From Pastor Mark
We are at war. There is a raging battle that endangers not just us, but everyone around us. The bad news is that there is nowhere to hide from this war. It touches every heart in every part of the world.
I’m not talking about a physical war, but a spiritual one. But before you let out a sigh of relief, let me remind you that our spiritual enemy is far greater than any physical enemy we could encounter. There are forces of evil at work within us and around us that are hell-bent on stealing, killing, and destroying (John 10:10). The battle is real and the consequences severe.
So what are we to do?
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. Ephesians 6:10-11
The good news is that there is a power that is greater than the evil powers. There is a King who has conquered the enemy and plundered his goods (Mark 3:27). He is the once and future King. He is Jesus Christ the Lord.
Our fighter verses tell us that the power of our Lord (the very power that rose him from the dead) is available to us. Jesus does not leave us to our own devices in this war. He invites us to tap into his strength to fight this spiritual battle. The apostle Paul is giving a command: Be strong. Christian, our enemy prowls around like a roaring lion seeking to devour us (1 Peter 5:8). Translation: take this seriously. This is not a game, but a matter of life and death.
But notice how Paul says we are to “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.” The command to be strong is in a passive form indicating this empowering is not something we do for ourselves. It’s something that is done to us by the Lord. We draw from Christ’s power and we rely on his strength. This is a command to constantly be dependent on Christ’s power which is available to all believers.
This is so important for us to understand as we enter the battle. The gospel of grace empowers us to live the Christian life. We don’t empower ourselves.
Paul then commands us to put on the full armor of God. Why? So that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. Notice, how Paul just assumes that we will be attacked by the enemy? We don’t need armor if the enemy will attack but we need armor for when the enemy attacks. And attack he will.
He says we need to take our stand. Taking your stand has the idea of a defensive posture. But, that doesn’t mean it’s a stance of weakness. It’s a stance of strength and stability. We are called to defend our territory against the enemy’s attacks. How does the devil attack us? He does it by deceiving and lying to us (Genesis 3:1-5, John 8:44). The nature of Satan is to deceive. That’s the primary strategy of the devil. He wants to make sin look appealing. Our enemy is so cunning he can make a cup of poison as alluring and satisfying as a refreshing cup of water. But it’s a lie!
And the only way to guard our hearts is to put on the armor of God. This armor protects us because every piece reminds us of the all-satisfying nature of Jesus. The armor guards us by reminding us that the freedom of grace is better than the slavery of sin.
Christian, you are at war. Are you ready for battle?