Humans have three powers that seek to steal, kill, and destroy their lives (John 10.10a).
The nightly news records the assault on humans by the world’s system that is arranged for the benefit of a select few at the expense of the many.
The human tendency to indulge selfishness and willfulness undercuts our best intentions for the good life.
Behind the world’s system and personal failings are superhuman forces that direct and empower human forces and cause worldwide suffering and loss.
Resist – Watch – Pray – Be Alert
Paul understood better than most the reality of cosmic powers that are behind the oppression and suffering of this world.
Ephesians 6.10-12 – Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power; put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil,
For our struggle is not against blood and flesh but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Followers of Jesus are not helpless against an array of evil superhuman powers. We have greater power at our disposal.
— The very armor that God uses to fight the devil is available to us.
— Strong in the Lord – While we are weak, God is strong. We are “in the Lord,” and his strength is available to us.
— Stand against – Powerful evil forces wait in the darkness to tempt or harm us (“the wiles of the devil”).
As we live “in the Lord” and use the same armor God uses, we are able to stand against the attacks of spiritual forces of evil.
The Armor of God Explained
We can’t emphasize enough that the armor of God is only available in a relationship with God. It cannot be appropriated separately from an abiding relationship with him.
Ephesians 6.13-14 – Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on the evil day and, having prevailed against everything, to stand firm.
Stand, therefore, and belt your waist with truth and put on the breastplate of righteousness and lace up your sandals in preparation for the gospel of peace.
— The belt of Truth
Jesus said this about the devil, “He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8.44).
We cannot join the devil in dishonest speech and expect to be protected from his evil schemes.
What Jesus said about truth-telling is essential to putting on the belt of truth. “Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one” (Matthew 5.37).
— Breastplate of Righteousness
Righteousness is “right living.” We put on this part of God’s armor by living in an abiding relationship with Jesus.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15.5).
— Sandals and the Gospel of Peace
Christians walk with God and imitate their Savior by bringing the good news to everyone in their path.
How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of the messenger who announces peace,
who brings good news,
who announces salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” (Isaiah 52.7)
We will be less tempted to follow the world’s system, our human sinful character, and the devil as we are actively looking for opportunities to tell other people the good news of God’s love.
— Shield of Faith
Ephesians 6.16 – With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
The square Roman shield covered the whole body and protected the soldiers from archers.
The building materials for the shield are faith. Our willingness to “let God be true, but every human being be a liar” – including ourselves – (Romans 3.4) will protect us from the flaming arrows of the evil one.
— Helmet and Sword
Ephesians 6.17 – Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Several parts of the armor of God are pictured in Isaiah.
The mention of the helmet of salvation in Isaiah 59.17 is in the context of gross social injustice. We will miss the full importance of this part of the armor if we only see “the helmet of salvation” as only applying to ourselves.
As our actions demonstrate a love for our neighbors, we will find God’s protection against the cosmic forces of this age.
Isaiah 11 pictures the arrival of God’s kingdom on earth. His Messiah/King will “strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked” (Isaiah 11.4).
The Holy Spirit will empower our words to fulfill two aspects of his work: “And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16.8).
“He [the Holy Spirit] will glorify me because he will take what is mine and declare it to you” (John 16.14).
Pray in the Spirit
We clothe ourselves in the same armor that God uses to fight his enemies. We pray in the power of the Spirit.
Ephesians 6.18 – Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.
From beginning to end, Ephesians makes clear our need to depend on God’s resources to achieve the victorious Christian life.
When we are guided and empowered by the Holy Spirit in our praying, we and those for whom we pray will experience God’s protection from the forces of evil.
Not only will we be protected, but we will become God’s agents who bring the good news to others, strive for God’s justice in society, and fulfill the purpose for which we have been created.
I am recovering from COVID and I hope to join Rudy Ross very soon to produce YouTube videos on the Bible. You can find our videos on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel. I am doing the video by myself today.
Please email your prayer request to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.