Ephesians 6:13 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. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,
We all know the value of a helmet to physically protect a person’s head. Our current culture has us wearing helmets for most activities such as football, hockey, motor cycling, bicycling, auto racing and military action. The helmet of salvation is not a material helmet to protect our head, but is “the hope of salvation” (1 Thessalonians 5:8) to protect our thinking. Certain circumstances we find ourselves in can look hopeless. Satan will speak into our mind that the situation is hopeless and we might as well give up. When we don’t have hope, we get depressed. A depressed person gives up. Satan wants us to give up.
The helmet of salvation is the hope of our salvation. The hope of our salvation keeps us enduring through all trials in order to be a good parent, a profitable employer, a godly friend, a faithful witness of Jesus Christ and to complete whatever assignment we have been given. What is the hope? The hope is that God will keep His promises. The hope is that we have an eternal existence with the Lord even if our body dies. The reliability of this hope is the fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third day just as He said He would (John 2:18-22). Abraham is an example of the power of hope in our trustworthy Creator God. Read the following text and gain hope. Romans 4:18-22 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, "So shall your offspring be." 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead ( since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb. 20 No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.
Are you placing your hope in Jesus Christ who is able to fulfill His promises? Or are you placing your hope in man who is not always able to keep his promises? If your hope is in God, then Satan cannot defeat you with hopelessness no matter what the situation. No situation is beyond hope when the Lord Jesus Christ is involved. He overcame death. Jesus can help us overcome whatever is threatening us. Hope in the Lord Jesus Christ is never futile. Put on the helmet of salvation, never take it off and complete the work God has given you.
Ephesians 6:13 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. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;
Satan and his demonic spirits (1/3 of the angels who rebelled against the Lord Revelation 12:4) are unseen enemies of every believer. The piece of armor Paul lists in Ephesians 6:16 is the shield of faith. The Roman soldier used his shield to protect against arrows and blows to vital parts of his body. The Christian soldier uses his shield of faith to protect himself against the flaming arrows of the evil one.
First, what is the shield of faith? A shield protects. The shield is faith. Faith is what is believed, the body of truth we call the Bible, the written word of God. Faith is also the state of believing on the basis of the reliability of the of the One believed in, Jesus. John 2:18-22 is why we believe the Bible is true and Jesus is completely reliable. John 2:18 So the Jews said to him, "What sign do you show us for doing these things?" 19 Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." 20 The Jews then said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?" 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
The flaming arrows of the evil one are words that cause doubt, that contradict what God has said, that make God look bad, that tempt us to satisfy needs in sinful ways (Genesis 3:1-5; Matthew 4:1-11). Jesus gave us the proper way to use the shield of faith when He was tempted by Satan. Jesus answered the tempting words of Satan with the words of Scripture (what is believed) having faith in the reliability of His Father that the words were true.
Note that Satan shoots his flaming arrows at us in all circumstances (the best translation of the Greek, rather than “in addition to all” in some other translations). From morning to evening and while sleeping we need to live and think according to truth of the Bible. Here is a simple illustration of defending against a flaming arrow of the evil one with our shield of faith. When a trial comes into our life, Satan tells us God is against us and there is no reason to ask Him for help since He is the cause of the trial. We lose hope and plaintively cry out, “Why are you doing this to me, God”. We get mad and turn away from God and His help. Satan just defeated us. However, if we put up our shield of faith in the midst of the trial when Satan tells us God is the cause of the trial and we shouldn’t ask Him for help, then we will count it all joy in the midst of the trial and ask God to give us wisdom to get through the trial. Satan is defeated and we are shepherded through the trial by that Great Shepherd of the sheep, Jesus. We exit the trial victorious, mature and complete lacking nothing. (Read James 1:2-5 to read what faith says and how faith acts in the time of trial.)
Are you keeping your shield of faith battle ready? You keep battle ready by daily learning and living the written word of God by faith in the living Word of God, Jesus. We act in faith by attempting to be and to do the truth of the Bible expecting Jesus to fulfill our act of faith with His power (Galatian 2:20; 2 Thessalonians 1:11).
Ephesians 6:13 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. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
It is very hard to live an abundant life and do quality work when we have no peace. Our enemy knows this and seeks to take away our peace by getting us to focus on and worry about our needs, our financial resources, our health, our troubles, our standing with God when we sin, our success or lack of it, etc. Jesus knew what we would need to defeat the enemy’s attempts to cause us to worry and focus on the cares of this life. Jesus knew we need a peace of the type the world cannot give. He knew we needed a peace that is not dependent upon circumstances but upon Him, our unchanging, loving and all powerful God. Jesus gives each believer a peace that puts to flight troubled and fearful hearts (John 14:27; 16:33). Jesus gives us peace, that is beyond understanding and guards our hearts and minds, in exchange for any worry we present to Him (Philippians 4:6-7). Jesus gives us His peace so we can best accomplish His mission (John 20:21).
Why did Paul illustrate the gospel of peace with soldier shoes? Martin Lloyd Jones’ research turned up the fact that Roman soldiers wore thick souled sandals to prevent sharp sticks enemies buried along the roads from pricking their feet and causing infection. Infections often killed more soldiers that died in battle. As believers take the gospel to the world to save people from their sins, they need peace to be most effective in battle. The worries of this world keep a believer from being fruitful (Matthew 13:22). As believers walk in this world to make disciples, they are most effective if they have Jesus’ peace. Do you walk through life with Jesus’ peace guarding your heart and mind or is your life characterized by worry and fear? You can have His peace by following the counsel of Scriptures given in Romans 5:1 and Philippians 4:6-7. Read, memorize and practice those two passages of scripture. Jesus will transform your life and give you peace as you walk through life with Him.
Ephesians 6:13 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. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
Ever feel guilty and not good enough for eternal life or not good enough to be a witness for Jesus? The devil seeks to use guilt to make us ineffective in our witness concerning the gospel of Christ. The breast plate of righteousness is our protection. When guilt comes upon us for our sin and we repent of that sin, confess it to Jesus, and ask forgiveness from the person we sinned against, yet find the guilt is remaining, then we are in a battle with our sin nature or Satan. We win the battle by wearing the breast plate of righteousness. We are made righteous by our faith in Christ (Romans 4:5). We are accepted into eternal life by having Christ's righteousness (1 Peter 3:18; 1 Corinthians 1 :30). Christ paid the penalty for our sin by dying on the Cross and rising again from the dead to show the debt of sin had been completely paid. When we believe the gospel (Jesus died for us on the cross, rose from the dead and is Lord), we receive His righteousness. We are made righteous by Jesus Christ and thus made fit for eternal life and for being a witness of Christ. The guilt that keeps many Christians silent is a great tool of our enemy Satan. When he thrusts guilt on us to knock us out of the battle for winning people to Christ, we simply respond, "I am righteous in Christ and that is enough to give me eternal life and to enable me to witness to other people about new life in Jesus Christ." Put on your breast plate of righteousness and don't fall prey to the imposed guilt of Satan.
Ephesians 6:12 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. 13 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. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness
The truth is placed on our belt by reading, studying and remembering the Word of God. We need to daily replenish the truth on our belt by systematically reading the Bible. How is your truth belt? Is it well stocked with the daily truth we need to fight and win the battle against the powers of darkness. In the Marine corps, I had to keep my duty belt supplied to be prepared for any event that would come my way as I defended our country from our enemies. It is even more important for each of us to be disciplined in our learning and living the Truth so we can daily defeat the enemy. The enemy has no scheme that will deceive or defeat the truth. Be a good soldier in the Lord's army and keep your truth belt freshly stocked daily
Ephesians 6:10-13 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 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. 13 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. (Please read or reread August 21, 2014 devotion or read before continuing on)
We live strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might by letting ourselves be taught by the Holy Spirit. Our teachable spirit will enable us to obey what our Instructor commands us and know why we are obeying the Holy Spirit instruction.
We are commanded in Ephesians 6:11 to put on the full armor of God. Paul is using the fully equipped Roman soldier to illustrate the equipment of a fully equipped soldier of God. In 2 Corinthians 10:4 Paul tells us that our weapons are not material weapons but weapons that have divine power to destroy the strongholds of our enemies. In Ephesians 6:12 Paul instructs us that our enemies are not people, but spiritual forces of evil (Satan and his demons). Our enemy uses deceitful schemes (methods) to defeat believers in Jesus Christ. Remember Jesus characterized Satan as a personal being that did not stand in the truth, that lied and murdered (John 8:44).In Ephesians 6:13 Paul again commands us to take up the full armor of God so we will be enabled to stand in the evil day (the days when Satan attacks a believer).
You might think that it is people that persecute and seek to harm us as Christians, but look at Ephesians 2:1-3 and see who is moving humans to disobey God and harm His people. Ephesians 2:1-3 “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience- 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” Please note that the powers of darkness are the force urging on people to disobey the Lord. Man’s sin nature is easily deceived to do what destroys those who believe. The Muslims slaughtering other Muslims are moved by the powers of darkness to murder their fellow human beings.
We are strong in the Lord and the strength of His might by putting on the full armor of God. Are you putting on the full armor of God? Next week we will look at each piece of God’s armor and how we are to put it on and take it up.
Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.
I'm challenged when I read Jesus' command given by His Apostle, Paul. How am I to be strong in Jesus? How am I to be strong in the strength of His might? "How" is really asking us to discover a "series of ways." My desire is to obey Jesus's command, but I need the "know how" to obey and so do you.
"Know how" comes from understanding what I am to be doing. "Be strong" in the original language, Greek, means to "to be able to function or do something". The text says I am to learn to function in the Lord and in the strength of His might. The verb is a present tense which means "continuous action" in the Greek language. I am to be continually learning to function in the Lord and in His strength. The verb is also a passive voice, which means the subject of the verb is being acted on by an outside force. The command to me becomes, "Let yourself be taught to function in the Lord and in His strength." Who is going to teach me? John 14:26 informs me that the Holy Spirit is the One who will be teaching me and reviewing everything I am taught so that I remember what He taught me.
I understand from looking closely at the command, "be strong", that I am to be teachable and let the Holy Spirit teach me to function in the Lord and the strength of His might. Simple isn't it, however we tend to do things ourselves and resist the instruction of those who know what they are doing. My grandson resists help in doing a task, until he realizes he can't do the task and then he wisely lets me help him function in a way that gets the task done. We need to know that we can't live life victoriously living it in our strength alone and ask the Lord to teach us to function in Him and in the strength of His might. The first step in obeying the command, "Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might is to be willing to be taught. Are you willing to be taught by the Holy Spirit to live victoriously in enemy territory? Yes? Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you how to live using the strength of the Lord. (Remember 1 John 5:14-15 as you pray.)
In the coming days we will gain more "know how" concerning living victoriously in the Lord and in the strength of His might.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.” This is a command to every believer to continually pray. Continual prayer is not like a continual heartbeat, but it is continual in the sense of being throughout our day as needed to thank the Lord, to ask for His help for others, to ask for His help for ourselves, to ask that His will be done among us. Think about it – what is beyond God’s ability that lies within His will? Nothing. We read in 1 John 5:14-15 “And this is the confidence that we have towards Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. An if we know He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.”
We need to make prayer our first response in every situation, not the last resort when all else fails. Learn God’s will by reading the Bible. When we know God’s will, then we can pray expecting to be heard and answered by the Creator of all things. He is able to do far beyond what we can ask or think (Ephesians 3:20a). Is prayer you first response? Do you know what to pray? Here is an example of praying according to His will:
Psalm 50:15 and call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me." When you are in trouble ask the Lord to deliver you. He can. Nothing is impossible for God (Luke 1:37).
Begin today to learn God’s will and to make prayer your first response in every area of life.
1 Corinthians 11:1 "Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ."
Acts 20:18-21 And when they came to him, he said to them: "You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, 19 serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; 20 how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, 21 testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Both of the texts above refer to the Apostle Paul. Can you say in imitation of the Apostle Paul, who imitated Jesus Christ, "Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ"?
Paul lived like Jesus did and called the elders of the church in Ephesus to imitate him as he reminded them of how he had lived among them. Are you serving the Lord with humility and with tears and with trials occurring because you actively live for Christ? Are you boldly teaching those you have responsibility for everything that is profitable? Note what Paul said was profitable, "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness"(2 Timothy 3:16). Are you calling people to repent of their sins and have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ? We are to be imitating Paul as he imitated Christ. How can you be doing what Paul did? You need to prepare yourself and take action just as Paul did. You need to study the word and then teach it accurately, clearly, with God's love and power, to your family and those God has given you responsibility to disciple. To do this properly you need to be studying the Word, preparing yourself to declare the word. You need to be praying for those you teach to be able to learn, and for yourself to able to teach as God desires you to.
My friend Jim shared five important words that will help you imitate Paul. Proper preparation prevents poor performance. Prepare by taking time with the Lord to learn His word and how to teach it. Perform by declaring all that is profitable on a daily basis to your family and disciples.
When God gives us something, we need to take possession of it if we are going to experience it in our daily lives. Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Paul instructs us that we can learn lessons in the Old Testament that will give us endurance, encouragement and hope. Deuteronomy 1:1-46 instructs us using a real life situation. God promises us something and gives it to us. For us to benefit from what He promised and gave to us, we need to take possession of it. Read Deuteronomy chapter 1:1-46 and then come back to look at the principle being taught in that chapter. The principle: We need to possess what God has promised and given to us if we are to experience it in our daily living. Let’s look at some key verses that teach that lesson.
The LORD says in Deuteronomy 1:8,21 “See, I have set the land before you. Go in and take possession of the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give to them and to their offspring after them…21 See, the LORD your God has set the land before you. Go up, take possession, as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has told you. Do not fear or be dismayed.'” The LORD gave them the land He had promised long ago to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all their offspring. Then the LORD told them to go into the land and possess it. To possess the land the Israelites had to defeat the ungodly nations that were bigger and stronger than them. All but two of the Israelites, Joshua and Caleb, didn’t believe the LORD could help them defeat the much larger and stronger people that the LORD wanted to dispossess because of their wickedness and His promise to Abraham (Numbers 13:30-33; 14:6-10). Two men exercised faith that the LORD could keep His promise and give them victory over seven nations larger and stronger than them, but the whole nation of Israel looked at their own weakness instead of the LORD”s strength and decided to not go in and take possession of the bountiful land the LORD had given them. The result of the nation of Israel’s lack of faith was 40 years wondering under God’s protection in the wilderness and never experiencing the bountiful land the LORD had given them. Only the two men who exercised faith in the LORD got to experience the bountiful land.
The LORD has given us eternal life, every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies and certain provision of at least food, shelter and clothing for one day at a time right now (John 3:16; Ephesians 1:3; Matthew 6:25-34; 1 Timothy 6:7-8; Matthew 6:11). He tells us to experience these blessings in our lives by obeying His instruction (Matthew 6:33; Matthew 28:20; John 10:10b). We tend to look at how hard what He says to do is and not how capable the LORD is to help us experience what He has given us. If we don’t, by faith in the Son, obey His instruction, then we live a stressed out, peace less, joyless and unfulfilling life. If we by faith obey the LORD’s commands, then we experience everything He has given us in Christ and live an abundant and eternal life characterized by peace, joy, hope and fulfillment.
We need to learn what we have been given in Christ and possess it by faith in the Son of God – even if it looks impossible! Jesus will fulfill our attempt to possess our inheritance with His power. One example: If we practice Matthew 6:33 by faith in the Son of God, then we will have the food, clothing and shelter that we need.
Who do you look like in the Old Testament real life example? Do you look like the nation of Israel or like the two men of faith, Joshua and Caleb? You can begin today to possess what is yours in Christ by living the truth in Galatians 2:20 and by praying the prayer in 2 Thessalonians 1:11 for yourself.