I always try to preach on practical Christianity at least once a year. The book of Acts leads you to consider one of the key player’s writings in Acts which is Paul and one of the most practical books on what Christ changes in us is Ephesians. In the case of Spiritual warfare though I always have to be cautious because I believe it is overdone and one of the most overdone passages is Ephesians 6:10-20. To many times I see people teaching this passage and talking on and on about spiritual warfare principles without referencing what practical words Paul is using here. The struggle of life is real and the method God gives us to overcome it is real and the full armor of God is real world stuff. This is not sensationalism spiritual warfare like a Frank Peretti novel.
We deal with the approach of the enemy of our souls on a daily basis. Events of life challenge us, temptations are everywhere and we are not dealing with a passive enemy. Our enemy is aggressive in his desires and plans to ruin our walk with God. It no surprise then that Paul offers us a daily and multifaceted defense for the actions of these forces. We are not battling political forces, armies of men or even our fellow human beings but genuine demonic forces that hold sway in our world and are much closer to us that we would often like to admit. Those forces attack our spirits, our minds, our hearts and even our bodies relentlessly in effort for us to give up our faith. Therefore, it is fitting that we are ready for this reality at all times.
Paul is invoking and image everyone in his day would have understood which is the image of the Roman soldier dressed for battle. During this series I will be dealing with each piece of armor more in detail but the main message for this first part is what Paul starts with which is be strong in the Lord. Too often we miss this fact – that we came to salvation through grace and mercy and we needed Christ’s help to get there but this also extends into how we live our lives afterwards. Too often I see believers coming to salvation and understanding that it is God’s work in their lives but then forgetting that their continued walk with God is the same. If you win a victory in your life of faith, it still as much an action of god as your salvation. We continue to be saved as a matter of God’s grace. I am not saying we have nothing to do with it but it is ultimately God that makes a victorious Christian Life possible.
He does this by being the provider of the armor and being the leaders of his army. We forget this too. When soldier enters the army, he is stripped of everything he calls his own and is then issued what his commanders want him to have. God is the same way when we join his army. He takes from us all the things that failed to give us victory and then gives us his armor that never fails. We can either be good soldiers and put on his armor or we can continue to trust in the things that failed us. To stand in the God’s strength requires us t use his weapons.
God also provides the leadership. Without it we would continue fail. God is the supreme commander and we need to recognize that. Disobedience to his commands, ignoring his guidance, not listening to his wisdom and intelligence are all good ways to fail. Our job is to put on his armor and hear his voice and obey. This the soldier’s life. This is what it means to be strong in the Lord and the power of his might. This is what it means to have done all to stand. God handles the rest.