A couple of years ago, my dad took up shooting. I’ve gone with him a few times. While we did have a lot of fun together, I’m not sure I will ever be the enthusiast that he is. And the main reason is very basic: laziness. I simply do not want to spend all of the required 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 who the real enemy is. 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 about 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 does not automatically impart itself to our brains. 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 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 promise of God. Jesus’ gave his own life for the final victory. And he goes with us until the final celebration.
Heavenly Father, Your Word brings life… and Your Word become flesh brought salvation to all. Strengthen us by that Word. Make us Your soldiers in every situation. In Jesus’ name. Amen.