Viewpoint: Put on the Armor of God

Contributed By the Church News

  • 20 September 2015

Our spiritual armor is like chain mail, dozens of tiny pieces of steel fastened together. There is no one great act that can fortify us spiritually. Spiritual power lies in many small acts working together to protect us from spiritual harm. 

Article Highlights

  • We should be grateful to live in the fulness of times.
  • Though there are great evils that surround us, we should be optimistic as we move the work of the Lord forward.
  • Prophets have told us many ways to strengthen our spiritual armor. We should study and follow their counsel.

“I like to think of this spiritual armor not as a solid piece of metal molded to fit the body, but more like chain mail. Chain mail consists of dozens of tiny pieces of steel fastened together to allow the user greater flexibility without losing protection. … True spiritual power lies in numerous smaller acts woven together in a fabric of spiritual fortification that protects and shields from all evil.” —Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve

“I do not know what we did in the preexistence to merit the wonderful blessings we enjoy. We have come to earth in this great season in the long history of mankind. It is a marvelous age, the best of all. As we reflect on the plodding course of mankind, from the time of our first parents, we cannot help feeling grateful” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Living in the Fulness of Times,” Ensign, Nov. 2001).

So began remarks President Gordon B. Hinckley made as he opened the October 2001 semiannual general conference of the Church, less than a month after the September 11 terrorist attacks on America.

President Hinckley noted that this era is the fulness of times spoken of in the scriptures, when God has brought together all of the elements of previous dispensations. “From the day that He and His Beloved Son manifested themselves to the boy Joseph, there has been a tremendous cascade of enlightenment poured out upon the world. …

“There has been more of scientific discovery during these years than during all of the previous history of mankind. Transportation, communication, medicine, public hygiene, the unlocking of the atom, the miracle of the computer, with all of its ramifications, have blossomed forth, particularly in our own era. During my own lifetime, I have witnessed miracle after wondrous miracle come to pass. We take it for granted. …

“But wonderful as this time is, it is fraught with peril. Evil is all about us. It is attractive and tempting and in so many cases successful. …

“We live in a season when fierce men do terrible and despicable things. We live in a season of war. We live in a season of arrogance. We live in a season of wickedness, pornography, immorality. All of the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah haunt our society. Our young people have never faced a greater challenge. We have never seen more clearly the lecherous face of evil.”

Speaking at a CES devotional on March 3, 2002, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “As the Lord predicted in the preface to the Doctrine and Covenants, we now see the time when ‘the devil shall have power over his own dominion’ (D&C 1:35). Is it any wonder that some are dismayed and disturbed by what they see? Yet, my dear young friends, we do not find President Hinckley or the other apostles and prophets wallowing in despair, nor do we sense even the smallest touch of hopelessness. The opposite is true. As President Hinckley also said:

“‘Now, I do not wish to be an alarmist. I do not wish to be a prophet of doom. I am optimistic. I do not believe the time is here when all-consuming calamity will overtake us. … There is much of the Lord’s work yet to be done. We, and our children after us, must do it’” (“The Times in Which We Live,” Ensign, Nov. 2001, 74).

Elder Ballard said that long before the world was formed, Satan and those who followed him raged against the forces of good and tried to overthrow the work of God.

“That struggle has not ended, only shifted battlegrounds,” he said. “It is ruthless, and relentless; the objective of the battle is your eternal soul and mine” (“Be Strong in the Lord, and in the Power of His Might,” CES devotional, Mar. 2002).

He said Paul spoke of how to arm ourselves for this conflict in these very graphic terms:

“Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:10–13).

Elder Ballard asked, “How do we put on the whole armor of God so that we may, as Paul promises, ‘be able to withstand the evil day?’

“I like to think of this spiritual armor not as a solid piece of metal molded to fit the body, but more like chain mail. Chain mail consists of dozens of tiny pieces of steel fastened together to allow the user greater flexibility without losing protection. I say that because it has been my experience … that there is not one great and grand thing we can do to arm ourselves spiritually. True spiritual power lies in numerous smaller acts woven together in a fabric of spiritual fortification that protects and shields from all evil.

“It is a common expression to talk about the ‘chinks’ in a person’s armor. The definition of the word chink is ‘a crack, a cleft … a narrow opening’ (Random House Dictionary of the English Language, 2nd ed., 360). Should an arrow strike exactly one of the chinks in one’s armor, a fatal wound can result.”

President Harold B. Lee said: “Note carefully that the Apostle Paul’s declaration implies that our most deadly contest in life is not with human enemies which may come with guns, with army tanks, or bombing planes to destroy us, but that our eternal struggle is with enemies which strike out of darkness and may not be perceived by human senses” (Stand Ye in Holy Places [1974], 330).

Prophets and apostles have taught how we might arm ourselves. It is not possible to list here all their counsel. Among their many addresses in general conferences, other meetings, and writings, they have counseled us to pray; live so that the Holy Ghost can guide us; study and apply the teachings of the scriptures; attend Church meetings and the temple; revere that which is sacred and holy; turn away from evil; seek that which is virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy; and engage in worthwhile pursuits.

May we wisely follow their counsel.