After spending 22 years in Wisconsin, you finally discover what to do in February. Each morning, you meticulously layer your clothing, donning coats, scarves, and gloves before bracing yourself as you step outside into the bone-chilling “real feel” of -35 degrees. No matter how many layers you wear, it’s impossible to shield yourself from the cold without preparing yourself mentally.
Likewise, Paul reminds the Ephesians that as soldiers and servants of Christ, we must equip ourselves with spiritual armor and prepare for the battle ahead. We clothe ourselves in salvation, faith, righteousness, truth, and peace. Even after assembling all these layers of protection and wielding the sword of the Spirit, Paul instructs us to brace ourselves and stand firm!
I have witnessed this pattern in my own life and in the lives of those close to me. We start off prepared for the enemy, but over time we become somewhat complacent and careless. Pride in our righteousness sneaks in and our focus shifts from our identity in Christ to our personal accomplishments.
Then, out of nowhere, we are blindsided by the enemy, who patiently waits for the perfect moment when we are distracted and strategically delivers a devastating blow. Because we were caught off guard, we crumble like a flimsy cardboard box. Filled with anger, defeat, embarrassment, we are rendered ineffective. We stumble away, behaving more like a captive than a warrior.
The incredible news is that although the enemy revels in accusing us, the Lord has already forgiven us when we stumble. He simply urges us to rise up, rearm ourselves, and prepare for the next attack. We persistently pray and press on, leaving the past behind, but always remembering who we are and to whom we belong. We become vigilant and focused on pushing back the enemy and rescuing the lost and wounded. We must never forget that this journey spans eternity and while we may falter, true failure only occurs if we refuse to rise and continue moving forward.
God Bless You
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against [a]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. 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. 14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 [b]in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 [c]With all prayer and petition [d]pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, [e]be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,