Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is a fascinating and important letter for the Christian life. It contains within it one of the most well-known passages in all of Scripture. That passage is Ephesians 6:10-20, an exhortation to put on the armor of God. How thankful we should be that God has indeed provided such armor for the Christian.
Before engaging in battle the soldier rightly puts on his ‘armor’ of defense. Each piece is placed specifically for the maximum effectiveness and ease of use. Rightly fitted to the body, the armor provides aid to the soldier as he engages with the enemy. So it is also for the Christian who is being sought out by an adversary far more deceptive than any other enemy. But God has provided for our defense so that we may not go unarmed.
In the passage on Christian armor, Paul exhorts believers to put on the armor in verse 11. After expounding further on the dangers that abound, he again exhorts believers to put on the armor again in verse 13. This repetition is a noteworthy repetition. Paul not only tells his readers to do something, he goes further to clarify the need and reasons why it must be done. After our knees begin to shake, our fear grows, and defeat seems to be the greatest concern Paul reaffirms the exhortation once again. Why repeat the exhortation once again? Because we need it. We humans have a tendency to forget something almost immediately after receiving it, especially if it is instruction. So important is this point that Paul must repeat it so that we heed it with great urgency.
It is not sufficient to put on the armor only once though. As William Guranll points out, armor is designed for battle. It gets abused and worn out and thus it will need repair. How do you know when this point has been reached? When any of the following begin to surface in your life:
- A careless attitude towards temptation.
- An inattentive attitude in worship and service.
- An obsessive attitude towards work.
Each symptom demonstrates an apathy towards God, God’s people, and God’s work. There comes a need then for the soul to be refreshed and fixated on God anew.
God has provided clear instruction in His Word about some specific actions that should take place in a believer’s life. These actions constantly orient one towards God and sustain him or her for the long-term commitment to being a follower of Jesus Christ.
- Renew your repentance: Repentance causes us to be humble about who we really are and forces us to acknowledge our need for God. It is the basis of restoration of a right relationship with Him (and with others).
- Reaffirm your faith: While repentance is meant to purge something out of our lives (sin), faith is meant to add something into our lives. It restores our strength.
- Renounce your lusts: Oft times the greatest defeat in battle does not come from outside, but inside. We bring our own downfall, and thus the need to mortify the fleshly lusts in order to be encapsulated with God even more is needed.
- Read your Bible: God’s Word is all sufficient. It provides for our greatest needs at our weakest moments. It provides the clearest instruction at our most obscure uncertainties. Without a relationship with the Word of God there is no relationship with God.
- Pray: Prayer acknowledges a dependence upon the Lord and places us in a relationship with Him as we share ourselves with Him.
- Fellowship: God has provided a body of believers for the sustaining of believers in order that He may be glorified. The body of Christ is meant to direct each other to Him alone. Fellowship becomes a key aspect in our relationship with Him.
Be engaged with God so that you may properly engage the enemy. Victory is His, therefore you must be in Him.
We have been reading through William Gurnall’s “The Christian in Complete Armour.” It’s not too late to join us, next week we begin chapter 4, section 2. Learn more here.