Occasionally, a piece of Scripture is so clearly instructional that a preacher or a devotional writer mostly needs to get out of its way and let the original author continue doing his holy work.
Ephesians 6:10-17 is one of those texts. I’ll offer a few starter questions here and there, but please, take time to meditate on the words and hear what they say to you. What a great way to start a work week during a difficult year!
A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
Do we genuinely believe we can draw strength from God? It’s not difficult to see God as simultaneously mighty and inaccessible. How do we know his power is fully available to us?
Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
We tend to imagine other humans when we think of our enemies. How does it affect our outlook when we acknowledge there are unseen powers at work around us, and that these powers are the real enemy?
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.
Are we bothered by the idea of this being a “battle”? What do warlike images say to us about the focus and commitment required of every Christian? How does God’s armor differ from our own?
Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
These verses continue the battle imagery, but we also need to think about them more literally. How will truth-telling, truth-seeking, and the pursuit of righteousness improve our chances in this world?
Does the story of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection give us lasting peace? If not, have we considered the story from start to finish recently?
When faced with evil, do we first trust that our faith in Jesus Christ is enough to protect us? Do we have a sense of assurance about our faith that gives us great confidence?
And lastly, do we know and trust God’s word enough that we are confident we can use it to defeat evil?
Dear Lord, thank you for reminding us that we are a people fully equipped to face whatever might come our way. Help us to be a people who trust and tap into the power you offer us every day, making a difference for your kingdom. Amen.