I am reading through Ephesians 6 today, and it’s a fairly common set of verses. We talk about it, teach on it, make up entire vacation Bible school weeks around it, and sell plastic warrior toys in Christian book stores based on them. They go like this:
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.
I love Paul’s description and his call for us to be strong and understand we are in a battle. But each time I read this passage, one word stands out to me … “stand”. It appears, as a command, four times in the passage. Stand. It’s not exactly our understanding of battle, is it. We like words like Charge!, Attack!, Conquer!, Destroy! We like the thought of charging hell with a water pistol, kicking butts and taking names, in the name of Jesus. We want to be little Christian Rambo’s blowing up everything in sight.
But Paul calls for us to stand. To dress for battle, to arm ourselves, and stand our ground. Why?
Jesus is the one who attacked. He won. He fought the battle, swinging the cross, and He alone conquered. He is the king, the victor, the winner, the man, the bomb, the One. He alone is the one with all power, honor, and glory. He already has won. The battle is, for all intents and purposes, over. There are still skirmishes and fights to wage. So what do we do?
We stand our ground. Don’t give up anything that Jesus gives us to the enemy in their desperate bids to go down with a fight. We have to prepare ourselves for the fight, that will come to us. We need to be ready to stand the attack. But it is not up to us to defeat the enemy. Jesus has that one covered. So, as we put on the helmet of salvation, we will be in battle. But we don’t need to be afraid, we don’t need to freak out, we don’t need to worry. We are peacekeepers after the battle is over.
So, what does this mean? We do have an enemy, and it’s not that person who drives you nuts. It’s a spiritual army that can’t win. We don’t need to live in fear as followers of the King. We don’t need to worry. We can rise above the mess of the day-to-day lies we live in, and follow a Jesus who is strong, vibrant, alive, and powerful. When we move closer to Him, we will be attacked, but it’s not something that can overwhelm us, IF we use our armor. But notice, all of our armor is based on our connection to Jesus. As soon as we disconnect from Him, we will be overrun, and the enemy will take back ground that is ours to defend.
So, stand strong. Trust your King, follow His plan today, and live in His strength. He is a force to be reckoned with.