"Got Your 6"
The Other Part of the full armor of God
"Got your 6." It's a phrase used among those in the military, and after their time of service. Think of the hours of a clock laid flat. 12 o'clock is straight in front of you; 3 o'clock is to your right; and 9 o'clock to your left. "Got your 6" means "I've got your back." And there's where we turn to Paul's description of the full armor of God.
In Ephesians chapter 6 (verses 10-20) Paul tells the Ephesian Christians to put on the full armor of God. You might remember: the "belt of truth," the "breastplate of righteousness," for shoes the "readiness given by the gospel of peace," the "shield of faith," the "helmet of salvation," and the "sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." And someone wonders, what about the back? Is that because the Roman soldier is supposed to be facing the enemy? But there is something unexpected.
In Greek, unlike in English, all the verbs have numerous different forms, so you can tell if they are singular or plural (and a bunch of other things). Every verb Paul uses in these verses is plural. He is not talking about an individual soldier standing by himself. He is talking about all the Ephesian Christians standing together. So the first lesson to learn is that we hold together. We need each other, and we need each other especially when we are worn down, tired or discouraged.
But the second lesson is the "other part of the armor." As he described the whole armor of God, he did not forget about the back. The armor that protects the back of the soldier is his fellow soldier. Every soldier who has served in our armed forces can tell you that! That's why the saying is abbreviated and shortened. "Got your 6" is a brief pledge held in common to watch over each other in the middle of danger when each one is vulnerable and needs the other.
What Paul says immediately after he has finished describing "the sword of the Spirit ... the word of God" is this -- "praying at all times in the Spirit ... making supplication for all the saints, and also for me ..." (Ephesians 6:18-19) He asks them, "You got my 6? Will you pray for me?"
All around you are people in danger, vulnerable, and struggling with everything happening in our country and around the world. They need you to have their back. Begin with prayer. Talk to God about their needs. Ask God to help you see the needs of your neighbors, friends, the doctors, nurses, workers in the stores, on the roads, maintaining our power, light, heat, and so many more things. God is very good at knowing these things.
As He helps you see and know, then pray, reach out, comfort, encourage, see where you can offer to help. This is the work of the Lord, the best and noblest we can be.
In fact, this truly is "the Lord's work." The Bible says that Jesus "is able to save to the uttermost ... since He always lives to make intercession" for us. (Hebrews 7:25) Jesus prays for you. Right now Jesus is talking to God the Father about you. He knows every thought, doubt, hope and need; He knows all that is going on around you and all that is happening within you. And He is able to do both the amazing and the unseen things for you in ways that only God can do. Join Him in praying for your neighbor.
(Make your list; add to it, and talk to Jesus about their needs.)
Lord Jesus, guide me to see my neighbors' needs. Lead me to see and understand as You do; to know how to pray, how to encourage and comfort, and how to help. And right now I pray for _____________
Rev. Mark Willig
Pastor Willig is pastor emeritus of Friends in Christ Lutheran Church.