From Ephesians 6: “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, “
Not too long ago, my dad took up shooting. I’ve gone with him a few times (and with some others as well). While we did have a lot of fun together, when I went shooting for the first time, I was struck by something critical. After the shooting is done, each time you have to spend a lot of time cleaning everything. Also, you have to spend a lot of time practicing in order to get really good.
This passage in Ephesians reminds us where the real enemy comes from. It also reminds us of what is at stake. When a war is on, the prudent warrior keeps the weapons at the ready.
We read here of weapons and armor, protective and supportive equipment. And Paul compares each piece to a gift from God. We hear words like truth, righteousness, faith, gospel, and salvation. All true and definite gifts from God. And what’s more, He gives them freely!
But there is one gift that stands out as a little different: the Word of God. The Word is a gift that is not automatically imparted (or spoken, or given) directly to us. This gift lacks the ‘immediacy’ that perhaps some of the others do. In other words, it takes some actual practice in order be able to use it really well. And which part of the suit is it? That’s right! The weapon!
While the battle is the Lord’s, and Jesus has won the victory, some worldly battles are fiercer than others! Some are over quickly, but some drag on and on. Jesus’ victory spurs us on. His success gives us the strength to do his will. And his Spirit spurs our souls to, “Wake up! There’s a war on! Don’t go into battle unarmed!”
The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God, so let’s get well-practiced! Let’s remember that our sure and certain defense is the promises of God. Jesus’ gave his own life for the final victory. And he goes with us until the final celebration. And the more we hear and study His promises, the more quickly we remember how to use them, when it matters most!
Pastor Jeremy May