Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Prepared To Stand Firm

Ephesians 6:10-20 is one of those important passages in Scripture that speaks to the issue of spiritual warfare. Ephesians 6:10 tells us Paul’s intention in writing this portion of his letter to the Ephesians, and that is that we might be strong in the Lord and the strength of His might. It is so important that we grab hold of this purposeful instruction so that we might more fully understand how the armor he next speaks of works. Paul follows this with three instructions to “stand firm.” He goes on to tell us that our real enemy is not flesh and blood that we can attack him, but unseen and more than willing to come after us.

Paul speaks of six specific pieces of armor, three which are pre-existing of any conflict for the Christian. The first is having girded our loins or having been wrapped in a belt of truth-the unchanging truth upon which everything else hangs. God cannot lie, and all that He has declared is true. Second, he speaks of the breastplate of righteousness – the fact that having placed our trust in Jesus Christ for salvation He has declared us righteous and that is who we forever are. It’s the truth. Third, are the shoes of peace which because of what Christ did for us has made us at peace with God and results in us being able to know His peace even in the midst of the greatest battle. All three of these are written of in the past perfect tense as things which already having been accomplished are still true and effective – done deals. Or, at least done deals for those who have believed and called upon the name of Jesus Christ and received His promised gift of salvation. They are part of the being saved bundle.

Paul then goes on to three pieces which are taken up in the heat of battle, things which are there and present but specially grabbed hold of when things get tough. The first of these is the shield of faith, which Sarah speaks of today. This shield was not a small thing that we swung around in an effort to fend off an attack, but a huge door type shield that we truly could hide behind. And in that way, when we are attacked we hide in the assurance that God will wrap himself around us and take care of us. There is absolutely nothing which can separate us from Him and He has told us to trust Him in this. Taking up the shield of faith is choosing to trust God in those moments when everything else looks too large or imposing.

The second of those items taken up is the helmet of salvation, which is reminding ourselves that whether the enemy actually lop off our heads (which the helmet is to protect) or try any of his other attacks on our head and our mind, that we focus on the certainty of our salvation and the settled truth that eternally speaking he can’t do anything to change it.

And the last of the armor items mentioned, is the sword of the spirit which is the word of God. It is the word of God not in the sense that we beat the devil over the head with the Bible, but in the sense that in these times of attack we stand firm relying on all of the various pieces of truth that we have learned of God and from His Word. This is a truth battle, and our defense is hiding God’s Word in our hearts and actively thinking on it when attacked as in all other times.

There is one more very important thing Paul speaks of that is generally not looked at as a piece of armor, and that is prayer. Paul stressed the importance of prayer, and in the military sense it is God who is our head and Christ who is our Lord. Knowing that our battle is a spiritual one, we need to spend time with our God who knows all things, including the unseen. We need to spend time with Him and take our direction from Him.
Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (5/15)

Spending time alone with Me is essential for your well-being. It is not a luxury or an option; it is a necessity. Therefore, do not feel guilty about taking time to be with Me. Remember that Satan is the accuser of believers. He delights in heaping guilt feelings upon you, especially when you are enjoying My Presence. When you feel Satan’s arrows of accusation, you are probably on the right track. Use your shield of faith to protect yourself from him. Talk with Me about what you are experiencing, and ask Me to show you the way forward. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to Me, and I will come near to you. And lest you think that this is only necessary when you are being attacked, remember that our enemy is wily and has no problem coming after us when our defenses are down.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.” Revelation 12:10

In addition to all of this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Ephesians 6:16

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:7-8

No comments: