live in a way that is pleasing to You. Amen.

I’m also blogging at "Nebraska Family Times" for the A to Z Challenge.
The blog posts there will “Inspire, encourage, and motivate you in your Christian walk.” 
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