10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 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. 13 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.
(Ephesians 6:10-13 NIV)
In the previous passage, Paul wrapped up his points about submission to one another out of reverence to Christ by addressing employer-employee relations.
Today, Paul begins his final instructions for practical Christ-like living to the Ephesians (and to us). And what does Paul tell us? To be strong in the Lord, and in His might power.
Hmmm…. Sounds familiar, right? Remember that Paul addressed the availability of God’s power to live our lives back in Chapter 1 – the same power that physically and bodily raised Christ from the dead.
And what is this power needed for? To fight a battle, the battle of life, the battle for our minds.
And who is the enemy? Verse 11 – the devil and his schemes.
Is the devil a physical enemy, that we must fight with swords, guns, and other devices of war? No.
Paul tells us that our enemy is unseen, that 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.
And if our enemy is unseen, where does the battle take place? In our minds, and in our hearts. The enemy knows that he cannot defeat us to the point of losing our salvation, but he can take us out or neutralize us as a threat against evil and a force for God’s good.
Paul tells us that the goal of the battle is victory. Will we take some hits, some injuries, some battle scars? Probably. Will they hurt? Absolutely. Paul does not deny any of those possibilities. But he does say that if we are prepared, we will be the last one standing when the devil comes to do hand-to-hand combat with us.
We don’t have to go looking for trouble – we live in a fallen world, and the enemy will bring the battle to the doorstep of our hearts and minds. It’s guaranteed.
Remember Jesus’ words:
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 NIV)
We cannot run and hide to avoid the fight, but we can prepare to fight and win. And while we have to fight our individual battles, the overall war against sin and death has already been won through Christ’s death on the cross, and His resurrection to life everlasting.
So how do we prepare ourselves? By putting on the full armor of God. We will begin our study of each of the pieces of God’s armor in subsequent days.