Scripture: Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Ephesians 6:13 ESV
Observation: Having described the godly behavior of those walking in the love of Christ, Paul concludes his letter to the Ephesians with an inventory of spiritual armor necessary to resist the devil and stay on track in their faith journey. He first points out that their ultimate threat comes not from fellow human beings but from the unseen spiritual realm where the evil forces of darkness wage war against their souls—seeking to mar image-bearers of Christ (verse 12). With this in mind, Paul urges the church to fend against Satan’s destructive machinations with the essential elements of their faith: truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith in Christ, the assurance of our salvation, the Word of God, and prayer.
Takeaway: Our spiritual armor guards against enemy penetration, but we have one weapon that spurs the devil to flee: the Word of God. No better example would be that of Jesus accurately applying the biblical text to refute Satan’s misquotes when tested in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). Still, even when wielding God’s Word, we do not go on the attack but stand firm. Why? Two reasons. First, the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give our enemies into our hands (1 Samuel 17:47). But if we think and act as if it all depends on us, we are already defeated—we will succumb to temptation. Secondly, Jesus’ half-brother, Jude, warns us against arrogantly cursing the devil, citing that even the archangel Michael restrained from uttering blasphemous judgment against Satan but instead stood firm and said, “the Lord rebuke you” (Jude 8-11).
So what is the balance when putting on the whole armor of God each day? We exercise humility, understanding that we can do nothing apart from abiding in Christ (John 14:5). And we persevere in prayer for ourselves and fellow believers, “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication” (6:18). For sure, we can’t do this alone. If we want to stand firm against the devil’s temptations, we need to deepen our understanding of Christ’s grace, and we need the help of fellow believers to support and encourage us and to hold us accountable.
Prayer: Father God, we thank you that the battle is yours and that in Christ we have gained the victory. Would you please help us stand firm in our faith, exercising our spiritual disciplines in the context of Christ’s grace while availing prayer for ourselves and other saints as well as the aid of our community of believers? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling