Holy Father, open my mind to think magnificently about You. I am awed by Your great majesty.
Read Ephesians 6:10-20
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Strong in the Lord of hosts, and in his mighty power, / who in the strength of Jesus trusts is more than conqueror” (Charles Wesley).
After the experience in the theater of Ephesus in yesterday’s reading, it’s not difficult to understand what this passage might have meant to the Ephesians. They may have wished that they had the Roman armor that Paul describes, but the central point of this passage is a reminder that our strength comes from God (10). In the face of relentless spiritual opposition we need God’s power, a constant and reassuring theme in Ephesians (Eph 1:19; 3:7; 3:16,20). Why do so many of us try to do things in our own strength?
Our task is simply to stand, and the armor is there to help us to do that. Paul uses the word “stand” four times (11,13,14). It means just what it says. No attacking, no retreating, we are to just stand firm in the face of the onslaught. It’s a battle on a completely different scale, against a completely different enemy (12). Terrifying though it may seem, it puts our life into a very different perspective. We are participants in the ultimate struggle. However insignificant everyday life may seem, here is a reminder that in the cosmic picture our lives have real significance, and for that we need the qualities that God produces in us by faithful discipleship: truth, righteousness, a deep understanding of the Gospel of peace, faith, salvation and the Word of God. Paul’s picture of the armor is wonderfully imaginative, but in the end, his focus is on the straightforward Christian character which the Holy Spirit produces in us.
So what is left to say about this battle? Pray, guided by the Spirit at all times, in all ways and for pretty much everything (18)! And while we can’t now pray for words to be given to Paul, he has given us a model as to how to pray for each other, that we will share the Gospel fearlessly (19,20).
Look again at the personal qualities represented by the pieces of armor. Which one(s) should you be working on?
Lord, You never ask me to do anything more than You will provide the strength to accomplish. Help me put on the armor every day and stand firm for You.
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