Man is a peculiar creature. We have, from the beginning, been somewhat predisposed to conflict, war, and strife. Domestically we have confrontations with our friends and neighbors, arguments with family and loved-ones. On a broader scale, we sometimes engage in battles that rob thousands of their lives and freedoms. We make all kinds of excuses for these things, both conflicts close to home and abroad. We justify them endlessly in one capacity or another.
As the philosopher Aristotle said, “We make war that we may live in peace.” Even so, doesn’t history show us that that peace, unfortunately is quite limited? Strife abounds in conflict, and though one side may suppress the other in the interest of peace, eventually strife will again return for vengeance against the earlier suppression. Conflict, I’m afraid, is inescapable as a facet of human existence as it is now. Could it be though that the real battles are not those waged with tangible arms and artillery, but rather engagements that play out on a battlefield of spirit?
Today we are going to be in the book of Ephesians. This wonderful little New testament epistle was written by the apostle Paul as he sat in custody in prison, chained to a Roman guard. The whole scope of the letter is one aimed at bolstering the walk of the believer in the midst of persecution. The first three chapters detail the unity believers should engage in, and that each of us has been chosen by the Lord even before the foundation of our reality to walk with Him, redeemed through His blood. Chapters Four and Five relates how the Believer should be diligent in their walk with Christ, being imitators of God. Chapter six though confronts us with the fact that we face something more than just unbelievers in the world around us…
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; 19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
Verse 10, going into 11, starts off with an admonition to “…be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” There is a lot going on here, and every single word is significant to us in our daily battles!
You know, in the old days, wars were won not just by how well prepared a military was technically, but also by how well they were armed and armored. No matter how good they may have been at martial tactics, they would have been heavily disadvantaged if they were not properly armed and protected against their foes. Likewise, no matter the technical sophistication of their arms and defenses, untrained forces would fall. You see, the key to success was not only to be well armed and protected, but also to have competency in doing battle! Both aspects are critical. We see just such a notion going on here as Paul begins in verses 10 and 11.
Verse 10 tells us to “be strong in the Lord and in the Power of his might.” That sounds good, but as Missler points out, there is actually something hidden in the linguistics here that may sharpen our understanding of what is being said. That first verse, in the Greek, is given to us in the imperative form. It is essentially a command, not a plea! We are being commanded, as believers, to stand strong against that which opposes us. Be strong!
Furthermore, it’s said in the present tense, admonishing us to be continually strong! It’s not a “once and for all” kind of statement. We are to stand upon the might of our God continually! Finally, it is written in the passive tense, and as such, it points to the fact that we receive the action. What does that mean? It means that we are to rely on Him, our Lord. It’s not our strength; it’s His. It’s not the power of your might; it’s His. We simply receive it as we look to Him continually.
No matter what we face, no matter what opposition may stand in our way, no matter what shadow may loom on the horizon, friends, He is behind us! And He is bigger than anything that could stand against us.
The Message continues next time…
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