Ephesians 6:10-12 ESV
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 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.”
If we are true followers of Jesus Christ, then we are in a spiritual battle with the forces of evil in the heavenly places. But just because our true battle is with Satan and with his demons, and that this is a spiritual battle, it does not mean that we don’t have flesh and blood enemies. We do. Otherwise the Scriptures would not tell us to love our enemies, for it means other humans.
The emphasis here is to let us know that this is spiritual warfare and it is Satan who is behind all enemies who come against us. Also, we do not fight this battle with physical weapons of warfare against physical enemies, but we fight this battle on a spiritual level using spiritual weapons of warfare which God supplies in order for us to defeat our true foe, Satan.
So, physical guns are not going to win this battle for us. And I am not making a political statement here. I am just saying that the true enemy is Satan and the flesh and they can only be conquered with spiritual weapons of warfare and not with guns. Evil people do evil things so even removing guns from people is not going to change their hearts. Jesus changes hearts.
One of Satan’s greatest weapons against us are his lies which he whispers in our ears. He tries to make us afraid of this or that. But we are not to live in fear. He tries to make us feel guilty when we have not done anything wrong but just because some other humans disapprove of us and who we are. And so we have to fight off his lies with the truth in order to dispel the lies.
Ephesians 6:13-17 ESV
“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. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
The armor of God is not something we just recite or pray over ourselves. We have to take up this armor and use it. So what this talks about here is what we need to put on, what we need to put into practice in our lives. And in some cases there are things we must put off first (see Eph 4:25-32). Like for example, if we are to put on truth we need to first of all put off lies. Then we need to be people of integrity who make a practice of telling the truth.
And we need to put on righteousness, but this is not self-righteousness. This doesn’t come from ourselves. And we can’t put on righteousness until we have first been crucified with Christ in death to sin. And that righteousness comes from God but we must put it into practice in our every day lives. And this means us living in holiness with integrity and in moral purity and in honesty and uprightness and godliness and not in wickedness.
Then we need to be people who are sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with others. And this gospel is not a quick formula on how to “get saved.” The gospel includes the life and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and his ascension back into heaven and his sending of his Holy Spirit to indwell his followers. And it includes us dying with Christ to sin and living to Christ and to his righteousness daily and continuously until Jesus takes us home.
And before all of that can happen we need to put on faith. And faith is not something we create in our own minds. Faith comes from God, it is gifted to us by God, and we can’t even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father first persuades us as to his righteousness and holiness, and as to our sinfulness, and as to our need to repent of our sins and to walk in obedience to his commands. Putting on faith thus means obeying the Lord.
But faith is also believing God and who he is and what he has said he will do and what he has done. But it isn’t just acknowledging those things but it is acting on what we say we believe. Like if God says he is watching over me and that I have no cause to fear anything, if I give way to fear then I am not putting on faith. But when Satan comes at us with his lies, not only can we shoot the truth at him, but our faith is what keeps us from yielding to him.
Our salvation is not just forgiveness of sins and the promise of heaven when we die. Our salvation is deliverance from our slavery (addiction) to sin and it is empowerment of God’s Spirit to live holy lives pleasing to God. And it is continuous and it won’t be complete until Jesus returns and takes his bride to be with him for eternity. So putting on our salvation is daily dying to sin and to self and daily walking in obedience to our Lord’s commands.
And taking up the word of God is not just reading it for 5 or 10 minutes a day so that we can check it off our list that we had our “quiet time” with God. It is doing what the Word of God teaches Christians that we must do. So it is applying the teachings of the Scriptures (where they apply) to our everyday lives in how we talk and think and speak and behave. It is living the word of God and not just reading it or speaking it.
Ephesians 6:18-20 ESV
“Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”
Now when this says that we are to be praying at all times it does not mean that we are to be down on our knees in prayer to God 24/7. What it does mean is that we are to have open communication between us and the Lord 24/7 so that he can speak to us at anytime of day or night and so we will hear him speaking to us in our spirits, and to where we can talk with him anywhere at anytime no matter what else is going on.
Then, at any moment the Lord can put something on our hearts he wants us to pray about. And we don’t have to stop everything we are doing to go have some official prayer time. We can keep doing what we are doing, providing it is not something sinful, of course, and we can pray to him out loud or in our minds whether we are driving down the street or doing laundry or whatever. And we are to pray over whatever he puts on our hearts to pray about.
Now, as Christians, we are to pray for one another. But if we are going to pray what needs to be prayed it is good if we can find out what the needs are first so we know how to pray. Or we can just pray as the Spirit leads. Definitely we need to be praying for one another to walk in holiness and righteousness and to not give way to sin and to the devil. And we need to pray that everyone is genuinely saved and not just giving lip service.
And then we need to pray for those who are sharing the truth of the gospel, but first make sure they are spreading the true gospel, for the gospel that is permeating the American church is not the true gospel. The gospel needs to include death to sin and living to righteousness as a matter of life practice, talking of how Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to God and to his righteousness. And then we need to warn that if anyone does not obey the Lord and if they continue in deliberate sin, they will not have eternal life.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Ac 26:18; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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