Stand Firm in the Full Armor of God
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Ephesians 6:16
“Don’t move. Don’t panic,” I told my rising claustrophobic feelings. I lay in a coffin-like structure, an MRI medical device. Loud noises pounded my eardrums as unseen sound waves penetrated my body.
I thought of that experience as I read Ephesians 6:14—“Stand firm then.” Don’t move. Don’t panic. Paul had given us reason we might panic: the devil’s schemes (v.11), powers of darkness and spiritual forces of evil (v.12), and the day of evil (v. 13). In verse 16, he added another reason—the flaming arrows of the evil one.
The word then in Ephesians 6:14 (therefore in KJV) refers back to verses 10-11. First, we must be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might and put on the whole armor of God. We then can stand alert, ready for action, not in our own strength and power, but with God’s protective clothing and weapons.
The armor may seem strange: truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, and the Bible. But our enemies are spiritual, so our weapons must be spiritual as well.
We fight with truth against the deceit of crafty people as well as the scheming devil (Ephesians 4:14-15). We are righteous because Christ’s righteousness was imputed—given—to us when we believed. Done. Nothing more for us to do. Our peace doesn’t depend on circumstances; it is sustained by The Prince of Peace (John 14:27). Our faith has substance because it’s based on God’s promises (Hebrews 11:1). We have the blessed assurance of salvation by God’s appointment (1 Thessalonians 5:8-9).
The only offensive weapon we’re given is the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God (v. 17). When we hide the Word in our hearts (Psalm 119:11), the Spirit reminds us of it and empowers us to act as necessary.
When the flaming arrows come, are you tempted to panic or will you be alert, standing firm in the full armor of God?
Compare Matthew 4:1-11 with Deuteronomy 8:3, 6:16, and 6:13. How did Jesus use these verses? How did the devil use Psalm 91:11-12?
The NIV uses the words “Do not be afraid” 77 times. Other forms of this idea appear many other times. Who is addressed in Genesis 15:1, Exodus 20:20, 1 Chronicles 28:20, and Matthew 1:20?
What message is given to us in Matthew 10:28, John 14:27 and Revelation 2:10?
In 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 what are the circumstances for putting on the breastplate of faith and love and the helmet of the hope of salvation? To which group of people do you belong?
Nancy J. Baker