Reading For Tuesday Ephesians 6:10-20
Life in Christ is not some suspended state where the believer simply sits around and waits for the trip home while acquiring wealth and power. As Paul brings the letter to the Ephesians to its conclusion, he explains that war that rages in unseen places and we are involved in the conflict. Paul tells the Ephesians to be strong and stand. However, let us not miss the point of this exhortation and turn the battles of this life into some contest that we must win through our strength and abilities. Our strength is in God's might and just try to quantify God's mighty power. We are provided with God's armor for the ability to stand. The imagery of the armor hearkens back the prophet Isaiah, which pictures the Lord of Hosts dressed for battle and ready to vindicate his people (11:4-5 and 59:17). When one reads about these rulers, authorities, cosmic powers, and spiritual forces in the heavenly places, one might be tempted to shrink back from the battle. However, remember, we are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ in the heavenly places (1:3) and we are seated with our champion in the heavenly places (2:6). Christ has already triumphed over these powers (1:21 and 3:10), and although the fruits of his glorious victory are not yet fully realized, we are equipped with his armor and might.
Our objective in being clothed in the armor is so that we might be able to stand against the devil's schemes. Our enemy constantly searches for an opportunity to attack through our flesh (4:27), but we can stand in our armor. We are to take our stand in truth revealed by Jesus and in the sacred scriptures. We stand in the righteousness of Christ since it has been credited to us. We stand in the good news which gives us peace even in battle. We take the shield of faith, knowing that every word and promise of God is true. We are confident in our protector Jesus when the battle rages. The helmet of salvation is received because God has rescued Christians from death, wrath, slavery to sin, and transferred them into the heavenly dominion where Christ rules. Finally, we shift to the offensive in the battle as we take the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. This is the weapon carried by our Lord into battle. Remember the temptation Jesus faced in the wilderness? He used the word to defeat the enemy. The proclamation of the word of God in the power of the Spirit parries and spears the enemy. Paul concludes by counseling believers to remember that a life of dependence on God in prayer is inherent if they are to engage successfully in their warfare against the powers of darkness.
Things To Consider:
Why must we be mindful of the truth that it is God's strength that will enable us to stand?
Can you leave out parts of the armor? If so, which ones and why? If not, why not?
How does Jesus relate to these rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers? How do they relate to him?
How can be peace be found in battle?
How does one learn to use the sword of the Spirit?
Do you regularly practice the discipline of prayer? Why or why not?
How can you grow in this discipline?
How should we pray for others that seek to declare the gospel?
How are your battles going? Why?