Ephesians 6 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), 3 so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.
4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
5 Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; 6 not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. 7 With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, 8 knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.
9 And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints…23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love.
Verses 10-17 of today’s text are familiar verses to many people who have been in the church for some time. There are many teachings and have been many sermons given regarding the armor of God. As with all scripture, the power of these verses is not simply in knowing them, it’s not even in fully understanding them, rather the power of the Word of God to help us in our lives, is in applying it to our lives. How much it helps us is a matter of how well and how often we apply the Word in and to our lives. In verses 10-12, Paul lays the groundwork for why this Word is so important to us, he says: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Notice what it is that we are to stand firm against. It is not the actions of the devil, what he will do to us, but rather it is the schemes of the devil we need to stand against.
We need to understand that the largest part of our battle with the enemy, with these rulers, powers, the world forces of this darkness, the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places, is not astruggle against flesh and blood, and neither is it a struggle in our own flesh. The real primary battleground in our daily lives is in our minds. The schemes of the devil are the temptations and improper thoughts he brings to our minds. In 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, in another passage about our struggle against evil, Paul says: For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. These fortresses, or strongholds of the enemy are not physical places, they are built upon improper thoughts, things we have wrongly believed. That’s why we need to take every though captive to Christ, to believe what He says.
The devils schemes are temptations he brings against us. The key to our victory is to recognize his schemes and resist them before they impact our lives. Before we return to the text then we should know how to recognize the enemy’s attacks, his temptations. James 1:14 says: But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. It is important that we know our own weaknesses. Many of the temptations we face will be in the same areas where we have previously stumbled or fallen, the areas of our own lust. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says: No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. The devil has no new strategy, no new schemes, what he tempts us with he has tempted others with. The Bible is full of accounts of the temptations of the devil against God’s people. One of the ways that God provides a way out for us is through the examples of those who have both fallen and overcome before us.
As we return to the text Paul says: Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. God is a God of order. It is important that we do things properly and in order. When we apply the truth of God’s Word from this text it is important that we begin with the first thing. Paul says we are to Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth. The spiritual armor Paul describes mirrors the physical armor a Roman soldier would have worn in Paul’s day. The soldier wore a belt that covered his midsection and groin. The first thing we put on is the belt of truth. The devils schemes are lies, so we protect ourselves with truth. The first strike of the enemy is often a hit below the belt, a lie about something we have previously done, a past failure. When we are punched in the stomach or kicked in the groin, immediately we look down. We need to protect ourselves from the lies, from what the devil says, with the truth of what God says. We need to know God’s promises and His Word about us. We need to know the truth that: There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1) We need to look up to Him, standing in truth.
The next thing we are to put on is the breastplate of righteousness. The breastplate protects the heart. The righteousness we put on is the righteousness of Christ. Romans 13:14 says: Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ Isaiah 64:6 says: all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment It’s not hard to choose which righteousness we should wear when battling the enemy. The next thing we are to do is to shod our feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace, to put on the sandals of peace. We are to both stand against the devil and to walk in God’s promise and call. Romans 16:20 says: The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. 2 Chronicles 20:15 says: Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s. That verse was spoken to Israel regarding a physical army, but it is true for us also as we face the spiritual multitude of rulers, powers, the world forces of this darkness, the spiritual forces of wickedness. When we stand and walk in the peace of God, He will overcome the enemy.
Finally then: taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Our faith, our faith in Christ will protect us. When we stand behind and walk forward in Christ there is nothing that the enemy can bring against us. Isaiah 54:17 says: “No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their vindication is from Me,” declares the Lord. The helmet of salvation protects our mind. We are saved eternally through Christ. If we are secure in our salvation then nothing, not even death can harm us. The psalmist says: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil (Psalm 23:4) Even death has no power over us, it is merely a shadow. Our eternal salvation is secure in Christ. We should wear it bravely.
Every item we put on to this point has been for our defense, to protect us. The last thing we take up is the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. With the Word of God we are not only able to stand and be protected, but with the Word of God we strike back against the enemy. We not only stand firm but we walk forward, taking back any ground we have previously lost. We do that: With all prayer and petition praying at all times in the Spirit. Jesus taught us to pray: Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Everything we battle and strive for here in this earthly realm is already accomplished, complete in heaven. Our prayers are to bring this physical world into alignment with the realities of heaven. Knowing and understanding is only part of the battle. We must also apply the truth in our lives. We must daily: Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might… stand firm against the schemes of the devil. Walk in the fullness of His power.
Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love. Amen