Ephesians 6:10-20 - Onward Christian Soldiers
Don't get so consumed in your daily battles that you forget your primary orders.
Read / Listen
Read Ephesians 6:10-20
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 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. 13 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. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
Listen to passage & devotional:
Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 116
Q. Why do Christians need
A. Because prayer is the
most important part
of the thankfulness
God requires of us.
And also because God
gives his grace and Holy Spirit
only to those who
and groan inwardly,
asking God for these gifts
and thanking him for them.
This passage, often entitled The Armor of God, is familiar to most of us. I was a bit surprised to notice that we'd not yet covered this passage in our readings this year, but it makes sense we come to it now, as we've been focused lately on living out the salvation that's been won for us. Today we're not going to focus as much on the particular pieces of armor we must put on, but rather on the specific orders we've been given to fulfill as soldiers of the Lord.
To understand your mission, you must first identify the enemy that you'll be struggling against (literally: wrestling with). It might be surprising to be reminded that the daily problems you wrestle with - which certainly are real and may be very painful - are not the enemy that you've been called to struggle against. The real enemy - who very well may be the source of your daily problems - are the "rulers, authorities, and power of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (!!)" who are shooting "flaming arrows" at you.
Your orders are as follows: to put on / take up your armor, to stand your ground, and to extinguish the flaming arrows.
But your primary tactic is quite surprising: it's not to engage in hand to hand combat, but to be praying in the Spirit on all occasions, with all kinds of prayers and requests... for all of the Lord's saints (v18).
We're beginning the final section of our catechism today, which is focused on prayer. We'll be going through the Lord's prayer over these next couple of months, but before we can do that we have to stop and ask a question that we don't stop to ask enough in life: Why?
Why must we pray? You're likely inundated with things that need to be done, both good things that will bring God honor and glory, and things that need to be taken care of to keep your world from collapsing in upon itself. Maybe you've got a couple of these pieces of spiritual armor on but feel ready to go nonetheless, or maybe you're fully suited up and ready for battle. Why waste time praying?
Two reasons. First, and foremost, because your King has ordered you to do so. This ought to be reason enough. "Prayer is the most important part of the thankfulness God requires of us."
But there's more! "God gives His grace and Holy Spirit only to those who pray continually and groan inwardly." In other words, no matter how awesome your armor is (and it is!), it won't do you one bit of good unless you use it on your knees.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who rules all things through our Savior, the King of kings and Lord of lords and calls us to battle;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Ask God to keep you from being distracted by the fog of daily battle so that you fulfill your orders to pray continually;
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - John 16