Fit for Battle
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Ephesians 6:10
Paul began Ephesians with a hymn about the spiritual blessings of the heavenly realms; he ended it with a battle cry about spiritual warfare in heaven and on earth.
Like any good preacher, Paul used the word finally to signal the culmination of his thoughts. In essence, he said, “In light of everything I’ve said about God’s eternal plan and your part in it, here’s the most important thing to remember: God alone can provide the power you need to live as He wants you to live.”
In a world dominated by the Romans, Paul’s first-century readers understood war imagery, so the apostle used the familiar sight of a Roman soldier to illustrate what Christians need to fight a powerful foe: “the full armor of God” (v. 11)
Our enemies are stronger and more skilled than we are. Don’t think for a minute that we wrestle only against “flesh and blood” (v. 12). Remember that the devil attacked Job and David (Job 1 and 1 Chronicles 21:1). Consider the spiritual forces that the angels Gabriel and Michael battled (Daniel 10:12-13). Also note that Michael fought with the devil over the body of Moses (Jude 9).
Should we be afraid? No. Jesus has absolute power over “the spiritual forces of evil,” including the devil (Romans 8:37-39). Be encouraged by the inspiring truths of the Protestant Reformation’s battle cry, Martin Luther’s “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”:
Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing
Were not the right man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.
Yes, victory will come. Jesus will win the battle. But you and I must be vigilant—ready warriors, fit for service. We must be alert and armed, wearing the impenetrable armor of God and wielding the unbreakable sword of God, His Word.
God has assigned each of us a position on the front lines, but Satan wants to thin the ranks. He and his soldiers will use every imaginable, devious tactic to render us unfit for battle.
How prepared are you, soldier of God?
Read Mark 3:7-12 and Luke 8:26-36. What do these gospel accounts teach us about demons? What do these accounts teach us about the power of God?
Read Job 1. How does this story illustrate God’s control over the devil? Note what God may allow the devil to do and what God will not allow him to do.
Martin Luther based the lyrics of “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” on the truths found in Psalm 46. Read the psalm and list the truths about God it celebrates. In what ways does the psalm encourage you?
For more on Luther’s hymn and Ephesians 6:10-13, read A Mighty Fortress Is Our God under Dig into Songs.
Denise K. Loock