Saturday, March 31, 2012

Fully Armed.

"Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil.  For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.  
Stand,therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest,  and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word." Ephesians 6:10-17
Any wise person who's facing a fight is not going to go into it unprepared. In this particular passage of Ephesians, Paul is speaking to the church of Ephesus about the battle they are facing. He tells them clearly and plainly that their enemy is not physical but spiritual, a force to be reckoned with that should not be taken lightly. Their enemy, the Devil, is tactful, authoritative, and a presence both here and in the heavens. No matter how powerful he may seem, however, the apostle reassures the Children of God that they have no reason to fear him. Because he has made readily available the most powerful weapons we could brandish. 
It would be easy to look at these verses and to only view them as a cheesy war metaphor ( especially if you're like me and have grown up going to one too many VBS weekends where everyone dressed like soldiers). The temptation to glance over them and not see the truth behind them is great, but let's not take what Paul is saying here for granted. Just as his words were relevant then, they are still true for you and I today. There's no question that everyday we wake up we face something that is vastly bigger than ourselves. We have a choice to either live as the defeated or to take a stand against every source of discouragement, frustration, and pain.  
It is up to us to utilize the weapons that God has given us, but first we have to know what they are:   
The Belt Of Truth: Jesus himself is the truth that we hold close to us ( John 14:6, 1 John 5:20)
Righteousness Like Armor: On our chests, which means over our hearts. ( Romans 1:17, 1 John 5:20)
Readiness For The Gospel Of Peace: On our feet, the things that take us from place to place. We are motivated and compelled to move by it. ( Colossians 3:23)
The Shield Of Faith: A source of defense we carry with us at all times. ( 2nd Thess. 3:3, Hebrews 4:3)
The Helmet Of Salvation: On our heads, near to our minds. We must always be mentally aware of the grace that God has given us.( 1 Thess 5:8)
The Sword Of The Spirit: Something that we wield. (Galatians 5:25, Psalm 51:11, Romans 8:9, Mark 14:47)
Through God we have vast strength and a hope that doesn't waiver. Because of his Gospel, his truth, his Spirit, and his righteousness; we are equipped and ready to face whatever might come our way.

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