Scripture: Ephesians 6: 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 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. 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.
Observation: The apostle Paul concludes his letter to the Ephesians with what may be its most important instructions. Paul reminds us where our strength comes from. It comes from the Lord.
Application: This morning I’m keely aware that I live in a culture which teaches me the opposite of what the apostle Paul teaches us in this passage. Having been born and raised in the U.S., I was brought up to be one who can “stand on my own two feet”. Self-reliance is a strong value in my home country. Paul challanges this idea. He describes all believers as being clothed in the armor of a Roman soldier. The implication is that we are one member of a large army of persons called to stand against evil. We are not gladiators, standing alone in the arena against our opponent. A lone soldier is vulnerable. An army of soldiers is formidable.
The older I get the more I realize just how much I need other people – in every area of life. As I write this blog post I’m on my way to a national youth gathering in Detroit. No, I’m not a youth myself, but am accompanying a group of youth and adults from our church in Dallas. This evening we will gather with some 30,000 other people to worship the Lord. It will be awesome! We will then spend the week learning, growing, and serving in the communities around Detroit. Individually we are vulnerable. But together, we are a formidable force for good, collectively functioning as the hands and feet of Christ in the world.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, you called your people the church to be a force for good in the world, standing against the forces of evil in the heavenly places. Give us grace to lock shields with one another as we advance your Kingdom. Individually we are vulnerable. But together, we are formidable! We ask this in your holy name. Amen.