04241_000_012The scriptures use a powerful illustration to teach us how to protect ourselves in the battle against evil.
In the scriptures we learn that we are engaged in a battle against evil and that we must protect ourselves if we are to be victorious (see Ephesians 6:11–17; D&C 27:15–18). They speak of the “armour of God,” which will help us “stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11). Here are some of the ways this armor protects us, as well as some ways we can secure it.
“Examine your armor. Is there an unguarded or unprotected place? Determine now to add whatever part is missing. … Through the great principle of repentance you can turn your life about and begin now clothing yourself with the armor of God through study, prayer, and a determination to serve God and keep his commandments.”
President N. Eldon Tanner (1898–1982), First Counselor in the First Presidency, “‘Put on the Whole Armor of God,’” Ensign, May 1979, 46.
Breastplate of righteousness
We should wear the “breastplate of righteousness” (Ephesians 6:14; D&C 27:16). A breastplate protects vital organs such as the heart and lungs. Our righteousness, both in thought and deed, protects the core of our spiritual lives.
We should wield the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17; see D&C 27:18). A sword is a weapon used to strike at the enemy. The word of God is “sharper than any two-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12), and the power of the Spirit can “carry [the truth] unto the hearts of the children of men” (2 Nephi 33:1), help people to “know the truth of all things” (Moroni 10:5), and even “thrash the nations” through the preaching of the gospel (D&C 35:13). With our testimony and the power and peace of God’s Spirit, we can strike against and conquer the enemy of all righteousness.
We should have our “feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15; D&C 27:16). Shod means wearing shoes. “Your feet … represent your goals or objectives in life. … Preparedness is the way to victory, and ‘eternal vigilance is the price of safety.’ … The tide of victory rests with him who is prepared” (President Harold B. Lee [1899–1973], “Message from the First Presidency,” Ensign, Jan. 1971, 2).
We should put on the “helmet of salvation” (Ephesians 6:17; D&C 27:18). Focusing our minds on Christ and His salvation will protect us from unworthy thoughts, keep our “eye single to the glory of God” (D&C 4:5), and guide us in our decisions.
Shield of faith
We should pick up the “shield of faith, wherewith [we] shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” (Ephesians 6:16; D&C 27:17). A shield is the most versatile and effective means of defense in battle. Our faith, if it is built upon Christ and His gospel, can defend us against the adversary’s numerous onslaughts, just as a shield, if it is made of the right material, will withstand volleys of fiery darts.
“In the Church we can teach about the materials from which a shield of faith is made: reverence, courage, chastity, repentance, forgiveness, compassion. In church we can learn how to assemble and fit them together. But the actual making of and fitting on of the shield of faith belongs in the family circle. Otherwise it may loosen and come off in a crisis.”
President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “The Shield of Faith,” Ensign, May 1995, 8.
Gird your loins
We should have our “loins girt about with truth” (Ephesians 6:14; D&C 27:16). Loins means the area between the hips and abdomen. Girt means tied around firmly with a belt. Generally, to “gird your loins” means to prepare for action. We prepare ourselves to take action in the battle against evil by learning the truth through prayer and scripture study (see Alma 17:2–3; D&C 11:21; D&C 84:85).
Illustration by Scott Greer