Clothed in Victory
Day: 14 | Plan: Christ Alone
Today’s Reading: Ephesians 6
Ephesians 6:10-11 (NIV) “Finally, be strong in the LORD and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”
The armor of God. It’s something children learn about from an early age in Sunday school. And the enemy would love us to believe it’s simply a nice Sunday morning lesson for kids — one involving nothing more than felt board pieces of armor and harmless plastic swords.
But Paul included these words in his letter to the Christians of Ephesus because he knew putting on the armor of God was vital to their ability to walk victoriously with Christ. And what was vital for Christians then is still crucial for us today.
While most of us have probably never seen actual armor, Paul’s vivid imagery would have reminded the Ephesians of the Roman military and the armor they wore. They would have known that every part of Roman armor had a specific purpose and was designed to not only protect the soldier individually, but the army as a whole.
Ephesians 6 also draws imagery from Isaiah’s prophecy describing the armor of God. (Isaiah 11:4-5; Isaiah 49:2; Isaiah 52:7; Isaiah 59:17) A closer look at these references in Isaiah reveals God as a warrior who is fully dressed for battle as He goes out to restore and redeem His people.
But what does all of this mean for us today? I believe there are two important points God wants us to grab hold of with fresh clarity:
1. Spiritual warfare is real, and we have a very real and vicious enemy.
Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:12 that, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood.” I know it often feels like our battles are against people. Boy does it ever! But, in reality, the battle is against Satan and his schemes.
We need to be equipped in every way to respond to the battle at hand. Our enemy isn’t just looking to distract us, tempt us or pull us slightly off course. John 10:10 tells us that Satan comes “to steal and kill and destroy.”
These aren’t words meant to stir up fear; they are meant to spur us to action. Both the words of Paul and John remind us it is imperative that we suit up and stand strong.
2. God does not call us to find a power within ourselves to overcome the battles we face.
Paul’s command in Ephesians 6:10 to “be strong” can actually be interpreted in the original Greek in the passive voice. Paul is saying we should be, “made strong, or be strengthened.” There is tremendous freedom to be found in this subtle difference.
God isn’t asking us to stand in whatever scraps of strength we can muster up on our own. The activation of our strength comes from the empowerment of the Spirit of God. We receive His strength as we put on the full armor of the King of Kings. And in wearing God’s armor, we are in essence putting on or abiding in God Himself. We are clothing ourselves in the victory He has already achieved through Christ. (Colossians 2:15)
Yes, the battle we face is of epic proportions. But God’s weapons aren’t silly little spiritual suggestions that might or might not work. His weapons are certain.
When the battle is raging around us, His belt of truth will help us park our runaway minds in the assurance of God’s love for us.
His breastplate of righteousness will equip us to stop reacting in the flesh and instead choose to battle with our praises and prayers.
His gospel of peace will remind us to walk in assurance and peace, knowing that even when we can’t see things changing, God is working on our behalf.
His shield of faith will give us the ability to trust in God’s timing and in His ways.
His helmet of salvation will remind us that God’s ultimate desire is to have a close relationship with Him. Though a battle might seem like an unlikely part of that process, God can bring good out of it.
His sword, which is the Bible, will act as both a love letter to our hearts and a fierce and accurate weapon for our souls to use against the devil.
And His gift of prayer. We can choose to remember that it’s not something to turn to as a last resort but the very thing God’s most courageous followers turn to first.
Ephesians 6:13-18 assures us with these in place, we’ll be able to stand and tap into a power beyond ourselves. And while the enemy may be vicious, we know he won’t be victorious.
Let’s put on the full armor of God, sweet friends, so that we can stand strong against Satan’s schemes.
Prayer: Father God, You know how many days I end up feeling weak and battle-weary, all because I keep trying to fight the enemy in my own strength. Thank You for reminding me yet again that true and lasting strength comes from You. And thank You for perfectly equipping me to stand strong against the enemy. Today I lift my prayers and my praises up to You, reminding myself that I’m fighting from victory, not for victory. In You, I’ve already won. And Satan is a defeated foe. In Jesus’ name, amen.
The beginning portion of Ephesians 6 brings us to the conclusion that the work of reconciliation... Read More
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