I once had a conversation with my pastor and asked him how he dealt with the pressures of pastoring, the heaviness accumulated through the volume of people, and how he seemed to keep it all together despite carrying so many burdens. He simply answered that he made it a practice to never approach a situation in emotion. He would deliberately wait until all emotions were level before dealing with a situation, including, and especially, his own. We have to rise each day armed and ready for the battle. Ephesians chapter 6 gives a thorough description of the Christian armor and how to use it. However, do we read over these scriptures without really understanding the power in the armor of God?
Soldiers can’t move into battle only when they feel like it. Battles come in all directions and ways, and, if our relationship is built on emotion, then when the first battle comes, we will faint. We have to be strong, and we must be covered, at all times. If we only have battles when we feel like it, then we would simply never have battles, and there would be no need for an armor that Paul talks about. The armor changes the life and direction of the one wearing it. I think it’s important to note that Paul is speaking to Christians when he breaks down and describes the armor.
The Christian is called many different names in the Bible and given several titles. He is called a fisherman, ambassador, traveler, sheep, and friend, to name a few, but one of the most important and empowering callings in the Bible is to be identified as a soldier. Soldiers aren’t automatically good at warfare; they have to be taught. To be a good soldier, you need to learn how to fight. So that includes offensively and defensively. Paul explains each portion of the armor to the Christian soldiers at Ephesus because it was what they saw every day. He was imprisoned, chained between and guarded by Roman soldiers when he penned the Ephesians epistle. Their life was physical and emotional warfare. They were under Roman occupation, so to see soldiers was a common thing. Paul explained that the unseen battle is equally as real as the visual.
Paul tells of a battle that raged all around them for their souls. He begins in verse 10 by instructing them to be strong and not just in their own might but strong in the Lord. He lets them know of the unseen war going on and that the devil is the commanding general of the campaign. In verse 12, he lays the enemy’s strategy out before them and us today when he says, For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Now Paul doesn’t just tell us how bad the enemy is or how bleak things appear to be; he also gives us a playbook for the battle in verse 11 and again in verse 13, when he says to put on the full armor of God so we would be able to stand against the devil and his attacks and that these attacks would definitely come.
Here’s the best part, Paul doesn’t give us a strategy for survival; he gives us a roadmap for success. The armor is made up of mostly defensive protection. The sword is the only offensive weapon given. Go with us in the next few weeks as we take a deeper dive into the armor that is called God and how to use each part. I would like to invite you personally to join us, on the square in Sparta, at 9 a.m. and again at 11 a.m., this Sunday morning, as we armor up for the battles that are now and those that are ahead.
We’re real people, living real lives, serving a real God. Welcome home.