Armor Up!

Today’s Reading: Ephesians 6:10-24

How fitting it is that we come to this portion of Scripture just two weeks after Halloween – a day when our culture celebrates and makes light of the evil forces of this world. But Satan is much more than a red cartoon costume with horns and a pointy tail. His attempts to destroy us are much more serious than the clever line “the devil made me do it”.

At the end of his letter to the Ephesians, Paul describes for us the armor of God and how to stand firm against the very real attempts of the enemy to block God’s plan for our lives.

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. – Ephesians 6:10-12

Paul has spent his entire letter talking to the believers about God’s plan for their life – individually and in the Church. Now he gives a final word but it is much more than a simple conclusion. It is a strong warning! Be strong in the Lord who holds the plan and in His mighty power and strength. God has provided armor to make this possible, even when the devil is using all his tricks and strategies. Be aware that there is an unseen spiritual battle taking place and there are times you will find yourself right in the middle of it.

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. – Ephesians 6:13-17

There is no doubt about it – we have an enemy! We could potentially fight some kind of spiritual battle every day but there is no need to panic, no need to fear, for God is on our side and the battle has already been won. When the enemy tries to discourage us, we can remind Him of the Sovereignty of God; when he tries to block the path ahead of us, all we have to do is speak the name of Jesus and he has to flee.

Resist the devil and he will flee from you. – James 4:7b

I can tell you right now that the enemy does not like it when we are growing in our relationship with Christ. He tries to discourage us and speak lies into our hearts. I have had to make a very conscious effort to put on the armor of God and speak the name of Jesus, reminding myself that the devil is full of lies and wants nothing more than to block God’s plan for my life.

The best advice I can find in my morning coffee to prepare me for the battle ahead is found in the next verse of Ephesians 6: PRAY in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere (v.18).

We can pray. It is our strongest tactic – praying in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion, staying alert and praying persistently, not just for ourselves but for all believers everywhere. The next best thing I can do to prepare for the battle ahead comes next in the Scripture – I can ask you to pray for me. There is power in prayer and when we unite in prayer, the enemy has no chance.

And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike. I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should. – Ephesians 6:19-20

Yet another reason why God calls us into fellowship with other believers – to pray for them and to let them pray for you. So stand your ground. Evil is much more than a funny Halloween costume. Put on every piece of God’s armor so that you will be able to resist Satan’s attempts. Put on the belt of truth so that you can stand against His lies. Ask God to clothe you today with His righteousness. Spend time in God’s word so that He can fill you with His peace, fully preparing you for what is ahead. Hold high your shield of faith and the sword of the Holy Spirit, which is the word of God. Do not live in fear but in peace.

As we end our study of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, let me leave you with his closing words to us:
Peace be with you, dear brothers and sisters, and may God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you love with faithfulness. May God’s grace be eternally upon all who love our Lord Jesus Christ. – Ephesians 6:23-24