LENT: STAND

Ephesians 6

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 

God is strong, and He wants us to be strong too. He has given us everything that we need to ward off the attack of the Enemy. If we put on the armor of God, we will be victorious on the battlefield of life. This isn’t the rec league anymore…it is a reality that we all face. The Enemy and his league of angels are out there to wear you down and render you defenseless.

However, if you put on the armor of God, Satan will be sorry that he ever messed with you! Because when the Enemy encounters a child of God that is fully suited up and ready for battle, he faces that Spirit of God in you. God will fight this battle for you!

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 

Satan is the master of disguise. He has a way of deceiving and manipulating our perspective so that we think we are fighting the things of this world–our spouse, our boss, our kids, our wounds, our finances, and present-day circumstances. He does whatever he can to re-orient our focus on people and circumstances, and in doing so, causes us to take our eyes off of the spiritual battle and to lose sight of our heavenly goal.

Instead, God wants us to keep our eyes on Him and stand firm. We can radiate love, joy, peace, patience and all the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) when we allow the Holy Spirit full access to our body, soul, and mind. That way, regardless of the events that we encounter, we can stand assured that is is just another opportunity to grow in relationships with God and display His glory.

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

Be prepared. This is not a physical war, but rather a spiritual one. For this reason, we need spiritual weapons to stand. Be ready. Hold your plans loosely to go where the Spirit leads. And firmly stand.

We tend to either underestimate the power of Satan, thinking that he is an exaggerated cartoonish character dressed in red with horns and holding a pitchfork. Or, we overestimate his power and abilities, leading to living a life in constant defeat. We give him too much credit.

Remember, Satan is not God. He is not omnipotent. He has limits on what he can and cannot do. At best, he is a copycat trying to convince you that he is more powerful than he is. There is a time-clock running on his temporary rule, but we know who has the final victory. God does! So stand firm in the hope that you have!

Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness.

Tighten the belt of truth, which is God’s Word, firmly around you. In His Word, you will find more freedom. You will be more prepared to embrace every moment, discerning what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Rom. 12:2). In doing so, you can readily let go of the things that are not of God and pursue the things that are.

Pursue righteousness in all that you do. In other words, live a life of holy obedience to God. Choose to do the right thing. Guard your heart, because everything else flows from it (Prov. 4:23).

and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.

We are on a journey. Be ready to look at every circumstance, not as happenstance, but rather as part of God’s plan. In every situation, God is involved. Be an agent of peace that speaks life in dark places, brings glory from the gloom, allows growth in loss, and testifies amid tragedy.

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;

Regardless of your current perspective–whether it be gorgeous and plentiful, or dismal and weak–you are not seeing the full picture. We cannot see or behold all that God is doing behind the scenes. Our view is strapped to the physical which interprets with our five senses and current emotional state. And oh boy, our emotions can have a heyday.

If we look only to the physical, we put God in a box and fail to see all that He has to offer us in the now. For this reason, we are instructed to walk by faith, not by sight.

and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,

God’s Word is not a nagging “to do” list. Nor is it a mundane chore. The Word of God is alive and active, sharper than any two-edged sword (Heb. 4:12). It is meant to be taken with you wherever you go. Chew on His Word. Meditate. Absorb. Apply. Then you will be ready to stand firm and fight.

praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.

The work of God is often happening behind the scenes. Pray for spiritual eyes. Only through prayer does our dependence grow to fully trust God’s provision for today.

I️ want to encourage you to keep on keeping on! Pray for each other so that no one is left behind. Fix your heart on what is above. Look for God’s fingerprints working around you. Be expectant go see God at work.

Prayer: Dear Father, sharpen our spiritual weapons so that we catch a glimpse of your glory. Help us resist the temptation to focus on the temporal, and in doing so, miss out on what you are doing in the eternal. In Jesus’ name, Amen.