Monday, June 10, 2013
True Strength Comes from the Lord
Eph. 6:10 ¶ Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power.
Eph. 6:11 Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Eph. 6:12 For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Eph. 6:13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
Yesterday the wisdom of Solomon reminded us that simple human strength, the use of brute force is often foolish. Wisdom comes in knowing where and how to sharpen the tools to be used effectively. At the same time it is important to note the true source of strength. It is not human strength or power which will help us to succeed in this world, but instead it is the power which we find in the Lord. This section on the armor of God begins by telling us to "be strong in the Lord." This is THE source of our strength and our right relationship with the Lord is crucial to being strong and tapping into the strength of his power.
There is nothing half-way about this kind of Christian life. This is an understanding of the need to be filled entirely by the Holy Spirit -- about the need to be filled through and through because anything less will not be able to withstand all that the enemy will be throwing our direction. The "whole armor" is to be worn! This is important because later on there is a description about different parts of the armor, but you cannot simply wear one or two parts -- you must wear the whole thing. We must be sold out, completely and totally to God, not just picking and choosing certain areas in which we want his coverage. If this is the case we will leave ourselves exposed in the spiritual battle. John Wesley says, “Perhaps the principalities and powers remain mostly in the citadel of their kingdom of darkness; but there are other spirits which range abroad, to whom the provinces of the world are committed; the darkness is chiefly spiritual darkness which prevails during the present state of things, and the wicked spirits are those which continually oppose faith, love, and holiness, either by force or fraud; and labour to infuse unbelief, pride, idolatry, malice, envy, anger, and hatred.” Here we see the comparison which can be made regarding those who do wear the WHOLE armor -- those who are filled with faith, love, and holiness and those who leave themselves vulnerable resulting in "unbelief, pride, idolatry, malice, envy, anger, and hatred." We must take up the whole armor so that we can experience the true strength of God and stand firm.
This is one of those Scriptures I have read or heard for most of my life. It's one of those that is acted out during VBS as different children wear different pieces of the armor and we have those great object lessons of faith. However, today, for the first time I was struck by the importance of the "whole armor" and a life of holiness. To be entirely holy one must be willing to put on the full set of armor. This means that I must be willing to cover every part of my life with God. If I simply pick and choose certain items then I leave other items exposed and I am in trouble! What if I choose to cover my children, but I don't choose to cover my home life? Where will the enemy attack me? Right in the area that I have left exposed.
We must realize that there is a very real enemy who does not want us to succeed in being faithful followers of Jesus Christ. He will try to attack us at our very weakest points. He will go after our fears and throw everything at us that he can. There is no way that I can personally take that kind of attack. When I come out from under the protection of God I can make it for a short period of time but all of a sudden I discover that I am frightened and exposed. I want to stand firm and the only way I can do that is by putting myself under the complete and total protection of the armor of God. When I do that, he takes the enemy blows for me -- both physically and emotionally. And this protects me so that I can life the life of holiness, reflecting Jesus to the world around me. He wants to protect us so that we can fulfill the purpose for which we were created, which is to be a reflection of him in the world. He protects us so that we can live the life of holiness, free from "unbelief, pride, idolatry" etc. I don't have to fight this fight -- I just need to be strong in the Lord. That is where my true strength comes from.
Lord, may I don your full armor today and every day. Amen.