A Letter to the Ephesians (Part 3) – Equipped for Battle
December 2 - Nº 336 Ephesians 6:10-20
Paul was in the middle of writing a letter to the believers in Ephesus. He had just described all the blessings they shared as children of God. Yet there he sat—chained to a guard in a Roman prison! Paul knew that the believers he was writing to would soon face difficult times just as he was. He realized that Satan was not happy that they were now representing God and sharing the Gospel message in a city that had once been a center for pagan and occult practices. He needed to prepare the Ephesians for battle. Glancing up from his writing, no doubt Paul could see one of the guards who had been assigned to be his full-time companion (see #333 - November 29). Everyone who lived in the Roman Empire had encountered these soldiers (hopefully not as intimately as Paul). They were stationed in every city, patrolled every highway, and enforced every law that Caesar enacted. The Roman army had the best trained soldiers, the best weapons, and the best armor in the world. They went into every battle expecting to win. Paul decided to use the images his readers had of these powerful warriors to illustrate the way God’s children should be equipped for spiritual battles. First, they had to be strong. It wouldn’t matter if they were provided with great equipment if they didn’t have the strength or endurance to use it. Paul explained that God was the source of all the strength they needed. The better they knew Him, the more power and confidence they would have. They also needed to understand their enemy’s tactics. Paul pointed out that Satan’s strength comes from his ability to deceive people. Then he explained that God had already provided all the equipment they needed to confront Satan’s evil tricks. They just needed to pick it up and put it on! · The Belt of Truth: The Roman soldier’s belt had two functions—it kept all their undergarments in position, and it held their weapons. God’s truth holds everything in place in our lives. It counteracts Satan’s lies and sets us free to fight. · The Breastplate of Righteousness: Our righteousness comes from what Jesus did on the cross. He took our sins and gave us his holiness. Satan’s weapons cannot dent or damage our righteousness. Our hearts and souls are protected by Jesus’ sacrifice. · Boots that bring Peace (instead of War): The Gospel gives us a firm foundation to stand on. It protects us as we march over rough terrain to share with others how they can have peace with God. · The Shield of Faith: Our faith fends off any artillery Satan launches at us as we take back territory in our lives that he once claimed. He bombards us with fiery emotions to provoke sinful actions. But trusting in Jesus puts out the flames. · The Helmet of Salvation: The knowledge that Jesus saved us by taking our place on the cross is the ultimate protection for our minds. It repels the things that Satan uses to disorient and discourage us. It removes doubt and fills us with hope. · The Sword of the Spirit: God’s Word is our sword. The Bible cuts through all the lies that Satan uses to entice us, and it reveals what is really true. It allows us to discern his evil thoughts and intentions. We need to take the time to know what is in it. Paul explained that prayer is the key to being able to effectively use each piece of equipment that God provides!
Victory over Satan’s destructive influence in our lives is dependent on our prayers and our understanding of God’s Word! Are you ready for battle? How is your prayer life? How much time do you spend studying God’s Word?