Mulling it Over - Part 3

Right now I am devoting the second Monday of each month to mull over a particular piece of scripture. I have been working through Ephesians 6:10-18. In Part 1 I looked at verses 10 and 11. Part 2 covered verse 12. I know I am going slowly, but I feel it is imperative that we examine each verse carefully. This week I want to look at verse 13, but as a refresher, let's look at the first three verses again. 

Bible
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
— Ephesians 6:10-12 (NASB)

Now let's move on to verse 13.

Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
— Ephesian 6:13 (NASB)

When I was a young person taking English in high school one of my teachers would say, "If you see a therefore, you need to ask, what is it there for."

1. "Therefore..." When we stop and ask what is this therefore there for, I would say that it is referring back to what was previously stated. The apostle Paul begins this section of scripture admonishing us to put on the armor of God. What follows is a statement of just what sort of warfare we are up against. So important is this fact, that he says, "...take up the full armor of God..." This is the second time in just four verses that Paul tells us to "put on" or "take up" the full armor of God. Therefore refers back to the struggle against other worldly forces we are facing in battle.

2. "...take up..." This is an action. Passivity is not an option when dealing with spiritual warfare and being prepared for it. We have to be proactive. Think about the sort of training a soldier goes through when he enlists. He goes to bootcamp. Why do they put these men through such a rigorous training routine? They know that a prepared soldier is a soldier that will be able to fight. Bootcamp requires not just physical training, but mental and emotional training as well. If we were faced with a war we would want soldiers who know what they are doing and are not afraid to put their lives on the line. The same is true in the spiritual realm. We are God's enlisted men and women. Our job is to be prepared and then to fight. We can only do that by actively getting ready.

3. "...the full armor of God..." I love all the Marvel super hero movies, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, The Avengers are all fun to watch. If you think Iron Man has a cool suit, you haven't see what God has prepared for us. Tony Stark is a genius, but God created the mind of that genius! I know, those are just fictional characters, but you hopefully get the point. The God of the universe has armor and it is for us to put on. He created it, He knows it is our strongest defense and He knows we are capable of using it. 

 StockSnap -  Michael Kulesza

StockSnap - Michael Kulesza

4. "...so that you will be able to resist in the evil day..." That sounds rather heavy doesn't it, but look around you. You don't have to look far to see evil. However, what I find interesting is that we must put on the armor so that we are able to resist. This means that evil will be appealing to us. We often think of evil as being the blatant things like Hitler terminating the lives of thousands of Jews or Jeffrey Dahmer raping and murdering men and boys then eating their remains. Yes! That is evil, but most of us would easily be able to resist doing those sorts of things. Why, then, does this verse say "...so that you will be able to resist..." I think it is because there is so much evil that comes disguised as something not so bad. Aren't pride, selfishness, hatred and gluttony also forms of evil? 

In addition to those forms of evil that walk among us like wolves in sheep's clothing, I also believe that evil has a way of waring us down, to the point where things become a bit fuzzy. Eventually we won't even know the difference between right and wrong

5. "...and having done everything, to stand firm." Once a soldier has prepared he knows that he will go into battle having done everything he can to be ready. Those of us who have signed up for this spiritual boot camp and the ensuing war need to be able to face the battle knowing we have done everything we can to be ready. This brings me to a question that I need to ask myself. Have I done everything to be ready? Will I be able to stand firm, or will I falter as soon as the bullets start flying? Maybe now would be a good time to get back into the Word. Maybe now would be the right time to start getting back to church. How about you? What are you doing to ensure that you have done everything to stand firm?

Next month, we'll start looking at the armor. Please leave me a comment below about what you are doing to make yourself ready for spiritual warfare. I love to have your input! 

Have a great day!

 

Mulling it Over - Part 2

Last month I started looking at Ephesians 6, where it talks about putting on the armor of God. I dissected verses 10-11. I laid the foundation for the next few verses by showing that our strength is to be in the Lord and in the strength of His might. I also put forth the idea that we are to put on the full armor of God for a specific reason, to be able to stand firmly against our enemy, the devil. 

 Pixabay

Pixabay

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places
— Ephesians 6:12 (NASB)

The next verse in this passage talks about our struggle. Once again, I would like to take the verse piece by piece.

1. "For our struggle..." Be assured we are involved in some sort of struggle. Life is never that easy. Granted it seems that some people struggle so much and others very little. However, what may appear to be a life of ease,, may actually be a life that hides the struggle well, or one that has fought for many months or years and is now in a time of peace. We should never compare our struggle with anyone else's. That will only lead us down a road of self pity or pride, neither of which will bring us out ahead. 

2. "...is not against flesh and blood..." Wait! What did Paul just say? It is not against flesh and blood? Well, what about wars, assault, murders, bullying and so on? Aren't those things against flesh and blood? By all means. However, that is not where the real struggle lies. The real struggle lies inside each of us and in the heavenly realm. Isn't it pride, greed, lust, envy and hate that lead to those wars, murders, and so on?

3. "...but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness..."  What does this darkness look like? I could be silly and say, "It looks dark." Ha, ha. In order to understand darkness of this nature, let me try to paint a picture for you. During this time of year, the sun does not shine very much here in the mid west. Out of the last 40 days we have had about 3 to 5 days of sun. We all know that life could not survive without sunlight. Our world was designed by God with the intention that light was good and necessary. 

pixabay - night

My Grandson spent this past weekend with us. Quintin has lived with us in the past before my daughter moved out, so he is familiar and comfortable with our home. He usually goes to bed well, although I usually leave on a string of lights, read books and sing songs to him before he finally falls asleep. I love it! He doesn't like the dark. Even with the string of lights on in the bedroom he sleeps in, he still turns on the hall light to go to the bathroom which is right around the corner from his doorway. When morning came he bounded into our room and said, "it's morning. Look, Grandma! Look out the window." It was so cute and so telling, of how much we long to have light in our lives; how much we need to have light. 

The darkness that Paul talks about in this verse has to do with spiritual darkness. If you think it gets dark at night, try to imagine a place not pierced by the tiniest speck of light: no candles in the window, no flashlights to light your path, no streetlights to show you where that road sign is that your are searching for, no light....at all. This is the darkness that the enemy lives in and loves to drag people into. 

In this flesh and blood world we live in, that darkness is manifesting itself in the lostness of humanity. People have bought into the lies that Satan is throwing out there and those lies have brought them into a dark, dark place. 

 Pixabay

Pixabay

4. "...against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." This battle is not just happening in our struggles here, but in the heavenly places. That makes me think of the Avengers movie, and various other sci-fi shows,  where far beyond our atmosphere a war was being planned that humanity was totally unaware of. Dear ones, there is a war being waged that most are totally unaware of. A war for our lives and our souls. This phrase makes me feel convicted that there are struggles going on that I do not even see. Struggles in the heavenly realm. Shouldn't I be concerned? Shouldn't I be doing something? If so, what can I do? What can you do?

If you are a Christ follower, you know the end result of all of this struggle will be the victory of the light over the darkness, but that doesn't mean we are just supposed to sit back and let it happen. Christ is calling us to be involved, to fight, to put on His armor.

Next month, I will dive further into this passage. I hope you'll put on your scuba gear and join me.