“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.” Ephesians 6:13-17
I like to watch spy movies. James Bond, Mission Impossible and even Inspector Gadget. I get caught up in how they always seem to maneuver out of trouble at just the right time and save the world. You never see them sweat because one – it’s a movie, and two - they trust in their training and equipment specially designed to protect and overcome any villain or foe. I believe Paul gives us a glimpse of how we as Christ followers are trained and equipped to overcome our spiritual enemy in Ephesians 6:13-17.
Paul sets the scene by penning the words, “when the day of evil comes,...”. We can be sure in life this day or days have come, are here and will come some more. 2020 has been packed full of these “days of evil”. Paul goes on to write that when we think we are facing the foe that will try to end it all, we need to stand in our training and equipment given to us by Christ through the power of His Holy Spirit. Lets take a look at this training and equipment that we have at our disposal.
Make the preparations to stand. Where are you in Christ? Where are you in prayer and the Word? What do you believe and why do you believe it? What preparations are you making to take the stand against day of evil? There is no way a secret agent can defend his/her nation against a threat if they have first not taken the time to be recruited, trained and believe in their mission. I know that there is not a lot of confidence right now in our intelligence community with what we have had to deal with over the past four years, but what we see on the news does not represent the many who have been recruited, trained and everyday know their mission to protect our nation against threats. They have prepared to be where they are. The Church is no different. There has been plenty of publicity that could be used to discredit who we are, but the truth is that there are many who are full of integrity, have been trained to pray and fight in the spirit and most of all, have surrendered their live to the mission of the gospel. They are willing to give their lives and go where God wants them to do. And when they do go, they go trained and equipped to overcome the enemy. Are you sold out on the mission? Are you even following Christ? If not, then before you read any further, repent. Ask God to forgive you of your sin and prepare you for the mission of the Kingdom of God. Submit to His lordship over your life. Learn, grow and get ready to serve. Trust in His grace and power to get your ready for battle.
Stand in Truth! What is holding you together? Paul pictured a Roman soldier whose uniform was held together with a belt that allowed them to fight without hinderance. The belt held everything in place. That is what truth does for us. Allow God’s Word to get deep in your heart. This is what you stand on. Jesus said that this is where we are to build our faith – on God’s Word. When storms and battles come, God’s Word is the ROCK we can depend on to not move. People trained to identify counterfeit money are trained with the real thing. That way they know a counterfeit is when they see something that does not match the truth. Truth will not deceive you. Truth is light. This is what we need to be praying over our nation right now – Truth! When the enemy comes at you like lies on the 24/7 news cycles, stand on what you know to be true. God will always.... ALWAYS lead you with truth. When you know the word of God in your heart, you will know what you are hearing lies and will be given the direction to move beyond the deception.
Stand in Christ! “My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;” This great hymn gives a great description of the breastplate covers the vital organs of a spiritual soldier. It protects the heart. Paul saw the breastplate on the soldier and connected the dots. That is what the blood of Christ does for us. It makes us right with God. Our hope flows from knowing that in Christ we are right with the One directing our mission. We can approach God in prayer boldly not because of our works, but because of what Chris has done. You are seated with Christ in the heavenlies the Bible says. You have been given authority to war and to overcome because of who you are in Jesus. Your mouth will speak what your heart is full of. This is your identity!
Stand in Peace! Stability gives confidence. Confidence brings peace. If you want to remain calm in the midst of the battle, you need to make sure your spiritual feet are secure in truth. Paul is not showing a picture of a soldier advancing, but one that is standing against the attack. When the day of evil comes, and it will, what are you standing on? Who are you standing with? Look at how Jesus managed those who came against Him. He never reacted out of emotions that were out of control. I am not being disrespectful to Jesus when I write this. Jesus was a cool cucumber when the woman caught in adultery was thrown at his feet. He was cool when asked about paying taxes. Jesus was at peace when staring at the cross. This is the kind of peace we are to live in. Peace gives us sure footing. A quietness of the soul because we rest in who we are in him and who He is in us.
Stand in Faith! The Shield extinguishes the arrows of doubt, fear and discouragement that are shot your way by the enemy. Think of the movies about medieval wars. The archers would let their flaming arrows fly and it would blanket the sky. Those on the receiving path of the arrows did not take off and run. They used their shields to cover themselves and receive the blows. The enemy does not fight fair. It will not be just one arrow that comes your way. But your faith in Christ, His Word and what it says absorbs the hits. Stand firm in your faith!
Stand with Sound Mind! The helmet protects the mind. The helmet is one of the last things to put on in preparation for battle. God’s Word protects what our minds think. It ensures that our minds are hardwired to our hearts that are connected to truth. Remember your enemy is a liar! Take thoughts captive and make them obedient to the Christ! (2 Corinthians 10:5)
Stand with the Word! The sword is the weapon that is from the Spirit. Your enemy is spiritual. Fight with the Spirit. Paul calls it the Word of God. “Word” in this text is the Greek word, “rhema”. It means to have a word for the moment. It is alive to accomplish something specific in the Spirit. An utterance of God occasioned by the Holy Spirit. That is why you pray the Word to fit the situation. It is like having the right weapon at the right time for the right scenario.
God has fitted you well with all that you need to stand in and from victory. It is up to us to put it on each day. Make the choice to remember your training in the word. Be aware of what the Holy Spirit is saying at all times and when the day of evil comes, stand firm!