Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, that you can take your stand against the devilís schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Ephesians 6:10-13.NIV
Preceding these verses in the sixth chapter of Ephesians, St. Paul gives directions for holy living to children, parents, slaves, and slave owners. Most of this instruction goes directly against our sinful nature. Children, honor your father and mother? Fathers, donít exasperate your children, but still, make sure they have proper training in the Lord? Slaves, obey your masters, just as you would obey Christ? Masters, treat your slaves as Christ would? Who can do that? We are defeated before we begin.
And then we read the verses above and see their significance. Be strong in the Lord. Be strong in His mighty power. This is why you, as Christians, are able to take your stand against the devilís schemes.
Children, do you how hard the devil works to make you angry with your parents? ďI hate you!Ē Have you ever said that to your mom or dad?
Dads, do you know that there are principalities and powers scheming against you; telling you that your word is law; that when you speak, your children should blindly obey?
Slaves, have you ever acknowledged that God has placed you in this position of humbleness? Satan is the one who shouts about individual rights and freedom for all. Do you really deserve any more than God has given?
Masters, donít you know that you are really Godís slaves? That people are placed under you for you to serve them? Has the devil given you a different impression? Maybe suggesting that you are master; that you are above others; that people are your property?
Children, mom and dad are not out to get you. Fathers, you are not doing battle against your children, but against the evil within both you and them. Slaves and masters, ask yourselves, ďWho is the real enemy here?Ē
St Paul wants us to understand the personal battle against sin that we all face. It is more than the temptations around us that keep us from doing Godís will. It is more than selfishness; even more than our sinful nature. It is because we have a very real enemy who continually seeks our death and destruction. A dark and powerful enemy. One who hates good and loves evil.
So, says St Paul, when the day of evil comes, you better have a plan. If you want to stand in that day, you better have on the whole armor of God. Be prepared to use the full arsenal of His weapons; the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the footwear of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit. And pray. And stay alert. And pray some more. This is war. The enemy is fierce and his hatred of God is all consuming.
So quit fighting your human nature. Stop beating yourself up for falling daily into sin, and acknowledge that if God would mark iniquities no one could stand. Instead, put on Godís whole armor and defend yourself against Satanís accusations and ploys. And stay alert. And pray. And pray some more.
Christians need Godís armor to stand. It is the only power for righteous living. And then, when the day of evil comes, drawing on Godís strength, we stand firm, and it is Satan who falls.
Though devils all the world should fill,
All eager to devour us.
We tremble not, we fear no ill,
They shall not overpower us.
This worldís prince may still
Scowl fierce as he will,
He can harm us none,
Heís judged the deed is done;
One little word can fell him.
A Mighty Fortress is Our God, vs.3
Dr. Martin Luther, 1483-1546