The Christian life is a battle. Every day, we must wage war against the world, our own fallen natures, and the devil and his demonic forces. Sin and Satan never take a day off. This may sound a bit intense and harsh, but this is the consistent teaching of the Bible. In today’s passage, as Paul nears the end of his letter to the Ephesians, he warns us that our daily struggles to live for Christ have a strong spiritual dimension. We must trust in God’s “power” and “might” each day. We will face Satanic attacks and influences as we seek to think about and live out our new identities in Christ. The forces of darkness will work through this world to try to steer our eyes off Jesus and onto our worries, fears, and sinful desires. In trying to let the Holy Spirit direct our attitudes and actions, we will face daily temptations to surrender to our old nature’s instincts. From the moment we accept Christ until the day we die and meet Him in heaven, we must expect to fight hard as soldiers in the Lord’s army. We must report for active duty in His kingdom’s service every day.
Accepting this call to arms each day is the only way to experience true Christian joy and happiness. To not fight is to lose, and to lose is to suffer. When Christians don’t learn how to wear and use God’s armor, they are tossed about and beaten up by the sorrows of sin. Without walking in God’s truth, we are persuaded by the lies of the devil and fall victim to his schemes. Without putting on Christ’s righteousness, we fall back into our old sinful habits and characters. Without the gospel of peace leading the paths of our hearts and lips, we pour forth anger and selfishness in our words. Without the shield of faith and the helmet of salvation protecting us from the assaults of Satan, our souls are afflicted by doubts and troubles. And without training ourselves in the use of God’s Holy Sword, the Bible, we are both unable to set unbelievers free from the kingdom of darkness and powerless to help Christ’s people capture the strongholds of sin that remain in our lives.
How do we report for Christian duty each day? By studying God’s Word and seeking His face in prayer. If you do that humbly and honestly each morning, God will equip you for the fight and you will become one of His spiritual warriors. Instead of being kicked in the teeth every day by your sin and the attacks of the devil, you can learn to walk in victory. You can start being all that God wants you to be if you will start showing up for duty in the Lord’s army.
The Text (Ephesians 6:10-18)
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. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
Questions to Think About
- Before reading today’s passage, did you think of the Christian life as a battle? Why or why not?
- Can you think of some examples of spiritual warfare that you have faced this school year? How have you handled the fights?
- Think back on your times in God’s Word this school year. Now think back to your spiritual struggles. Would you say that when you were spending more time reading your Bible and praying that you were experiencing more joy and victory over sin? Explain.
- Remember that Paul wrote this letter while he was a prisoner in the Roman Empire. When he wrote about the armor of God, he was looking at a Roman soldier for inspiration, not a knight from Northern Europe in the Middle Ages. So, when you see the suit of armor in the NRCA lobby, be impressed, but recognize that this was not the model used in Ephesians 6. That said, the Roman soldiers were fully-equipped masters of war, totally ready for the enemies they faced. Like them, we must be prepared to stand strong against our enemies – the world, the flesh, and the devil – each day.
- The list of different kinds of demons in verse 12 should not be over analyzed. While there do seem to be different rankings in Satan’s army, Paul’s point in this passage is just to emphasize that there is a great force of fallen angels arrayed against us as Christians. Therefore, we must lean and lean hard on God each day by feeding on His Word and accessing His Spirit in prayer.