Could you use some strength right about now?
Let me guess, you feel as if you must carry the weight of the world on your shoulders, and it's up to you to fix the many problems you're facing. You find yourself awake at night, thinking of all the to-do's on your list, the conflicts you've faced with other people, and the ways you're not measuring up.
Well, I have good news for you. Jesus knows a thing or two about fighting darkness, and He wants to impart some of His peace and strength to you today.
For today's blog post, I'm doing a deep-dive into the ever-popular passage of putting on the armor of God from Ephesians 6. Whatever mountain you're facing, these verses from Paul's letter to the church in Ephesus are meant to equip you with resilience to win the spiritual battles you're facing.
Paul's Call to Arms
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes." ~ Ephesians 6:10-11
Paul knows exactly how to embolden the church of Ephesus! He finishes His letter with a powerful metaphor, likening the faith to preparing for battle.
As believers, we must always be on our guard and be prepared for battle.
Why? "Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8). Paul brings awareness to the fact that there are forces conspiring against us—very real spiritual forces that are just as real as the threats we face in the physical world.
Not to fear! You're not sent into combat alone or without means. God equips you with everything you need to be successful in this spiritual battle. There's a reason we are "more than conquerors through him who loved us" (Romans 8:37).
Fighting the Flesh & the Devil
"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." ~ Ephesians 6:12
Whether you realize it or not, you are in a spiritual battle. In fact, it's a war over your very soul.
The two things we're battling are the flesh and the devil. What exactly is "the flesh?" It's our own sin, our own fallen humanity, that often holds us back from obeying God's will.
We must also consider our spiritual enemies—the devil and his forces.
We're told many things in the Bible about Satan's mission to separate us from God, but little about him himself, other than he is a fallen angel and is set on establishing chaos and darkness in the world.
In C.S. Lewis' classic satire, The Screwtape Letters, he writes as two demons communicating back in forth, sharing how they work to distract humans from God's love and light. This quote is such a vivid example of how easily we can turn from God: "Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts."
In short, it's easy (far too easy!) for us to lose sight of God's will for our lives and fall into the schemes of the devil. That's why memorizing a passage like Ephesians 6 is so important. It equips us with the means necessary to fight this battle, and it reminds us of God's unstoppable power.
In Ephesians 1:21, we're told that Jesus is seated "far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come." Because of this, we don't have to live in fear of the enemy. We serve the one who has conquered all.
The Armor of God, A Proper Response
"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. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." ~ Ephesians 13:-17
Now that we've identified our threats, what are we to do about them? The heart of this entire chapter can be found in these verses, describing the armor of God in such detail. Let's go through it together, shall we?
The armor of God:
- Belt of truth
- Breastplate of righteousness
- Feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of peace
- Shield of faith
- Helmet of salvation
- Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God
Take a moment to meditate on each of these aspects and pray that God may equip you with His armor today. When we think of fighting these spiritual battles and winning, the best example of this is found in Jesus facing Satan in the desert (Luke 4:1-14).
When tempted by darkness, Jesus recited Scripture. In other words, He used the Sword of the Spirit—God's Word, to stand firm. That's how we are to fight, too. We know from Hebrews 4:12 that, "The word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."
Prayer & Reflection
Whatever darkness you are facing, whether it's of this world or spiritual, God is in control. He will lead you into victory if you continue to trust in Him and call on His name. Never forget the power of our God, LiF sister.
For further reflection, consider about these questions below:
1. What are the greatest battles I'm facing? How can I lift these up to God?
2. How can I spend more time in the Word every day, so I can be properly equipped to fight these battles?
3. Jesus was the ultimate example of spiritual victory. What can I learn from His temptation in the desert (Luke 4:1-14) and how can I implement these practices into my life?
You are so aware of the very real threats I'm facing. I pray you would equip me for battle; allow me to stand strong in your Word in the face of adversity. May I be alert and ready to fight against the enemy always. Allow me to learn from Jesus' practices and incorporate His bravery, obedience, and trust into my own daily rhythm. Grant me victory over these battles, Lord.
In your name, Amen.
A Reminder to Fight
You have the power of the Lord with you! We may know this, but it's so hard to focus on it when we're in the midst of hardship, right? Sometimes we just need that reminder in our face, turning us back to Jesus over and over again. We have just the thing! Check out our Christian t-shirts and accessories. We work hard to craft faith-based apparel that features inspiring words and imagery from the Bible.