The Full Armor of God – It’s Not Just Phone Case Fantasy

The Full Armor of God – It’s Not Just Phone Case Fantasy September 10, 2023

Female fantasy knight wielding sword
Full reveal: This is an AI-generated “female fantasy knight,” but still. The perfect makeup. The clean hair. The lack of helmet. Not sure this cosplay would work against the spiritual forces of evil. Credit: pixabay

Sometimes I’m scrolling (I know, don’t judge me), and I see ads for “Armor of God phone case – Shop Now.” And for that brief, glimmering moment, I imagine myself with that armor-clad woman’s perfect flowy ponytail (I currently have very short hair), kneeling down in front of Christ with her fancy sword in hand, and I feel… epic.

Then my yoga pants and T-shirt jolt me back to reality – sigh, it’s just a fantasy image on a phone case. I tell myself, “Don’t be silly, Paul wrote this list of armor pieces in such different times, just keep scrolling.” Nothing against these phone cases, I’m not judging them! I’m sure other believers have the same reaction, and the imagery probably inspires some folks to use the pieces of armor; maybe the cases even spark conversations – it’s always a good thing to organically open a convo about God.

I would, though, like to wrap up this 11-part series on the full armor of God with a look at what we’re dealing with here.

Let’s look directly at Scripture. What does apostle Paul say this armor is really for – really?

And should we really be thinking pretty far beyond phone cases with fantasy imagery?


The full armor of God – beyond the phone case fantasy version

Here’s the passage; I’ve included the individual verses in parentheses to help us look more deeply:

“(11) Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. (12) For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (13) Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (14) Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, (15) and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. (16) In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. (17) Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

(18) And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

Ephesians 6:11-18 (NIV)

In my full series of articles, we’ve considered, through stories, from verses 13 – 18:

Now it’s time to backtrack to verses 11 and 12, as well as 13b…

And arm ourselves against some really big struggles.


Wait, then why did I just put all that stuff on?

In verse 12, Paul tells us, first, exactly what our struggle is not against – and then, exactly what our struggle is against.

Turns out, we’re not struggling against “flesh and blood.”

Um, are you asking the question that I asked when I went deep into this passage? If we’re not defending our bodies against physical attacks from other “flesh and blood,” why did Paul tell us to “put on” all these items that make up a suit of armor? And let’s be frank – are you also feeling the sting of disappointment that I felt when I realized I won’t be looking like that fantasy imagery any time soon, unless there’s some Armor of God Convention a-comin’ to town?

Even back in the 1st century after Jesus’ death and resurrection, your average believer didn’t have access to a full suit of armor, or even one piece of armor. So, again – why, Paul? Why build us up just to deflate us?

He inspires us through what we know, through what we’re familiar with.

We know, just as early believers knew, what a suit of armor looks like. We’re familiar with what the pieces can do for a fighter, with the power and protection that come with putting it all on. Because we’re familiar with the imagery and we’ve seen it used successfully – even if, for us, it’s only in films and TV – it’s easier for us to feel imbued with that power and protection… and maybe even feel inspired to act if we needed to.


But this still feels like cosplay

Right. But it still feels like cosplay – until we deeply know what we’re struggling against.

In verse 12, Paul tells us that our struggle is “against rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

For the purposes of this article, I’m going to keep our focus on the 2nd half of this list: “the powers of this dark world and… spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

I think I can comfortably say that you’ve seen some darkness in your time on this earth; I know for sure I have. Bullying, illnesses, debt, injuries, failures, abandonment, miscarriages, divorce, joblessness… the list goes on and on. That darkness can feel scary, heavy, overwhelming, depressing, insurmountable.

What about “spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”? Do you think you may have experienced some of those, reflected in events that have happened to you on earth? I’m quite sure I have, and for a couple of examples from my life, feel free to read (or re-read) the story of how the enemy slyly used my husband to try to derail my baptism, and/or the story of how the enemy blatantly used a friend to try to cast me into despair in the wake of my rebirth.

When you realize how the evil one brings his intentions from the spiritual realms into our realm – oftentimes through the “flesh and blood” of those closest to us – things get truly terrifying.


True terror

Do you remember Job, from the Old Testament? Whether you do, or if you’ve never heard Job’s story, he had every earthly thing stripped away from him at the height of his earthly success. Let’s take a quick look at the arrangement that was made in the spiritual realms right before Job’s life got wrecked.

“Then the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.’

‘Does Job fear God for nothing?’ Satan replied. ‘Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.’

The Lord said to Satan, ‘Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”

Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.”

Job 1:8-12 (NIV)

I don’t know about you, but I shiver when I read this. I mean, God gave the evil one free rein over Job’s life, except for actually taking it. All to “allow” the evil one to attempt to prove his point.

And the evil one took everything – every thing – except for Job’s life itself.

Yet, Job never did God curse to His face, not even once.


Job was inspired to keep his faith in God’s faithfulness through what he knew, through what he was familiar with. He may or may not have known about suits of armor, but he did know this one basic truth, which he stated right up front in Job 1:20-21 (NIV):

“At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:

‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb,

and naked I will depart.

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;

may the name of the Lord be praised.'”


Using God’s inspiration against real spiritual evil

Certainly, the Book of Job deserves at least a series unto itself. The point for this article is that this is what Job knew. It’s what he was familiar with. Therefore, it is what he used as his defense against the evil one.

And Paul inspires us with imagery that we know, that we’re familiar with, to explain what we can use as our defense.

I’ll close this series on the full armor of God with a question for you to pray on, with guidance from the Holy Spirit:

  • Of the 7 pieces or God’s full armor, which one do you know the most about?
    • How have you used it in the past?
    • How can you now better use it in the future?
  • Of the 7 pieces of God’s full armor, which one do you feel the least familiar with?
    • Have you ever used it, even inadvertently? (For example, see my one-two punch pair of articles on Prayer as pieces of God’s full armor)
    • How can you become more familiar with your least familiar piece – so it’ll be ready for use in the future?
About Coco Cabrel
Coco Cabrel, The Flamenco-Fit MD, uplifts professional women searching for Christian grace in their bodies and souls, even when life feels ungraceful to them. She uses her God-given gifts as a writer, speaker, dancer and teaching MD to share devotional stories, fun workouts with Flamenco flair, and effective courses that help to rise triumphant over hardship. You can read more about the author here.

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