I’m always excited when it’s time to teach my class at Calvary Temple about the Armor of God. When I was a senior in high school (not that long ago, I swear!), it was the topic of our senior class trip to Kenya. We made the decision to write several short puppet skits that could illustrate the different pieces of armor, and then worked on a simple song to tie it all together. When we returned from our trip, we were asked to use the same song and skits for the Children’s Church, and the puppet team (as we know it today) was born.
That was almost ten years ago (!!), and we are still going strong. (I did the math the other day. Since the puppet team began, we have performed almost 500 times! And I’d estimate about 150 unique puppet skits with at least 7 different songs.)
The Armor of God, in addition to being nostalgic to me, is always fun to teach the kids. (I almost feel like God was thinking about them when he inspired Paul to write Ephesians.) They’re so easy to remember because they each have a very specific piece of armor associated with it.
So far in our series, we’ve covered the first three pieces of armor:
The Belt of Truth. The Breastplate of Righteousness. The Feet Shod with the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace (phew!)
Here are some of the ways we helped the kids remember why each piece of armor was important.
With the Belt of Truth, Andy was sent on a special mission for Sir Joe, the Knight. On his way there, the enemy lures him away from his mission with sweet, yummy donut lies. In fact, Andy eats so many donuts that he gets too fat to keep wearing his Belt of Truth, and so he is forced to take it off. But, when it’s time for him to stand up to the enemy, he is unable to figure out what is true and what is a lie. He nearly fails his mission if not for his mentor, Sir Joe, saving the day.
Just like Andy, sometimes we can fall for the lies of the devil. Maybe he is telling us that our parents don’t love us, or that they love our sibling more, or that we got unfair treatment at school, or that our friends don’t like us anymore. Without the Belt of Truth, or our knowledge of God and who He is, we will fall for those lies every time! One great practical way (that might be easier for some of the older kids) is to speak the truth out loud when you start to feel like you are believing the devil’s lies. (We have a great example of that when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness–every time the devil tried to lie to Him, Jesus responded with a truth straight from the Word of God.)
Next up is the Breastplate of Righteousness. In this story, Suzie makes her own breastplate from some macaroni she found. The macaroni represented Suzie’s good works–all the Bible verses she memorized and good things that she had done. She thought because she had created so many layers of macaroni on her armor that she’d be safe from whatever the enemy could throw at her. But…she never prepared for the water balloons. Once she’d been hit by all the water balloons, the macaroni armor she’d been so proud of had grown soggy, and she nearly got hit by the enemy’s arrows.
Trusting in our own righteousness is something that many kids raised in church will fall for. (And I’m speaking about myself here!) Many times, because we remained “good kids” most of our lives, we start to trust that all the good things we have done are enough to help us stand against the enemy. But, the Bible tells us that “none are righteous–no, not one!” We are saved through faith, and that faith enables us to do all those wonderful things for God. The only thing we can trust in is that God’s power (through us!) enables us to do great things for Him. When we put on our Breastplate of Righteousness, we are saying that we are righteous and saved through Jesus’ blood alone!
Last, we have the Feet shod with the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace. I’ve heard some people call these just the “Gospel Shoes”, but I think that the entire name is important–especially the part about preparation. Unless we have a good relationship with God (or are prepared ahead of time), we won’t be able to share the gospel with others.
The puppet skit for that week focused on the aspect of peace. Suzie had gotten a new pair of beautiful sparkly shoes, and decided that she would wear those instead of her “Gospel Shoes”. But, when it came time to tell people about the Good News, she was too afraid to say anything and ran away.
Many times for kids, telling others about Jesus can be a little scary. (I admit it’s even still scary for me sometimes!) They worry they’ll get laughed at or made fun of or maybe their friends won’t like them anymore. But, when we are fully prepared, we will be at peace because we have the power of God working through us.