Equipping Ourselves in Christ - Ephesians 6:10-20

Equipping Ourselves in Christ

Today’s world is a constant spiritual battle for Christians. The reason is Christ. It is getting harder and harder because of the content on TV, on the internet, in schools, and even at work. We must stand firm in God’s mighty power and allow Him to equip us with the tools to withstand temptation and sin. Paul relates spiritual elements to equipment used for battle as a symbol that we may relate to. But Paul closes with the call for prayer in this spiritual battle, and never ceasing prayer at that.

What are we doing in our daily walk with God that equips us for the daily spiritual battles we WILL face? 

Ephesians 6:10-20

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 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. 

13 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. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 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, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. 

Paul just told us how to be husbands and wives in Christ. He told us how our children are supposed to be obedient and, indirectly, how we are to raise our children to be that way. Now, Paul is calling to stand strong in the strength that God provides. We don’t have the personal fortitude to withstand the devil's threats without God’s strength in us. We already lost the day we were born because we were born into sin. But Paul calls us to lean heavily and wholeheartedly on the strength of God. How does God protect us and keep us strong? It is by putting on the whole armor of God. Not just pieces that are mismatched, but putting on every piece of the ensemble because they all have specific roles in protecting us in the love of God. We are to first get our strength from the Lord, and then we can put on His armor for us. 

But why do we need this protection and need to reside in God’s strength? Because, as Christians, our life will not be easy, and we will always be targeted by this fallen world because of Christ. We are fighting a spiritual battle. The battle is not with each other, flesh and blood, but it is against the darkness of this world that seeks to destroy our hearts and our relationship with Christ.  This spiritual battle seeks to destroy our children’s minds and hearts, and we must be strengthened in the Lord to protect them and give our children the tools to stand in God’s strength. We aren’t warring against our brothers and sisters in Christ or the non-believers. It is a war against the underlying sin of the world. God calls us to love one another. We can love on the non-believer the way God loves us, but we aren’t supposed to love the sin. 

How do we do this and equip ourselves in Christ? First, we take the stand against evil, then we put on the full armor of God. However, the initial step of ‘standing’ takes a personal effort and courage to step up and firmly root our feet on Christ’s foundation. It takes action on our part. Being passive in Christ does not produce strength. If we don’t have the strength to stand up, how are we able to equip ourselves?

Therefore, stand and put on the belt of truth. God’s truth allows us to withstand the lies of the devil and the lies of sin. This is the only truth that we need. It keeps other elements in place and secure and allows our clothing to be functional in battle.  Let’s gird our waist with God’s truth because without trusting and having faith in God’s truth, there is no righteousness. 

Then, let us put on the breastplate of righteousness. Now that we are secured with God’s truth, righteousness covers our hearts. This is a key and vital piece of equipment for protection. Our hearts are vulnerable and an easy target for the devil, but we must protect our hearts with our righteousness in God. God has deemed us worthy in His eyes through our faith, making us acceptable and righteous because of Him. 

Now, we are to ready our feet with the gospel of peace. I like the word used in NJKV, ‘shod.’ This means to bind to oneself. My shoes are typically ‘permanently’ tied so that I just slip them on. But we are to shod our feet with the gospel of peace. Bind it to our feet for protection to allow us to endure longer and tougher treks ahead of us. Additionally, shoes allow us increased ability to stand firm due to better traction and grip than our bare feet would provide. But why is the gospel of peace on our feet? In Christ, we have peace and need not fear the devil and death. Having peace bound to our feet allows us to walk peacefully in God’s love and continue on the march toward eternal victory over death. We have comfort through our walk with God. Our feet may get sore and need what my daughter calls a ‘leg break’ when her legs are tired. So, continue to stand in the peace of God. 

In EVERY circumstance, we need to grab our shield of faith. Don’t leave home without it. It is our faith that repels the fiery arrows of the devil. Our faith is not in ourselves and some cheaply made wood shield that will burn up with fire, but our faith is in God and His grace that allows us to have a personal relationship with Him. God keeps us safe and protects us. We are justified by our faith in God, and it is our faith that is the first-line barrier against attacks from a distance and up close. 

Because we have faith that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins and defeated sin by rising from the dead, we can now put on our helmet of salvation. The helmet protects our brain from attack. Our salvation in Jesus Christ protects our minds and guides our thoughts. The world today constantly attacks our minds and our thoughts. We are to rely on Jesus Christ and remember that our salvation is through Christ alone. God gives us the Holy Spirit to lead us through tough times. The more we pursue a personal relationship with Christ, the more our thoughts and minds align with His. It is the understanding that only God can provide because of our salvation from sin. 

Furthermore, after we’ve put on all the defensive attire, the last item is built for offense to fight against sin in our spiritual battle. It is the only tool given to us that allows us to cut through lies and sin. The sword of the Spirit, the Bible (God’s Word), gives us the ability to wield the true might of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. God’s Word is sharp and two-edged, and it is meant to pierce the heart of the sinner. All Christians have been pierced by God’s Word. The Holy Spirit convicted us of our sins, and we were cut deep. Now, we are called to sharpen our offensive tool by studying and reading God’s Word to use it in our daily interactions with those around us. When I play golf with my dad, I always try to hit the ball really hard. But my dad always tells me to ‘let the club head do the work.’ In our spiritual walk, we need to let the Word of God do the work on ourselves and on those around us. However, we must be strong enough to know how to wield and use it. This comes by strengthening ourselves by learning what God’s Word actually says. 

Finally, after donning all this equipment, we are to pray at ALL times in the Spirit. The armor we just put on is for a spiritual battle, and prayer is a powerful resource that we, as Christians, have to continue the fight. We are to pray at ALL times, with ALL prayer, with ALL perseverance, and for ALL saints. This is an ongoing and never-ending communication with the Lord. We must constantly be in prayer because our battle is every day, both big and small battles. We are easily tempted and must communicate with God for wisdom and strength. Additionally, we need to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ so that they may have strength when facing their temptations and battling with sin. We are the army of God and stand side-by-side in Christ, and we fight together in the truth. Paul was going through spiritual warfare under house arrest and asking for prayer. He wasn’t asking for his release or fair treatment on his behalf. Paul asked for prayer so that he could be an ambassador of Christ to those around him and eventually to Caesar. He asked for prayer so that the words he boldly speaks are the words that God wants those around him to hear and not the words of Paul. We, too, must pray and act boldly as an ambassador of Christ and only speak the words God wants those around us to hear. 

Paul is calling us to equip ourselves with all the tools for spiritual battle and supplement with prayer. First, we must stand firm and rely on the truth of God’s grace with our righteousness protecting our hearts. Then, we need to fasten our shoes tightly with the peace of God because we need not fear the devil. Rely on our faith as the shield to protect us from attacks and let God control our thoughts with the helmet of salvation. Next, we need to dig deeper and study God’s Word so that we have a tool to reach forth and allow the Holy Spirit to work in the hearts of those around us.  But this takes personal study and action on our part. Lastly, I encourage all of us to spend more time communicating with the Lord through prayer in the Holy Spirit. This is essential in our spiritual warfare. Pray that we may be ambassadors of Christ and allow God to work through us because it is not by our strength alone that we can overcome sin and temptation. Pray that we may be a witness to those around us, equipped in Christ according to His will.
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