Roman soldiers were some of the best trained and equipped on the battle field of Paul’s day, enabling the Roman Army to be seemingly invincible on the battlefield.
As Ephesians ends Paul spiritualises this into a metaphor for the Christian’s daily life.
Firstly we’re told in v. 10, Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Self-reliance has no place in the life of a Christian; that is pride and sin. We are called to soldier like humility. We do not rely on ourselves but upon our Captain and, in faith, upon the tools He has given for His people’s protection.
The second thing we’re told comes in vv. 11–12 and answers the why of v. 10: Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 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. We need to be strong in the Lord because we have a real and active enemy who hates us. He is always prowling around looking for someone to devour (1 Pet 5). Wake up and smell the coffee and let us not be spiritually naïve! We are at war, every day. (BTW- the list represents different orders or levels of demons. In Jewish thought at the time there were ranks of angels, both fallen and not [c.f. Col 1:16]).
We must be continually aware of these realities.
We must also diligently do something else on a daily basis, turning this instruction into a routine spiritual discipline, v. 13, Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. We can stand firm because the Lord has not left us defenceless. (It is also worth noticing that this is defensive language. Whilst we pray “thy kingdom come” and engage in areas of offense [even at times exorcisms], it seems to me that this verse advises that the natural posture towards the enemy will be defensive, a readiness for when we are attacked, primarily leaving the offensive against these evil realms to the Lord).
How shall we stand? We shall stand by putting on every piece of our armour for each has a collective role to play in our spiritual protection:
- The belt of TRUTH (v. 14a)
- Breastplate of RIGHTEOUSNESS (v. 14b)
- Shoes of the GOSPEL of peace (v. 15)
- Shield of FAITH (v. 16)
- Helmet of SALVATION (v. 17a)
- Sword of the SPIRIT, which is the WORD OF GOD (v. 17b), which is the only offensive element of the armour listed.
- The invisible weapon of PRAYING in the SPIRIT (v. 18)
*The reader may benefit further from reflecting upon the necessity of each piece of armour, its purpose and also what it protects.
So today, and every day, may we stand firm, strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might, not forgetting to prayerfully clad ourselves with His armour.
The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,